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Names in the News: February 7, 2014 issue

Published on 06 February 2014

Names in the News

Adam Azevedo and his family run a dairy farm in Stevinson, California. With the milk market the past few years making things tight all over, this family has opened up the farm as a wedding venue to supplement the farm’s income. The farm was featured in a Los Angeles Times article recently. Azevedo discussed the interview process.

How did your interview with the Los Angeles Times come about?
We have an agriculture museum on the farm that hosts events such as weddings. Even though we try to avoid publicity, the reporter was very persistent. By coincidence, our neighbor down the road was selling his dairy herd the same Saturday, so we combined the two.

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Why did you consent to do the interview?
I feel that any time you have an opportunity to connect with the consumer, it is very important to do so.

Were you nervous before it? What did you do to prepare?
It happened very casually. The reporter was a good listener and asked the right questions.

Have you done other interviews before? Please explain.
At Organic Valley (our co-op), they encourage us to promote what we do. I have participated in trade shows and promotions. During these events, I’ve been interviewed by consumers and others.

What was most odd or surprising to you about the reporter’s visit?
I was surprised at the level of interest of the reporter. They also spent a lot of time at the farm. The photographer even came back the next morning to have Sunday morning breakfast with us.

Adam Azevedo and family

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What was the most difficult question you had to answer? Why?
The hardest thing was trying to explain that I might be the last generation on the farm. Milk has been produced on our farm for more than 60 years, but because of the economics of farming (high grain, irrigation water, fuel, electricity and insurance rates), it is almost impossible to operate.

Were you satisfied with the piece that they produced? If not, why and how could you have influenced it otherwise?
Freedom of the press is one of our most important rights. I would have liked it if they told the public that the organic dairy farmer only gets $1 of every $4 the consumer spends. More of the consumer’s dollar needs to come back to the farmer.

Have you made any new connections or had any interesting experiences as a result of the story airing?
Any time we can make people aware of what is happening on the farm, it is a good thing. We have received many phone calls from across the country.

Overall, was it worthwhile to do the interview?
It is very worthwhile to connect. I think the public is hungry for information on how their food is produced. As a farmer, I feel we have a responsibility to welcome them in and show them how we do what we do. For example: why we brand, cut horns, remove extra teats and many other things. If we took the time to teach, there wouldn’t be so much misunderstanding.

What advice would you have for other dairy producers who may be doing interviews?
My advice when doing an interview:

• If possible, try and find out whom the interviewer is writing for.

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• If the publication is to the consumer, try not to use too much trade terminology.

• If you do not know the answer, don’t be afraid of stating so.

• Make the interview a family affair: Include the wife, kids and even the dog. There are a lot of people that think dairies in the West are just “factory farms,” when in fact they are family-owned and -operated. PD

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