At some of the farm meetings this spring, the subject of “transparency” has come up.
It’s a reminder to farmers that they need to share with the public the things they are doing to create a safe, wholesome food supply.

Hickman’s Family Farms, a large commercial egg operation in Arizona, goes out of its way to get close to the consumer and create transparency.

Four years ago, partner Clint Hickman invited film crews from the TV series “Dirty Jobs” out to the farm. The show is known for capturing the “good, bad and the ugly.” In this case, it turned out good. “It’s been a sales tool when I go talk to customers,” Hickman told those attending the Alltech International Symposium, held recently in Lexington, Ky.

The farm makes it known on its web site that “if you’re looking for a speaker, we’ll come out and talk to you.”

Reporters know that they can call Hickman on farming issues.

Granted, Hickman’s Family Farms has some advantages that a lot of farmers don’t. Hickman’s sells all the way to the end consumer, so there is the satisfaction of showing the whole process from farm to plate.

And, Clint Hickman just seems comfortable being in front of people, including the news media.

“It takes a lot of risk to reach out to the news media… it can blow up in your face,” Hickman says. But, generally speaking, it has worked for him.