Dennis Sun: Understanding Agriculture

Ag columnist Dennis Sun writes, "For most consumers, finding food to feed their families is easy – just head to the grocery store. Most consumers don’t realize all of the work and money it takes to get America’s food onto shelves for people to select what they need."

Dennis Sun

January 12, 20243 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

For most consumers, finding food to feed themselves and their families is easy – just head to the grocery store or find other outlets to buy food from. Most consumers don’t realize all of the work and money it takes to get America’s food onto shelves for people to select what they need.

The same could be said about eating at restaurants. It is a long process to get food to a table in a restaurant. Both processes are similar, they just have different routes.

The one commonality is, it all starts with agriculture, and few consumers understand it. When one doesn’t understand something, biases are formed, and agriculture takes its share with someone always pointing a finger and saying we are wrong.

A while back, I read an op-ed by Michelle Miller, an internationally recognized keynote speaker, writer and social media influencer who travels full time to advocate for agriculture. She had some good points.

Michelle said, “If you are a part of agriculture, chances are you’re no stranger to people saying this industry, or at least part of it, is bad. Some people think the food system is broken and agriculture has a disproportionately negative impact on the environment.”

“There are so many misconceptions about ag,” she continued. “Some of this is due to a lack of knowledge about agriculture, while some of this is due to bias against agriculture.”

I have to say agriculture is at fault for some lack of knowledge – we haven't always told our story very well. Ag organizations are starting to realize this today, and they are doing a better job educating the public.

Our checkoffs are funding numerous programs to educate consumers and very successful Agriculture in the Classroom programs tell the story of ag to students.

Those in ag realize there is an uphill battle to inform the public about our industry, as there are numerous organizations and nonprofits speaking out against agriculture. We see it from the United Nations to local animal rights groups.

Agriculture is an easy target. Everyone is a customer with an opinion

The American people are more removed from agriculture than ever before. They don’t know anyone involved in agriculture, even in rural areas where exposure to ag is just down the road.

There are those who always want something from ag for nothing in return – to use its private lands to recreate without accountability and responsibility, for example. But, we always see people who reach success in life, and the first thing they do is buy a farm or ranch.

We welcome them to help us spread the positive news of agriculture.

The best thing about the agriculture industry is it is always improving the food and fiber it produces to guarantee Americans a safe, nutritious food product. This story needs to be told and heard. It is the heart of ag.

Try not to be angry with someone who feeds you something delicious.

Dennis Sun is the publisher of the Wyoming Livestock Roundup, a weekly agriculture newspaper available online and in print. To subscribe, visit

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Dennis Sun

Agriculture Columnist