When talking with consumers and neighbors about your dairy business, don’t hesitate to gently ask them where they get their information or why they ask the questions they do, says Shelly Mayer, executive director of the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin.

This careful probing can help you respond to their questions or concerns. And it can help you get a handle on the many mixed messages that consumers receive.

Don’t get defensive or dismiss their answers. Instead, work to fill gaps in their knowledge of the dairy industry — and your role in it.