CSIF Tips of the Month – September 2014
09-02-2014 in Through The Gate
Rules and Regs Highlight
Talk to Neighbors like a Pro
In today’s lawsuit-happy world, it is more important than ever for farmers to make the time to develop positive relationships with their neighbors. Whether you are planning to grow your livestock farm or maintain the numbers you currently have, it is significantly easier and cheaper to prevent problems from escalating into conflict by communicating and building trust.
The best public relations happens one-on-one. Here are a few tips to help you have effective conversations with neighbors and community members about your farm:
1. Be personal. Include family members in the conversation about your farm. Be willing to talk about your family and what you do on your farm, in your community and why you enjoy the life you live. Establish an “open door policy” with neighbors so if problems arise they will come to you rather than using other avenues.
2. Be specific. Provide enough details to answer questions. People like information. Explain, for example, how computer-automated systems control the environment for the livestock you care for and how this system is more elaborate than the thermostat in a house.
3. Provide examples. Give people details on how manure will be applied, how the animals will be cared for or how the local economy benefits from your livestock barn.
4. Welcome questions. Listen intently to what your neighbor’s concerns are and respond with a specific answer. If you don’t know, tell them you don’t know but promise to get them an answer.
5. Follow up. Communication doesn’t stop once the first conversation has taken place.
Investing your time into developing and maintaining positive relationships with your neighbors will help ensure the continued success of your family’s farm. For assistance developing a neighbor communication plan for your farm, contact the Coalition at 800-932-2436.
A Little Known Way to Improve Neighbor Relations: Plant Trees
The old adage of “out of sight, out of mind” is still true today and applies to livestock farms. If your neighbors don’t see it, oftentimes they won’t smell it. And trees can be great for aesthetics and visual screening!
If you’re thinking about planting trees on your livestock or poultry farm, fall is a great time to do so.
Questions about air flow, ventilation, snow deposition, or what type of species to plant? The Green Farmstead Partner program is here to help. To date, over 44,000 trees have been planted on Iowa livestock farms through the program.
To learn more, visit www.supportfarmers.com/greenfarm or call 800-932-2436.
“The first thing farmers do is call CSIF because they know they have a lot of answers to questions that they will have. Whether it’s siting a hog operation, going over and knocking on a neighbors door and telling them they’re about to put up a 2,500-hog house, or whether it’s they are going to be inspected and what can they do. CSIF is great with those kinds of answers.”
– Bob Quinn, WHO Radio’s ‘The Big Show’ Broadcaster
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