Current Progressive Dairy digital edition

Names in the News: January 19, 2014 issue

PD Staff Published on 17 January 2014

Names in the News

Sutton Rucks Jr. of Milking R Dairy in Okeechobee County, Florida, was one of two dairy farmers featured in a Ram commercial extending the truck company’s “Year of the Farmer” campaign (Search for “ram” at the Dairy Good website to find and watch the commercial.). Rucks spoke in the commercial about his passion for the dairy industry.

How did you get involved with the truck commercial?
Florida Dairy Farmers (FDF), the Florida dairy industry’s promotion group, is the longest-running sponsor of the Florida Gators.



Due to this long-standing relationship, the University of Florida reached out to FDF when approached by Ram; the truck company was looking to extend its “Year of the Farmer” campaign.

FDF had a photo from a recent visit to my farm of me in my barn, standing next to my Ram truck with a Gator-colored “got milk?” license plate. They shared the photo with UF and Ram, and the rest is history.

Why did you consent to do the commercial?
I wanted people to know where their food comes from and who produces it. I wanted them to know that 98 percent of dairy farms are family-owned and operated, just like mine.

And most of all, I wanted them to know the passion that I and other dairy farmers have for what we do: working with the cows, taking care of the land and producing nature’s most perfect food.

Were you nervous? What did you do to prepare?
I think everyone is a bit nervous when a camera is in front of them, including myself, but we have a great story to tell. To prepare, I went back and watched Ram’s “Year of the Farmer” commercial again for inspiration and just spoke about why I love dairy farming.


Have you done other interviews before? Please explain.
I’ve spoken to groups of registered dietitians in the past, along with groups of school kids, as a means to educate them on what we do on the farm and why. I think it’s important that farmers get out and share the story of agriculture.

Sutton Rucks Jr. of Milking R Dairy in Okeechobee County, Florida, was one of two dairy farmers featured in a Ram commercial extending the truck company’s “Year of the Farmer” campaign

What was most odd or surprising to you about the film crew’s visit?
We did the shoot in late August, and it was hot as you know what. There was a real nice lady that was in charge of makeup. She used cold towels to try to keep us from melting.

One other thing was that there was a full crew of people, around eight to 10, to make this thing come together. Thank goodness for a good editing crew back at the studio.

Were you satisfied with the piece that they produced?
Yes. I thought it turned out to be a great piece for farmers, like me, to tell a small portion of our story.

Have you made any new connections or had any interesting experiences as a result of the commercial airing?
We’ve had lots of comments from old friends on Facebook.


I was in the local grocery store with my wife recently, and the store manager made a point to stop me to tell me he saw the commercial with his family at the Gator game when the piece debuted. He said it was cool to be able to tell his children that he knew me and sold the milk from our farm in his store.

I even had some of our employees tell me they saw it on the Internet and how proud they were to be a part of our industry. No movie contracts yet, though. I’d better not quit my day job.

What advice would you have for other dairy producers who may be interacting with the media?
My advice would be to speak from your experience. Talk about the things you do on your farm and why. Remember that your audience probably didn’t grow up on a farm and is three to four generations removed from agriculture, so help them understand by using relatable analogies.

For example, most visitors to my farm are surprised that our cows have their very own nutritionist who creates their feed rations. I explain how he is similar to a dietitian for people.

They are amazed at how well our cows get treated. If asked a question that you don’t know the answer to, don’t be afraid to say you aren’t sure and bridge to something you do know. Most importantly, be passionate when speaking about what you do. PD