Stuart Smyth advocates for ag and corrects misinformation on social media
By Diego Flammini
A University of Saskatchewan professor recently won an award which recognizes members of the ag community who engage with consumers and help build public trust in agriculture.
Stuart Smyth, an assistant professor in the university’s department of ag and resource economics, won Farm & Food Care Saskatchewan’s Champion Award on Nov. 23.
“It came as a complete surprise, I had no idea I was even nominated,” Smyth told Farms.com.
Smyth’s research focuses on sustainability, agriculture, innovation and food.
He engages with the public on these issues through different channels.
He writes a weekly blog at SAIFood.ca and uses Twitter (@stuartsmyth66) to connect with his 7,441 followers and others.
Some of that social media engagement includes correcting misinformation about the ag sector.
The dialogue can turn hostile, as Smyth has been sworn at and received death threats while sticking up for the ag sector.
He continues to advocate for the industry because it’s important the public receives the proper, science-based information about where their food comes from.
“People are interested in knowing how food and crops are produced and there’s lots of misinformation out there,” he said. “I think it’s important that people who identify as having high levels of public trust try provide factual information that accurately informs consumers of what’s going on.”
And Smyth isn’t deterred by negative comments he receives.
Instead, he views them as a sign he’s doing the right thing.
“When I push back on the misinformation with facts and truth and the comments turn negative, that lets me know I’ve exposed what they’re trying to do,” he said.
Smyth shared the spotlight on Nov. 23 with a young member of Saskatchewan’s ag sector.
Mady Adamson, a grade four student from Kindersley, Sask. received an honourable mention for her work to teach people about farming.
She has made more than 50 “Learning About Ag With Mady” videos to help show what happens on a family farm.