Feb. 20 2013 07:40 AM

Lots of small contributions will grow dairy's positive image.

Dairy Management Inc's milk bottle pledge with milk drops At World Ag Expo last week, a giant milk bottle caught my attention. It was filled with hundreds of white ping pong balls with names on them. Each ball, known as a milk drop, represents each dairy producer who has pledged to promote our industry.

To add a "milk drop" to the bottle, producers sign a pledge, well, a virtual pledge, on an ipad tablet, at the Dairy Management Inc. booth. The pledge includes 14 different ways to share dairy's story with consumers. Producers do not need to do all the items, but it shows the diverse opportunities available to share their passion for dairy – many of which they may have already been doing.

The unified voice of dairy producers focuses on dairy's commitment to:
  • Healthy People - Dairy products play a healthy, nutritious and great-tasting role in people's diets throughout their lifetime.

  • Healthy Communities – Dairy farmers and the industry help communities lead healthier lives by producing dairy products and providing economic value.

  • Healthy Planet – Dairy farm families, along with others in the industry, are committed to environmental stewardship and reducing our environmental impact.
Here are some ideas to help producers tell dairy's story. This is just a few of the many ways to promote dairy and educate others through their pledge.

To help grow dairy's image, dairy producers pledge to:
  • Continue to build positive relationships with neighbors and the community
  • Correct misinformation about dairy farming or dairy products
  • Create a display that engages consumers at my county or state fair
  • Donate products for a community event
  • Encourage my kids and grandkids to talk about our farm with their friends
  • Host a tour on my family's farm
  • Participate in events at my local school
  • Provide information to ag education programs
  • Represent the industry on a civic group board or committee
  • Share farm videos and photos online (via YouTube, Pintrest, Facebook or Twitter)
  • Speak to a civic, community or youth group
  • Submit dairy recipes to your local paper
  • Talk about the daily activities on our dairy through Facebook or Twitter
  • Write letter(s) to the editor of the local newspaper or local radio station host to introduce my family and our farm.
Every contribution is an investment in dairy's image, so make every drop count. Can you squeeze some dairy education into your schedule? It will take all of us pulling our resources to feed not only the bodies, but the minds of our consumers.

To learn more about key messages to share and social media tips, visit www.mydairytoolkit.com. You will need to register, but it will provide helpful material to share with consumers.