The PA Agricultural Ombudsman Program provides training for farmers on topics such as “good neighbor relations”. If you have a group of farmers who would appreciate learning more about good neighbor relations, contact Shelly or Beth.
It is vital that the agricultural community build bridges with neighbors. The majority of people who don’t make their living in an agriculturally-related profession are multiple generations removed from life on a farm. A limited understanding and tolerance of the occasional nuisance generated on farms may result. This may cause complaints and conflicts.
Farmers may need to recognize that being welcomed and appreciated by the community is a privilege that must be earned and maintained. Acknowledge that farming practices affect the trust your community has in food production. Farmers must operate in a manner that protects the environment and public health. Playing an active role in helping build a strong community is critical, even though your time is stretched thin. Farmers should acknowledge community concerns and address them in an honest and sincere manner.
It might be tempting for a farmer to say, “I was here first, so just deal with it”. But, that is not an attitude the Agricultural Ombudsman Program will condone. That attitude will BURG bridges, not build them. Farmers and non-farmers need to get to know each other better. There needs to be a respect for each other’s lifestyle. When people take time to get to know each other, a trust is built. Trust is built on a confidence that “your values are similar to mine”.
Global values include:
Primary American values are:
- responsibility to care for our families and ourselves
- personal liberty
- work ethic
A quote that Shelly and Beth think says it well is, “People do not care how much you know, until they know how much you CARE”.
How can you your farm show you care for your neighbors and community? A few possible ways include:
- take your neighbors some home-grown vegetables
- host school tours or neighborhood tours
- sponsor a local sports team
- plant some sweet corn or pumpkins for your neighbors to pick
- create a list of neighbors phone numbers so you can contact them easily, or vice-versa
- plow their driveways
- create a website or Facebook page so the public can connect with your farm
- do anything that allows the community to see your operation in a positive light