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How to Respond to the Media in a Crisis, Part 3

Libby Eiholzer, Bilingual Dairy
Northwest New York Dairy, Livestock & Field Crops

March 23, 2016
How to Respond to the Media in a Crisis, Part 3

If you aren't ready to respond immediately, that's OK. Tell the reporter you are busy and ask if you can call them back in fifteen minutes or set up a later time to conduct the interview. Remember that reporters work on very tight deadlines and may be unwilling to put the interview off too long, but even a few minutes to collect your thoughts can help you prepare.

If you are being interviewed by radio or television reporters, chances are that only a fraction of what you say will actually be aired. Most news stories are only about 90 seconds long! With that in mind, make sure to lead with the most important thing that you want to get across-- your key message. Try to organize your overall message into no more than three main points. Research shows that in general people can only remember three messages at a time during a crisis, so establishing this format from the beginning will increase the likelihood of getting your message across.

During the interview, your goal is to create trust with listeners. Starting the interview by showing empathy for anyone negatively affected by the crisis and expressing how much you care about your animals, employees, the environment and/or the consumers can go a long way in swaying the listener to believe your message. Your next step is to tell the listeners what your farm is going to do in response to the crisis. Action steps make people feel better and will further your intent to create trust.

A few more tips:
  • Body language is important! If you don't look like you mean what you are saying, then nobody is going to believe you. Just be genuine.
  • If the interviewer takes the conversation in a direction that you aren't comfortable with, remember to stay calm and stick with your key message. Don't be afraid to say that you don't know, and never say "no comment" -- that always make you look guilty. Instead, explain why you can't answer.
  • Repeat your key message more than once, and be ready to summarize it at the end of the interview.
While I wouldn't wish this uncomfortable situation on anyone, I hope that after reading this article you take a few moments to imagine what you would do if you were asked to give an interview in response to a crisis on your dairy. What are your core beliefs as a farm? What might be your key messages?

Sources: "Telling Your Story: Talking About Animal Care." Presentation by Beth Meyer, ADADC. January 20th, 2016. WCDI Animal Welfare Course.











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Weed Resistance Management Demonstration and Plot Tour

Event Offers DEC Credits

July 23, 2019
1:00 - 3:00 p.m.
Waterloo, NY

Come join us on July 23 in Seneca County at Quinten Good's farm for a demonstration and walking tour of 16 different pre- and post-emergence treatments in soybean and 12 different treatments and combinations in corn.
  • Tall waterhemp and marestail are two weeds that are resistant to glyphosate and ALS herbicide modes of action in the WNY and Finger Lakes regions.
  • Each year the number of acres with resistant weed populations expands.
  • For herbicides to be an effective tool in weed management, we have to know what chemistries & application timings are most effective against these resistant weeds.

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Income and Real Property Tax Primer-A Learning Circle for Women Non-Operating Land Owners of Ag Land

July 24, 2019
9:00 am - 3:00 pm
Portageville, NY

For many of us taxes can be a mystery, let's have a conversation with the experts about the tax considerations agricultural landowners need to think about. 
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Pasture Walk with the Finger Lakes Graziers-Cancelled!

July 29, 2019
12:45 - 4 pm

The Finger Lakes Graziers pasture walk has been cancelled due to some scheduling conflicts. 
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RMA Announces Additional One-time Changes to Prevented Planting Provisions

June 29, 2019

RMA Announces Additional One-time Changes to Prevented Planting Provisions
for 2019 Crop Year

In response to delayed and prevented planting resulting from above average rainfall and wetness, the USDA Risk Management Agency has made a one-time change to the 2019 crop year prevented planting rules that effectively allows silage corn, if planted as a cover crop following local agricultural expert guidelines, to be acceptable as a post-prevented planting cover crop. Under this one-time rule change, producers are allowed to produce this crop while retaining their prevented planting payment. This change couples with previously announced one-time changes to the prevented planting rules - including expanded acceptable uses for post-prevented planting cover crops and a change in the cover crop haying and grazing start date rule - serve to help those struggling to meet their forage needs due to the weather.

Read the full article from the New York Crop Insurance Education Program.

The USDA-RMA states that "For crop insurance purposes, a cover crop is a crop generally recognized by agricultural experts as agronomically sound for the area for erosion control or other purposes related to conservation or soil improvement." PRO-DAIRY specialists Joe Lawrence and Karl Czymmek and Dr. Quirine Ketterings, Professor and Director of Cornell Nutrient Management Spear Program have released a letter stating "Corn on Prevented Planting acres meets these objectives."

New Guidance for Mortality Disposal Issued

NYS Department of Ag and Markets has posted guidelines on disposal of livestock carcasses, in response to reports that some rendering companies have halted pickups from farms.|1