Communication is key to success
By GEORGIE CARTANZA
(Editor’s note: Georgie Cartanza is a polutry Extension agent for the University of Delaware.)
It is amazing that in a time where we are so “connected”, we can be disconnected.
My hope as the new poultry extension agent for the University of Delaware is to be able reach out into our industry and our community, to be able to share and to learn, so that we can strive to be our best.
I have been fortunate to have experience in working for poultry companies as well as being a grower.
Having those experiences has led me to have a chance to create a “producer relations” class.
Over the past five years, this class has been presented to management and service personnel at some of the different integrators here on Delmarva and other areas of the country.
I think of the relationship between the grower and the integrator as a “team” working together with common goals.
The purpose of the class was to raise the participants’ level of awareness and help them be more successful in communicating.
The art of communicating is not just what we say, but also how well we listen.
I think we have all heard the saying “We have two ears and one mouth, so that means we should listen twice as much as we talk.”
Much of the information that we discuss in the producer relations class is about how we communicate: our body language, our tone, our motivation.
We discuss the challenges we face as we work towards a mutually beneficial and effective relationship.
We discuss how experiences influence perceptions, thoughts and attitudes.
I ask the participants to reflect on many questions, one of those questions being “If you had a farm, would you want you to service your farm?”
We all have different personalities, talents, skills and abilities. Many things have changed over the years.
Years ago, our industry was driven primarily by production costs.
Today there are many other challenges to which we must direct our resources to resolve.
The world and the consumer has changed.
Some of those changes include the shift towards antibiotic free, animal welfare practices, nutrient management, litter quality and paws.
Many of these items require us to change from being reactive to much more proactive.
We as growers should also be willing to raise our level of awareness, to be mindful and conscientious about how our farms represent the industry and to be good stewards.
Working together with common goals to do and be our best will help us be sustainable for years to come.