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Checkoff Watch: Using social media to get dairy’s story out there

Published on 06 August 2015

Misled, uninformed and agenda-driven groups love to use social media to spread misinformation about how you farm and the milk you produce. The checkoff is doing something about that.

Consumer confidence in milk and other dairy products is important to the success of American dairy farmers. New expectations about food grow while generations drift further from the farm. They demand more but know less.

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This is why the dairy farmer leaders of the checkoff have directed staff to take control of the dialogue, tell the positive stories and get into public conversations in a credible way.

The checkoff’s industry-wide Consumer Confidence Program is built to shape and change consumer perception and behavior. To do so will require all of us working together along with friends and partners talking about topics important to consumers.

We must show them, involve them in the story, connect emotionally and reach them in the many places they live on- and off-line. It requires transparency and being open, honest, candid and sometimes edgier than our conservative industry has ever been.

The system to make the conversations ours

We’ve built a system over the last few years through which all content can be leveraged. The two biggest pieces are Dairy Good, which is where our stories live (and its social media properties), and “Where Good Comes From,” the umbrella theme for the whole industry to use. We’re asking our food service and health professional partners to adopt it as well.

As part of the industry, we ask all of you to take that personal step, transparently, to get the conversations started and enter other conversations as advocates. It won’t always be easy, and sometimes it will feel painful because it will attract the anti-animal ag activists. But we’re ready for that.

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We are generating entertaining and engaging content about dairy to share with consumers and thought leaders, in ways and in places that address how those audiences want to have dialogue. One example is “The Udder Truth,” a video series on the Dairy Good website and elsewhere, that launched in July, that uses real dairy farmers to bust common myths about dairy.

We’re using a variety of methods to bolster consumer confidence in dairy, and we’ll keep looking for new ways. How you take part not only helps your operation; it helps all farmers. PD

On the web

  • DairyGood – Click here or on its social media properties, such as Twitterto find the many ways the dairy checkoff is building and reinforcing consumer trust in you and your products.
  • Dairy.org – Visit to learn more about your checkoff and find links to all your local promotion organizations.

Your Dairy Checkoff in Action – The following update is provided by Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), which manages the national dairy checkoff program on behalf of America’s dairy producers and dairy importers. DMI is the domestic and international planning and management organization responsible for increasing sales of and demand for dairy products and ingredients.

Test your answer

Where can you go to find dairy stories to share with consumers?

ANSWER: Tell everyone you know to visit the Dairy Good website to find and share fun, compelling and shareable stories about what you do to reinforce consumer confidence in dairy.

Local spotlight

Your state and regional promotion organizations work with national and local partners to showcase dairy locally, recognizing the value of dairy farm families and moving more product. The following are some highlights of how these offices are reaching consumers through social media channels.

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United Dairymen of Idaho

United Dairymen of Idaho (UDI) started a video blog featuring a registered dietitian. Here’s an example done during National Women’s Health Week.

UDI also is encouraging its dairy farmers to use social media channels to give consumers a snapshot into their farm lives. Some examples include @jacksonfamilyfarm (Instagram) and Liberty Ranch LLC (Facebook).

person hugging a cow

Western Dairy Association

The Western Dairy Association (WDA) continues to advance consumer confidence by sharing content through its social sites. The WDA created the “Stand Up for Ag” initiative and provides training for dairy farmers and other agricultural community members on how to use social media. The WDA also shares dairy farm videos on its Facebook page (Western Dairy Association) in addition to memes that convey positive farm messages.

dairy barn water mister

Arizona Milk Producers

Arizona dairy farmers work hard to keep their cows cool in the summer by installing high-tech fans and misting systems. One dairy has a temperature gauge in the corrals that shows the outside temperature and shade temperature. Arizona Milk Producers shared an image of the cows in the corral on its social channels to prove, without a doubt, these cows are comfortable. The social posts reached almost 100,000 impressions, with many people praising farmers for their efforts.

girls holding bottles

American DairyAssociation, Indiana

A group of Indiana bloggers toured Kuehnert Dairy Farm in Fort Wayne. The bloggers got to see how technology such as robotic milking machines, cow brushes and feed pushers work on a modern family farm. The group also toured Prairie Farms Dairy to see how milk is tested, pasteurized, homogenized and bottled. The bloggers shared their experience on YouTube.

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