The New F-Word?

As I continue to pursue my agriculture communications graduate diploma, I have been reminded of how simple my non-academic life can be – and the vocabulary that goes with it. To illustrate this point, let me tell you about a very recent online classroom discussion. One of the instructors was describing a communications term, called ‘relationship marketing’. Don’t get excited – even though it sounds a little like speed dating, it’s not. This is how it works. Relationship marketing is where a constituent (or a consumer) values the relationship that they have with an organization, a company or a product. The organization or company then takes steps to strengthen and maintain that relationship. Sounds complicated and extravagant to me but when you cut through the…er…crap – a talent that agriculture nurtures – it’s really known as sucking up. After this realization, I came to appreciate a little more a comment that was made in my class as well. The comment wasn’t from an instructor this time but a reputable, common sense source nonetheless – a farmer. He commented that the word ‘farmer’ and/or ‘farm’ had truly become the ‘f-word’. Well, what do you think of that? Once again, the farmer cuts through the crap and says it like it is. Is ‘farmer’ the new f-word? I must admit that I haven’t seen it scrawled on bathroom walls throughout the area. Has it been replaced by more extravagant terms like ‘agriculture’ and ‘agri-business’? Statistics show that farmers are one of the most trusted occupations in Canada. I certainly can’t use the word ‘farmer’, the same way as the more common f-word – by adding ‘ing’ and using it to describe my bank fees or maybe used just once to describe Agricorp (those were my pre-Oprah days!). Maybe it’s time to get back to basics and that means calling a spade, a spade and a farmer, a farmer.

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