With animals rights and animal welfare at the forefront of many conversations these days, Sampson County’s Friends of Agriculture will focus its annual Rally for Agriculture this year on the subject, with guest speaker Dr. Wes Jamison leading the discussion.
The annual rally will be held Thursday, Feb. 21 at 6:30 p.m. at the Sampson County Agri-Exposition Center.
Tickets are free and can be picked up at the Sampson County Cooperative Extension Service, 55 Agriculture Place, Clinton, or by calling 592-7161. Tickets can also be picked up at Clinton Truck & Tractor Co.
“We are excited about this year’s rally,” said Friends of Agriculture’s Ronnie Jackson. “We think what Dr. Jamison will be touching on is a very important issue and one that has great impact on those of us who live in rural areas where agriculture is so very vital.”
Jamison, Jackson said, brings a unique understanding of food and agricultural conflict, having studied animal welfare and animal rights for over 20 years from political, social, and communication perspectives.
“While we want our farmers to come out and join us, we are also hoping others from the community will come as well. There are many people who don’t think this is for them because they aren’t a farmer, but agriculture has an impact on everyone here in Sampson. Really, anyone who eats is impacted by agriculture. And we think the rally will provide some much needed information that everyone needs to hear and understand.”
Jamison is a professor of public relations at Palm Beach Atlantic University, where he studies persuasive messages and teaches public relations and political communication classes. Prior to moving to Florida, Wes served for over a decade as professor of political and social science at universities in the U.S. and Europe, where he taught agriculture politics, agricultural history, and American national government. With a Ph.D. from Oregon State University studying interest group activism, and post-doctoral research at the University of Florida researching theories of public relations as they relate to activist communications and urban-rural conflict, Dr. Jamison’s expertise combines public relations, political science, and political communication.
He graduated from Auburn University with an agricultural science degree and worked for several years for Gold Kist in all facets of agriculture, including production, processing, and retail with Publix Supermarkets.
Jamison is president of Cornerstone Public Relations L.L.C., and as part of his consulting business he currently conducts research in the U.S. and Europe on public relations, political communication (especially related to agricultural politics), as well as urban-rural issues. He also consults with companies in Europe, India and the U.S. on communications issues, and has also published extensively on agricultural politics. He is a native Floridian, has 4 children, and enjoys sailing and all outdoor activities.
His qualifications make him ideal, Jackson said, to speak on issues that are relevant to those in Sampson County.
“The topics he’ll touch on don’t directly impact us here yet because of where we live, in such a rural area, but you only have to go as far as Raleigh to see the impact. When you talk about rural versus suburban and the impact it has on everything, particularly political power, you understand why this is so important for us to have knowledge of now,” Jackson said.
In a letter mailed to Friends of Ag supporters, it reads, “The general public, including many members of the Legislature, are very uninformed as well as misinformed about these issues and the proposals relevant to them. It goes without saying that animal agriculture is of great importance and plays a major role in our local economy. Some of the proposals and policies being considered would have a very negative impact on this important industry. That’s why we urge attendance at the rally on Feb. 21.”
“We hope people will take time out of their busy schedules to join us. We think it’s important to them and important to this county.”