April 30 2024 10:15 AM

    There’s always news; we have to be able to discern what is worthy of our time and attention.

    Whether in the media or in the break room, there are always hot topics garnering interest. They are, many times, simple truths growing lives beyond their reality. I was recently sharing an example of this with a colleague, and I appreciated how he simplified it as ‘noise.’ Indeed, my own concern with all the noise around a project was distracting my focus and a potential pitfall only I could avoid.

    My personal solution for the noise is to acknowledge its presence and maintain awareness. Some of it may stem from truth, so it’s good to know what is out there. But much of it is simply a cry for attention and often not helpful. If we give the noise too much energy, we can end up down a rabbit hole of doubt and discouragement.

    There is a lot of noise in agriculture, with the hot topics changing frequently. When people are so far removed from their food supply, messages are often lost in translation. If you google ‘dairy’ or ‘beef’ right now, you will find headlines of doom and despair. The content, of course, is typically much less concerning than the sensational titles. But the more shocking the title claims, the more clicks. Clickbait, we know, results in advertising dollars.

    Dairies are currently facing a lot of noise with highly pathogenic avian influenza (HPAI). We know pasteurization kills the virus. There are, of course, misleading articles out there confusing consumers. As a dairy farmer, it is hard to have others tell your story — especially when it isn’t the truth. What can be controlled? Maintaining herd health and biosecurity measures as a dairy farmer is always a nonnegotiable, and we know now is no different. It is okay to keep tabs on the news, but just remember: control what you can, and the rest is just noise.

    Erin Massey

    The author grew up on a Florida dairy farm, obtained a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of South Florida and has spent her career in dairy processing. She now serves as business development manager for North America with Bunge. Erin and her husband live in St. Louis, Mo., with their three children. Her personal mantra is “Be Bold.”