Jan. 10 2019 09:20 AM

First impressions mean a lot to consumers — represent yourself and your farm in a positive light.

I know in many of my blogs I have talked about getting more and more information out to the public. This is key. It is what we lack in the dairy industry. The anti-agriculture groups that do not help us have more sources and more funds to get their thoughts into consumers’ heads.

It’s not just what we put out there, though. We have to create a positive image in other ways.

Dairying can get pretty dirty. I am sure most of you have seen the show "Dirty Jobs." Not everyone is cut out for the type of work we do. But what we don’t want to do is let this be the image of our livelihoods. Even though we barely have time to get the normal jobs done around the farm, we cannot neglect the public appeal of our farms. This is where consumers’ food comes from. We must produce a CLEAN and sustainable image.

You would not realize what a good grass-cutting job up the driveway and a decoration or two do to the appeal of your land. It just sets off good vibes for people driving by and looking out the window. Walk up the road every once in a while and pick up the litter, or trim the shrubs around your farm's sign. These are just a few tasks that would help improve the public’s opinion of us farmers.

And no, I’m not through yet . . . don’t let the image stop with what people see on the side of the road. When farmers go out in public, we need to represent our industry well with our own appearance. You never know if you are going to meet someone on the fence about buying your products, and it could be at that moment they decide. If you meet someone and have a nice helpful attitude toward them, it goes a long way.

We hardly ever have enough time in the day as it is, with all the responsibilities that we already have, but we have to squeeze in extra time to represent our image well. It means more than what most people realize. Your image could determine someone's decision on whether or not they buy our dairy products.

Caitlin and Mark Rodgers

Mark and Caitlin Rodgers are dairy farmers in Dearing, Georgia. Their “Father and Daughter Dairy Together” column appears every other Thursday on HD Notebook. The Rodgers have a 400-cow dairy that averages 32,000 pounds of milk. Follow their family farm on Facebook at Hillcrest Farms Inc.

Join us for our next webinar:

"The dairy situation and outlook for 2019" presented by Mark Stephenson, University of Wisconsin-Madison Sponsored by Chr. Hansen

Dairy policy analyst, Mark Stephenson from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, presents “The dairy situation and outlook for 2019” on Monday, January 14, at noon (Central time).

For the past four years, dairy markets have been stuck in a relatively small range of prices that don’t cover the full costs of production for most producers. Will 2019 be the breakout year that we hope it is? We’ll examine the market fundamentals we face and see what’s in store. Register here for all webinars.