Like many people I use various types of social media including Facebook and Instagram. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Instagram, it is a way to connect with people all around the world who also have Instagram accounts by the use of posting pictures and art that people can comment on. Yesterday, I had an interesting conversation with a girl from back home in Virginia who is a member of my 4-H club. She too has an Instagram account with over 1600 followers and she posts multiple pictures a day. She shows her own sheep and dairy goats and owns a variety of other animals. She uses her Instagram account to be an advocate for agriculture and I think that it is great; however we have different views on many hot topics in agriculture such as GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and the use of implants in beef.
Yesterday, I decided that after days of seeing pictures about her personal opinions and what I saw to be misconceptions about agriculture, I would stand up for what I believe in and try to be an AGvocate. She posted a picture of a steer that was standing between two trees and left a comment with the picture talking about how her family had gotten a few steers and said “Apparently they are of show quality. Oh if only my county 4-H didn’t allow steroids & hormones in the cattle, I would show them.” One of her followers commented afterwards, asking why farmers use steroids and hormones in cattle so she replied by saying “It’s to make them grow larger, faster and at times have more marbling (the white bits in a steak) it’s really not good and I think that if people get disqualified in the Olympics for them then people at 4-H shows should as well. We don’t use any hormones or steroids on our animals and that’s why I won’t show them.”
Here is the picture:
After her comment I decided I needed to try to set the situation straight so I left a comment stating “Cattle that have been implanted that are used for meat consumption offer far less hormones when compared to many other types of food such as cabbage where estrogen is thousands of times more ppm than a regular serving of beef. I challenge you to do more research about this subject. Eating beef that hasn’t been implanted is a choice and I respect that but in order to meet the growing needs of the world’s population while doing it in the most efficient way, we will have to involve the use of implants, as well as many other technologies.”
There were over 25 comments to follow my comment all continuing to get deeper into the subject and by the end of the day, while I knew I had probably not changed the mind of the girl from back home, I was proud of myself. Not only did I, by the end of the conversation, have three other people from accross the country who agreed with my comments, back up my argument; but I had been able to exchange information in a polite manner and felt I was able to get my point across. This was an advocating experience like no other for me as it was with someone on a one on one basis. It was not in a classroom, it was not on an airplane, but it was on Instagram: a social networking site for mobile phone users that over 1600 of her followers could read. I was glad that I finally stepped up to the plate and gave the true facts about the situation and I deeply encourage everyone else out there who might be self-conscious or nervous to do the same thing because at the end of the day it is an extremely rewarding feeling!