Attendees of the American Seed Trade Association were privileged to hear, not just a great speaker, but someone who has a lot of experience in the agriculture industry. Krysta Harden recently made the move to chief sustainability officer at DuPont from her previous position as deputy secretary of the USDA. Her experience has taught her a thing or two about what it will take to move agriculture forward.
“Nothing matters more than your time in D.C. or with your members of Congress when they’re at home. And I tell folks all the time; it does not matter that you know who they are. Here’s the key. Do they know you?” Harden challenges her audience.
Being the person your member of Congress can reach out to when they have a question about an issue is paramount, Harden emphasizes, because the decisions they make surrounding agriculture are difficult ones. “We see [our issues] as very black and white. We’re right. But they have somebody else, or many somebody elses, in their ear saying, well, here’s my side. And I’m right. There are a lot of different voices.”
And the issues coming aren’t small ones. Intellectual property rights, germplasm, diversity of seed are some of the ideas that are misunderstood by consumers but are critical to agriculture. That disconnect results in part because we don’t brag on ourselves enough, Harden believes. The consumer is sophisticated in some ways, but they’re getting information from the wrong sources. People in agriculture have many great attributes, but unfortunately modesty is one of them.
“We need a voice,” Harden says. “We need a loud voice. We need an informed voice, based on science, based on research, based on hard work. Based on what we know for a fact.”
You can hear Harden’s full message here: [wpaudio url=”http://traffic.libsyn.com/zimmcomm/asta-16-krysta.mp3″ text=”Interview with Krysta Harden”]