2025: How Dairy Farms Will Need to Adapt to Survive, Page 2

( Portia Stewart )

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5. Show consumers you’re working with them. “Consumers aren’t looking for perfection, they’re looking for progress,” says Taylor. “It’s a little bit like Yelp for the ag ecosystem. Show actual progress.” 

For example, he says, if you look that the dairy industry, it’s got a great story. Every year, dairy productivity goes up by about 1%. And over the long-term, he says, that’s a transformative story, because it means the conditions are getting better and cows are getting treated better. 

“But we’re not telling that story downstream to consumers because we’re a little bit afraid of transparency,” he says.

6. Listen to Gen Z. “I’m far, far removed from Gen Z,” says Dresslaer. “But if you read anything about what Gen Z wants purpose. It’s about the story of where that product came from. And if there’s that value and purpose behind it, they’re much more willing to consider a product.” 

7. Recognize and eliminate the bad actors. The reality is that there have been some bad actors in the business, says Connolly, and that has led consumers to lose confidence in the food system. First, he says, we can’t turn a blind eye ever to anyone mistreating an animal in the future. 

“We’re entering a new era with a level of transparency that makes it extremely difficult to not have that person reflect the integrity of our business,” he says. “We’re going to have to find a way to get rid of them and move them on and get them to do something else with their lives.” 

8. Gamify your business. You need to show your workers the progress you’re making and make them part of that success, says Taylor.

“Make it fun,” he says. “I think that’s what technology allows us to do.” At the end of the day, many people are competitive and motivated by score cards, so think of the ways you can create meaningful goals and motivate your team towards positive changes on your dairy. 

9. Stop expecting consumers to be rational. “We’re dealing with … consumers who never cared so much or understood so little about where food comes from,” Connolly says. “So the level of ignorance is huge, and that makes it quite difficult to bring things to them. Innovation like this takes a certain level of bravery to do, to stand up there and say this is part of our future.” 

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