If there was an overarching theme at the Farming for the Future conference last week in Ames, sponsored by the Coalition to Support Iowa’s Farmers (CSIF), it was that livestock producers must be their own advocates and tell their own story, or else someone else will tell it for them.

This was certainly the central focus of a panel discussion on actions farmers can take to protect their livelihood. 

“Managing reputation can help the balance sheet,” said panelist Jenn Crall, director of public affairs for Iowa Select Farms. “Helping the public understand who raises the hogs, how they’re raised, this matters. When we can tell our story, it helps maintain the freedom to operate.”

Two challenging areas identified by...