A South Dakota farmer and former USDA undersecretary says producer success today comes from good management, understanding how to use data and managing society's expectations.

Bruce Knight, now CEO of Strategic Conservation Solutions, tells AEM that information exchange is key to improving public perception and public policy decisions related to agriculture.

“Trust us. Have an understanding of the stewardship ethic that is alive and well in American agriculture. Recognize that regulations cost money, and give us an idea of expectations and needs that are coming from society and from the consumers. We’ll step up to the plate. We don’t need additional regulation,” he said.

Knight says winning the 'war on ag' means understanding trends and interpreting what those trends mean for sustainability, diets and consumers.

With only a few degrees of separation from farmers to consumers and retailers, he tells AEM it’s more important than ever for the ag industry to remain transparent throughout the entire food value chain.

AEM spoke to Knight at Commodity Classic in New Orleans.