Feb. 17 2021 11:44 AM

American Dairy Association Provides Tips for Engaging Consumers through Farm Tours, Interviews and One-on-One Communications

The information below has been supplied by dairy marketers and other industry organizations. It has not been edited, verified or endorsed by Hoard’s Dairyman.

Farmers attending the recent 2021 virtual Pennsylvania Dairy Summit heard first-hand from dairy checkoff leaders on “What has Dairy Checkoff Done for You Lately?” National dairy checkoff, Dairy Management Inc., and local checkoff American Dairy Association North East presented four sessions highlighting the farmer-directed checkoff’s important roles in increasing sales and trust in dairy.

“Dairy farmers’ core checkoff goals are to build sales and trust in dairy, and we explained how their investment is leveraged on the local and national levels to meet those goals,” said ADA North East CEO Rick Naczi. “We also showcased the many resources we have available at ADA North East to help farmers deliver their messages.

“We’re fortunate to have a talented staff that understands and connects with dairy farmers, and who is dedicated to helping them further develop consumer confidence in their products.”

Naczi joined DMI President Barb O’Brien and other national leaders to present “What has Dairy Checkoff Done for You Lately?” The interactive session highlighted the progress of dairy checkoff since it was established by farmers in 1983. Since then, per capita dairy consumption has grown by 80 pounds per person to 683 pounds.

The session also emphasized partnerships with national foodservice companies including Domino’s, McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. National impact shows more than 9.6 billion pounds of dairy sold through these partnerships since they began more than a decade ago – a 3-percent average annual growth in sales.

“These national partnerships are clearly effective and reaching billions of consumers that we simply can’t do alone,” said Naczi. “However, our local programming and grassroots promotion and education are every bit as important to selling dairy and establishing consumer advocates.”

To help farmers better understand today’s consumers and be effective dairy advocates, ADA North East hosted three additional sessions during the summit. They included:

How to Host a Virtual Farm Tour, with detailed information on the best digital platforms and equipment to use; the most effective topics to cover; and a “live from the barn” video to demonstrate best camera angles and audio tips. For more information and tips on virtual farm tours contact Emma Andrew-Swarthout or Kelsey O’Shea.

We’re in the News: Preparing for Media Interviews, offered suggestions on how to navigate interviews – what to say, how to react to “trick” questions; understanding a reporter’s perspective and story angle; and how to form the most effective and positive messages. If given the opportunity to do an interview, contact Beth Meyer to help prepare and boost your confidence.

Talking the Talk: How to Communicate with Consumers, provided tips on how to focus and direct conversations with consumers to enhance their understanding of dairy farming and how their food is produced. Reaching the “moveable middle” of consumers – those who are not extremists but still have questions about production agriculture – is key to success for the industry. Contact Amy Leslie for helpful ways to develop your communications skills.

Keynote speaker and dairy social media influencer, Tara Vander Dussen, the “New Mexico Milkmaid,” shared complimentary messages to all three ADA North East’s presentations, acknowledging the important tools and resources available through dairy checkoff to guide farmers.

"I hope that we really do use this moment when people are trying to better understand their food,” said Vander Dussen. “As we have their attention, now is the time for us to help them be a part of the conversation – to explain why we do and don't do some things and why we're trying to make the best decisions every day for our farms."

For more information on dairy checkoff, visit AmericanDairy.com.