If you ask a California dairy producer what it means to be one of 1,700 dairy families in the nation’s largest milk-producing state, you will hear a variety of answers, but one unifying theme: Pride. Pride in the healthy, quality products they produce; pride in the way they care for their animals; pride in the dairying lifestyle; and pride in their commitment to California. This pride is evident in a new series of dairy family documentaries created by the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB).

To give consumers a clearer understanding of where dairy products come from and showcase the people who produce them, the CMAB developed 15 “mini-documentaries” profiling dairy families throughout the state. The series also includes two companion pieces – one highlighting sustainability practices and the other on cow comfort.

From 14-year-old Tyler Regli’s goal of becoming a fifth-generation dairy producer to Johan Bartelink’s love of hosting educational school tours and Bob Giacomini’s dream of turning his milk into farmstead cheese, these documentaries demonstrate the diversity behind the state’s dairy industry – an industry responsible for producing more than 41 billion pounds of milk and creating approximately 435,000 jobs each year.

“These documentaries will help consumers connect with the California dairy families that put the food on their tables and create a better understanding of the standards and practices in place on today’s modern dairy operations,” said CMAB’s vice president of advertising, Michael Freeman. “While the Happy Cows “Auditions” ad campaign continues to be our primary tool in driving awareness and purchase intent, these documentaries allow us to tell a deeper story and engage consumers in a way no 30-second ad could.”

Each documentary features an actual dairy family telling their story, in their own words. The unscripted videos have a cinematic tone to help viewers connect on a personal level with the families profiled. “You can’t watch these short films and not feel something very special and very real,” said Freeman. “Each one is ‘a day in the life’ and some are quite touching, dispelling the myth that California farms are run by cold, uncaring ‘corporations.’”

All 15 “Real California Dairy Families” vignettes, along with the “Cow Comfort” and “Sustainability” videos can be viewed online at RealCaliforniaMilk.com.

Source: California Milk Advisory Board

These 15 mini-documentaries do a great job of highlighting the hard work, dedication and passion that dairy farmers have for their animals and industry. They also connect consumers with farm families, thus putting a set of faces behind the product. Scott Wickstrom, a fourth generation dairy farmer, talks about his family's operation, Red Top Jerseys. Family involvement on this 4,000-cow operation includes Scott's mother, father, wife, brothers and cousins. Wickstrom also reflects on how his great-grandfather started the farm right after the turn of the century. This is the type of foot the industry should be putting forward and the type of videos that we should see making headline news. – Megan Pierce, associate editor