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Defined by critics, big ag restarts conversation

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By AP

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Updated: Sat, 28 Dec 2013 11:15:39 EST

OKAWVILLE, Ill. (AP) — Add one more thing to the list of chores that farmers need to do: defend their business to the American people.

There's a lot of conversation about traditional agriculture recently, and much of it is critical. Think genetically modified crops, hormones and antibiotics, inhumane treatment of animals and processed food.

The explosion of talk has transformed the marketplace, and big agriculture has let critics define the debate for consumers.

But now, farmers are fighting back. They're connecting with consumers through social media and outreach that many have traditionally shunned.

Larry Hasheider has a 1,700-acre farm in Illinois. He's been giving tours of his farm and says farmers now have a new role.

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