Dairy Farmers' Pride Renewed as Annual Meeting on Branding Draws to a Close
Dairy Farmers of Canada's President, Wally Smith is extremely pleased with the successful Annual Meeting this week: "We made significant progress in our commitment to sustainability, had successful meetings, interesting speakers and great hospitality, along with wonderful Canadian dairy treats."
The DFC Annual Meeting in Toronto focused on branding and marketing dairy products and farmers. Keynote speaker and marketing specialist Terry O'Reilly discussed the power of branding and how it helps people differentiate a product from its competitors. "Branding is about creating a relationship. Stories can make people feel something; they increase the value your product," he said.
Tony Johnstone from the DDB advertising agency talked about the importance of proudly-Canadian' and local' as supporting drivers in the current Canadian marketing context, with examples drawn from various Canadian brands. These trends help build on existing strengths to enhance Canadian dairy products.
On the same panel, British Columbia dairy farmer Tom Hoogendoorn brought the branding concept home to the farm. "This is about leveraging the farmers' values, sharing our story with Canadians when we see them," he said. The 100% Canadian Milk brand is a strong one. He stressed that it is worth understanding its true nature and remain authentic and proud, as he shared with the audience various ways he found to brand Canadian milk and dairy on his farm, in his community, in the industry and on social media. This panel was a good continuation of the previous days' presentation on current and proposed marketing activities.
Farmers heard updates about the ongoing traceability and animal care projects. The delegates also discussed and adopted a 10-year plan to develop and implement the proAction Initiative, which brings together existing and new programs related to on-farm practices covering food safety and quality, animal care, environment, traceability and biosecurity. With this Initiative, farmers will show their commitment to society and strengthen the Canadian dairy brand.
DFC also recognized a 200-year old family farm with the Dairy Farm Sustainability Award. Sylvain Laquerre, Noëlline Dusablon and their son Benoit were present in person to accept the prize from DFC and the award sponsor DeLaval Inc. Canada.
Later in the day, delegates passed a motion to reiterate their appreciation for the Canadian government's continued defense of supply management in international trade talks, notably CETA and TPP, showing they keep monitoring these developments.
By-laws were also amended to be compliant with the new Canada Not For Profit Corporations Act. At the meeting, Wally Smith was acclaimed to a second 2-year term as President. At a board meeting following the meeting, four Vice-Presidents were elected: David Wiens (Manitoba), Ron Versteeg (Ontario), Bruno Letendre (Québec) and Reint-Jan Dykstra (New Brunswick).
The Board also appointed its Promotion Committee: Bill Emmott (Ontario), Chairman, Pierre Lampron (Québec), Ron Maynard (Prince-Edward Island) and David Wiens (Manitoba).
A research symposium follows today with well-known scientists bringing results to dairy farmers of the research and extension work, financed by farmers and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada's Growing Forward over the last four years.