Although the Government may be "factose intolerant" when it comes to farming, urban people are hungry for more information says Jane Smith.
The North Otago farmer told The Country's Jamie Mackay that she had "some really robust conversations with urbanites" in Auckland, Wellington and Queenstown recently.
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"I've in effect sort of run my own referendum of what they really think about farmers and gosh, it's been really insightful".
It was "quite naive" to think that urban people understand what farmers do "through a process of osmosis" and the rural community needed to be more proactive, said Smith.
"We can't subcontract out telling our story".
Smith found the people she spoke to had little knowledge of farming and were "hungry for facts".
One example was an Auckland businessman and his wife who told Smith that while they supported farmers and were "miffed" by the expectations on the rural communities in the Zero Carbon Bill, they had questions and worries about effluent management.
"They were concerned about effluent ... they thought it went straight into rivers. I said 'fantastic - sit down, and I'll tell you exactly what happens with that' ... they were really interested".
Another question was why do farmers pre-lamb shear their sheep in the middle of winter.
Smith said she was happy to answer as it involved explaining the animal welfare reasons behind the practice.
"That was a great conversation to have at 2am".
Smith said the couple she spoke to appreciated the time she spent with then as they were "only hearing negative things" about farming.
She also applauded the work of Jon Pemberton and the Ag Proud NZ group for getting out there, talking to urban people, and moving farmers out of "defensive mode".
"For telling our stories - the defensive mode won't work".
Smith acknowledged that talking to people at 2am in a bar may not be the most effective way of spreading the message to urban New Zealand, but there were many other options out there.
"We've got some tools that can work against us or they can work for us and one of those is social media and I think we absolutely need to be making the most of that.
"We've got some fantastic, articulate farmers out there that are getting in front of the media and have realised that actually every voice counts".
"The same message from many different messengers is really important".