Four unique ideas for agvocating during June Dairy Month

Janet Bremer for Progressive Dairyman Published on 17 May 2017
Janet Bremer volunteering

I’m just leaving the YMCA. That’s where I go for physical therapy to recover from my darn knee surgery. The therapist calls it PT: I call it torture. I leave with tired eyes, messy hair and an exhausted look on my face, but that’s not what the woman in the waiting area sees. She notices the cow and “Bremer Farms” printed on my jacket.

“Are your cows nice? Can you pet them? How do they stay warm in winter and cool in summer? Isn’t it a big job being a dairy farmer?” And that’s how our lengthy conversation began.

Who knew I would agvocate today? I did! Just like most every day. I just never know where and how the opportunity will arise.

It’s warmer today, so no Bremer Farms jacket, but I am proudly sporting my “I (heart) milk” T-shirt. I’m heading to my local grocery store, minding my own business, heading to the dairy case, when I hear, “Aren’t you a farmer? Why are you buying milk?” That’s all the invitation I need to tell my story of the safety and freshness of milk.

I’ve shared my “chance agvocacy meetings” with other dairy moms, and they have similar stories to share. Many have gotten into discussions about nutrition and refueling with chocolate milk while working out at the gym. Others have been the dairy experts at their kids’ schools when volunteering. You just never know where and how the opportunity will arise.

But not all of my advocating for agriculture happens by chance.

My family and I are in the process of arranging a farm tour for nearly 100 orchestra members from Germany. Why would they be interested in farming? Many of these band members come from an agricultural background, but not dairy. Like most people from our country, many had grandparents who were farmers, but they themselves have never been on a farm.

Janet Bremer selfie

I love volunteering as a guest reader at my local public library. It’s amazing how many great books have a dairy farm as the setting or a cow as the main character. I enjoy encouraging children to get their three servings of dairy each day, and guess who is also listening – their moms, of course.

Bremer Farms celebrates June Dairy Month by providing milk and cookies after our church services. It’s exciting to see the conversations and questions that start with that glass of milk. As dairy farmers, it’s easy to forget that those we see almost daily are also interested in what we do and why we do it.

Our farm also hands out cheese sticks and yogurt at our local soccer camp. Just say “free food,” and you have an audience. We often throw in dairy trivia so the kids earn their dairy treat and learn something along the way!

Some days it’s planned agvocacy, and other days it just happens, but either way it’s a valuable encounter – not only for those asking the questions, but for me as well. On days when the milk price is down, or our vet just left after we couldn’t save a newborn calf, it’s nice to know dairy farmers are still appreciated. I get a lot of pride from sharing our story of what we do on our farm. I feel satisfaction knowing that these folks are coming to a farmer to get the information they are looking for, rather than a slanted or misinformed source.

Big or small encounter, planned event or chance meeting, they all have value. They all share our purpose and passion as dairy farmers. So dig out that cow T-shirt, volunteer or just start talking. Won’t you join me?  end mark

Janet Bremer has a blog and is also on Facebook and Twitter.

Janet Bremer
  • Janet Bremer

  • Dairy Producer
  • Hastings, Minnesota
  • Email Janet Bremer

PHOTO 1: Janet Bremer enjoys volunteering as a guest reader at her local public library and reading books with a farm setting or where the main character is a cow.

PHOTO 2: Janet Bremer loves encouraging children and their moms to get their three servings of dairy each day. Photos provided by Janet Bremer.

Before commenting on our articles, please note our Terms for Commenting.