Sure, you can get a really challenging comment anytime or anywhere but there are days where you are more or less likely to have those challenging or really uncomfortable conversations.
I want to choose how I approach the world, not let the actions of others dictate how I react. Choosing my own course of action first and foremost is my choice, I just have to remind myself I prefer to be proactive. That I want to be positive too. I want to hear various opinions as I make my choices. I want to have real discussions at times, not just brush the surface, on things that are important to me. I can be the one who chooses how to tell my story, even if the prompt for me to tell that story is a very challenging or negative prompt.
One Specific Chance to Tell My Story
To get my head in a good spot, I took a little time earlier to reread a post I wrote as I had an experience that tested really tested me. I was really tired from a trip that had taken a few turns for the worst. I thought I had turned the corner as the person sitting next to me began to chat. The specific conversation that drove me to write this blog post several years ago is something that I’ve replayed several times in the day-to-day. This is a go-to grounder for me in knowing I can do this well.
Our conversation turns to the normal chit-chat that I have to admit I usually avoid on flights. She’s from London originally, hence the accent I noticed she has but she was right it had mellowed since she’s lived in Memphis a long time. I’d been running all day and was just glad to be on the final leg of this trip. I asked what she does and she says mostly volunteer work now. She asks me and I reply that I work in the cotton business for a company that improves seeds… its Monsanto & the seeds are called Deltapine.
There was an audible gasp, and her eyes opened so much it startled me. She said “Monsanto is evil.” This is where the stress came in. I have read this before, but the fact that I was hearing it today since I’d been making a lot of effort to stay positive seemed like a test. Really. And to have the person, who I’ve pleasantly visited with for five minutes, looking right at me like I’m evil, having just said that heard I am part of Monsanto. It was certainly a test…a test of the Janice-response system.
via Speechless or Ready to Rant? I Chose The Middle Ground – a colorful adventure.
It is fine for people to have a very different opinion of my employer than I do (as the footer on every page says, this blog is my personal expression & I am solely responsible for it’s content).
What Grounds Me
I am grounded in the reality that I know how I was raised and the type of person I am. I am grounded in the reality of having met hundreds — perhaps even thousands of farmers — and having heard their first-hand stories of their farm, how they make choices for their farms and families and more. If you’d like to read a few of the things that ground me, here are some of the links that first came to mind though many many great ones are out there!
- Do Farmers Have Choices? — There seems to be a consensus going around that farmers have no choice when it comes to the seed they choose to plant. Or if they do have a choice, large corporations like Monsanto force it upon them. And if anybody tries to voice their opinion and let the farmer’s themselves speak upon their choices, the individual suddenly becomes a pawn for Monsanto. Okay so the above example may be a little extreme. Doesn’t mean I haven’t seen it happen again and again online. Why is it that because we are behind a computer it gives us the license to be disrespectful? Anyway, back to farmers. I was interested in what the farmers themselves have to say about their seed choices, how they choose the seed they do, and why do they CHOOSE to plant GMOs or maybe they don’t? So I asked several farmers some questions… And here’s what I found.
- A Food Choice Mom — Reading headlines, articles friends share, working in both the private sector of agribusiness as well as the public sector of agriculture policy while being from a 5th generation family farm I have come to claim my space as a food choice mom. A food choice mom? Does that mean I let my kids choose whatever foods they want to eat? While they might love the idea for a few days, my kids do not eat whatever they want, whenever they want. That’s not being a food choice mom.
- I Occupy Our Food Supply Everyday — Today is the day. The Occupy movement is going to occupy our food supply. According to the occupiers and Farm Aid president Willie Nelson large corporations have too much control over our food. I won’t deny that there has been a lot of consolidation in the food and seed markets over the years, but that seems pretty common and big does not equal bad as some occupiers would have you think.
- Decision 2013: Drought Resistant & GMO Cottonseed Varieties leading the polls — About this time each year, the Wilde household takes on a full blown campaign atmosphere. The Farmer I Kiss and I both have very strong opinions about which brand and variety of cottonseed to plant. Lying around the house you will find lots of magazines and brochures conspicuously left opened to a favorite brand, or maybe a new, exciting variety. Big red circles have been drawn around the front runners.
- what you need to know about monsanto and gmo food — They aren’t the enemy. For real. Monsanto is not the bad guy. They are a large agriculture biotechnology seed and chemical company. They do spend butt loads of money to create new hybrids, seeds, and pesticides. They do own patents on many different seeds and chemicals. They are also in the business of making money for all those greedy stockholders. Which might be like the business where you or someone in your family work. However, it seems the hatred, finger pointing, or plain and simple blaming for all things health or food related is at Monsanto. Yet, whenever I ask someone why the hostility towards Monsanto all they can say is they are making America fat or causing food allergies but can’t elaborate past buzz words or news headlines. And here is what is really confusing, they aren’t the only biotech company.
My thoughts on agriculture have been a long time in coming together. I’ve had decades of discussions in the cotton picker, in conference rooms, over simple meals in the homes of people who were destined to become life-long friends. My biggest concern is that people focus on a single word or phrase and don’t take time to try to understand. It is a problem I have had a time or two myself so I know it takes work.
I write mainly about things I do on my personal time like travel (the big roadtrip has been front and center recently), but occasionally I also offer glances into what happens at work or some of my personal opinions about agriculture, a field I’ve worked in my entire career but only with Monsanto the last six years. Here are a few of the posts that may interest you.
- Having the Voices of a Few Incredible Co-workers (and me) on BlogHer — I think most of my friends on Facebook and Twitter may have already seen this but I thought I should share it here too. I recently had a social media friend — Aimee Whetstine of Everyday Epistle — ask me if I was willing to do an interview with her and if I thought other
- My Biotech Weekend — I Met Julie from Sleuth 4 Health — I thought some of you would enjoy seeing this post from Julie at Sleuth for Health talking about how we met up this weekend. Her post is titled My Biotech Weekend and begins by recounting how I sent her an email some time ago.
- G is for GMOs — What are GMOs & Why Do Farmers Plant GMO Crops? — I wasn’t sure I would want to tackle GMOs with a post, but another blogger who’s doing the A to Z Challenge (Sydney Katt of authorSydneyKatt.com) said she didn’t know much about agriculture and would appreciate knowing more.
- Social Pros with Jay Baer — This podcast was a chance to talk to Jay based on work, but all social opportunities are shaped by who I am as well.
Hearing Directly from Monsanto
If you would like to hear the opinions of my employer, I invite you to check out the various places we publish information. Here’s a quick list of a few resources:
- Monsanto Company’s website
- Beyond the Rows is Monsanto’s blog (which I write for occasionally)
- Facebook page
- Twitter Account
You may want to log in to a site called GMO Answers, which is where Monsanto employees are among a group of experts answering questions as they get asked. You are welcome to ask questions there or you may find someone has already asked that question and find someone has already offered their reply!
Have a great weekend!
I sure plan to! I got to see an INCREDIBLE baseball game last night and there is another game later today. That sets this weekend in the right direction for sure!
Weekend Cowgirl (@WeekendCowgirl) says
I am amazed at how many people are on the anti Monsanto bandwagon. I even saw a negative post from a friend in Mexico. It all boils down to education and acceptance of said education. Most negative comments I see are from all our city friends who have never ever been on a farm or ranch. I had one friend gasp when I mentioned that we would have to be spraying for weeds and cactus. She went “nuts” on me. She has no clue why weeds would not be a good thing for a farmer/rancher. I can only imagine you when you tell people what you do… hang strong.
Janice Person says
Stay strong too! I think it is helpful for me to remind myself the experiences I have are unique. That means others shouldn’t automatically understand even if they think they do. I have to take the high road in having conversations.
Thank you for writing this post. I am so pleased to see more and more people opening up so we can have real faces associated with agriculture and biotechnology versus the picture that has been painted by those that are opposed. I have enjoyed following your adventures and absolutely love your positive take on the issues. This inspires me to stay positive as well as we deal with situations that threaten not only our livelihoods but our attitudes as well. Mahalo!
Janice Person says
I really appreciate your support as well! Inspiration for me comes in a lot of places and I think that we all share that mahalo sense!
That is totally awesome that you are speaking up. If it weren’t for the contributions of companies like Monsanto and their support, an entire industry would not exist today. The world may demonize the company when they have seen very little of the real work that this company has done. Not only did they help the papaya industry but they also pay leases to a Kamehameha Schools that help to provide an excellent education to the native Hawaiians. It is all about education and speaking up about the truths and not being afraid or fearful to do so.
I’ve converted quite a few people off of the Monsanto bandwagon by basically going through the issues they have. When you untangle the information that they are basing their decision on, it brings much more clarity to the whole issue to begin with.
Keep on posting! I look forward to reading more!
Janice Person says
Thanks for the kind words and for helping me to understand your experience. It is a tangled web and like you said, it takes time & effort to untangle it, but it is worth it to help people understand. Thanks for doing your part on that.
Don Schindler says
Janice, thanks for helping me understand how things are on the internet with farmers and agriculture. I’m still new to this and you are really giving me good insights on how to deal with the negativity and letting the positivity shine though. Keep it up.
Janice Person says
You are welcome and I want to thank you for the kind words!
Crystal Cattle says
I like this post a lot. I think you have a very wise outlook on life. I want to choose how i approach the world is the perfect line. Hope you had an awesome time in Des Moines.
Janice Person says
Thanks Crystal! Des Moines was great!
As a retired Monsanto scientist I enjoyed your words and will bookmark this page and send to the next person that asks, “you worked for Monsanto?” ….and proudly too.
Janice Person says
Glad to hear it Wayne!