Last November, local community leaders, foodies and farmers gathered together at Prairie Berry Winery in Hill City for a Harvest Social. The Hungry for Truth event brought South Dakotans together to share in meaningful conversations about the journey from farm to plate over delicious foods and local wine.
“It’s very rewarding to talk about food and agriculture with people,” says Colin Nachtigal, farmer from Harrold. “We chatted
about simple things like the crops people see while they’re out hunting and which of those crops I grow on my own farm. This kind of thing comes naturally to me, but I love sharing it with others. There is always more work to do on the farm, but it’s worth it for me to take the time to make connections with people about what I do.”
According to Nielsen’s 2012 Global Trust in Advertising report, 92 percent of consumers say they trust peer recommendations more than advertising. Influential community figures offer a powerful link to consumers that inspires confidence. Influencers strengthen the impact of Hungry for Truth by creating advocates who have positive conversations about food and agriculture with their audiences. Then, a ripple effect begins.
Nachtigal said he had the chance to talk with almost every person in attendance at the Harvest Social. He said many people wanted to hear more about the family aspect of farming. “The people I visited with were surprised to hear that 97 percent of farms in South Dakota are family owned and operated,” he said.
He explained to one guest that, because they are a family farm, they think about their children and grandchildren and the future generations who will take over the farm when they make management decisions. “I talked about how we use minimum or no tillage to be more sustainable and preserve the soil,” says Nachtigal. “Most people were surprised that caring for the environment is such a high priority for farmers.”
Connections like these give Hungry for Truth the chance to build trust and develop advocates for modern agriculture. Now, more than 30 influential figures in the Rapid City community can say that they personally know a farmer. They can share the latest information from Hungry for Truth with their networks online and in person. More South Dakotans will know where their food comes from and why farmers do what they do.
Hungry for Truth is an initiative from South Dakota Soybean Research & Promotion Council, the soybean checkoff organization, designed to open conversations about food between South Dakotans and the farmers who grow it. We’re putting it all on the table to have open, honest conversations about how our food is raised and its safety.