This week at the 2019 MILK Business Conference two dairy producers shared about the state of the dairy industry during a live recording of AgriTalk Radio.
Dwayne Faber is a dairy farmer in Washington State. He and Ashley Edstrom,a producer from Colorado, broke down the current state of the industry for host Chip Flory.
Conversation ranged from the pending bankruptcy of Dean Foods, consumer demands for cheese, improved milk prices and even animal rights activist concerns. “We’re all just one YouTube video away from being out of business,” Faber said.
“We could have employees that film themselves or others.”
Dairy farmers who are active on social media are often a target because theirnames are so public. Faber is one of those producers.
“It is a concern that you will become a target, and, and it's unfortunate but at the same time we can be bullied around and we do have to stand up we have to go and tell our story,” he said. “Having those voices is important because when a Fair Oaks story hits, multitudes of people reach out and ask for help understanding what’s happening. And so, we need to have these voices that are out there and setting the record straight setting the story straight.
Fortunately, Dairy Management Inc. and state dairy checkoff associations have programs in place to help coach and teach farmers how to be spokespeople, according to Edstrom.
“They have trainings for us to learn how to speak on radio how to do a TV interview in case a video is somewhere, and they need a farmer to actually tell our story,” she said.
Faber said he never thought PR would be the farmer’s concern.
“Quite frankly we just tend to like to see the milk truck leave the yard and then we don't touch it again. We're not usually very involved with the end consumer,” he said. “It's a dichotomy and we have to shift how we view that.We do have to be more proactive and it doesn't come naturally for dairy farmers. Yet, it is important because younger generations particularly millennials, they want to know where their food comes.”