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Good Public Relations

Greetings Readers

The sight of a group of Marlborough farming families gathered round a kitchen table discussing the severity of the drought in Marlborough on national television last week shows how difficult the task is the get across good farmer PR.

Resultant criticism seems to have focused on the impression that the group was too well dressed, well fed and well housed to be considered to be suffering from the drought. These comments are made inspite of the fact that the group was not asking for help - just some understanding of the problems involved

The farmers spoke with clarity of what the drought meant to them from the point of view of presenting information to give understanding to those not directly affected. But it was misunderstood it seems by a large number of viewers

Farmers have improved the presentation of their industry to the public from the bad old days of the image of moaning farmers asking for more, but too often the public relations effort kicks in well after the crisis has materialised such as with declining image of South Island dairying

But more can be done. That further effort involves education and perhaps simple neighborliness to keep people like government and regional regulators, environmental and animal-rights activists and new neighbors from urban areas informed of what is appropriate and what can be modified to accommodate the persistent demand for the urbanization of the rural environment.

Good farming




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