Oct. 20 2022 08:00 AM

Sharing their knowledge and experience cultivates dairy advocates.

Dairy farmer Nate Chittenden of Dutch Hollow Farm in Schodack Landing, N.Y., (right) hosted celebrity chef Anthony Contrino for a “Chef Meets Farm” cooking demonstration on National Farmers Day.

What do social media influencers and dairy farmers have in common? Both have expert knowledge and social influence in their fields. Imagine what could happen if they were in a room, or on a farm, together!

American Dairy Association North East is making that happen, and our comprehensive program of partnering with popular consumer-facing influencers who have millions of followers on social and other media outlets is working to build trust, and ultimately, sales in dairy.

“Nurturing influencer relationships goes a long way in building confidence in dairy,” said American Dairy Association North East CEO John Chrisman. “And when they make connections with the dairy farmers who are committed to sustainably producing milk, they are more likely to persuade their leagues of followers to act on their recommendations to use more dairy.”

It’s part of an overall dairy checkoff effort to reach millennial parents and Gen Z audiences who have considerable buying power in the food market.

We have used different tactics to strengthen these relationships over the past few years, including in-person farm tours and farm-to-table dinners. During the pandemic, we offered a four-farm virtual tour and a virtual cooking demo by culinary experts who shared dairy-centric recipes.

This fall, we hosted two different in-person events to further develop these dairy advocates. One event was held at BLACKBARN restaurant in New York City, where dairy farmer Jeff King of King Brothers Dairy in Schuylerville, N.Y., joined 13 social media food influencers and content creators. He even provided two ice cream flavors from King Brothers Dairy for the group to taste during the dinner.

"I enjoyed meeting the influencers who are promoting and representing our high-quality products and was pleased at how engaged and interested they were to hear about our farming practices,” said King. “Having these opportunities to interact with consumer influencers is crucial to further improving sales and building consumers’ trust in dairy."

“The creator dinner was a great way to learn more about dairy farmers, the industry, and the source of the dairy I use and trust daily. I loved the vibe of the event and the curation of the dinner, especially the pumpkin spice ice cream at the end,” said influencer Natasha Greene of ASiliGlamCooks.

To celebrate National Farmers Day on October 12, Nate Chittenden from Dutch Hollow Farm in Schodack Landing, N.Y., and Emmy Award-winning culinary producer and chef Anthony Contrino joined ADA North East to create the “Chef Meets Farm” video.

The eight-minute clip features the duo making the chef’s dairy-centric butternut squash pasta bake right on the farm, with dairy messages about animal care and sustainability sprinkled into their witty banter and conversation.

Thanks to these long-term relationships, many of the influencers have developed innovative content for our consumer-facing food website, SavorRecipes.com, to inspire consumers to purchase milk and dairy foods. The website also conveniently offers the e-commerce option to purchase recipe ingredients online from your local grocery store – with no substitution for real dairy products!

Jean Kummer

Jean Kummer is the industry communications specialist for American Dairy Association North East.