Current Progressive Dairy digital edition

Meet your dairy consumer: Phil Detrich

PD Editor Walt Cooley Published on 09 April 2012


HOW WE MET: Phil was working in the cubicle next to me at the San Francisco International Airport earlier this year.



I was waiting for a connection to Boise, Idaho, when the flight was cancelled. Phil expressed his condolences about my travel delays.

I asked where he was going, and he said to Kansas City for a funeral. I exchanged my condolences.

I told him I was a dairy magazine editor, and he then told me his family still owned a 160-acre farm in Kansas and of his memories helping his uncle hand-milk six or seven cows in a tiestall barn. Phil was traveling to attend the funeral of that uncle.


Phil Detrich, 65
Mt. Shasta, California
Environmental Consultant

When was the last time you visited a farm?
I was on my family’s own farmland in Kansas in November 2011.


When was the last time you were near a cow?
The Siskiyou County Fair in California in August 2011. The county is only 45,000 people. They were beef cows.

I don’t know that there is much of a dairy industry in that county. (Siskiyou County does have a small dairy industry. It ranks 831st out of 3,079 U.S. counties in value of milk produced, according to the 2007 Census of Agriculture.)

What is your favorite dairy product?
Cheese. I like to eat it on crackers.

How many gallons of milk do you buy?
Probably only a gallon of milk per year. I would only use it for cooking as an ingredient. My girlfriend is lactose intolerant. However, I consume a lot more fluid milk than that in prepared coffee drinks. I’ll have a latte about two or three times a week.

How much is too much to pay for dairy products?
Sometimes I think cheese gets a little expensive. But I don’t eat enough of it to really watch prices that carefully.

What is your favorite or most frequent time or place to consume dairy products?
Lunch for the cheese and crackers. Breakfast for a latte, usually at a coffee shop.


If you were one-on-one with a dairy farmer, what question would you ask him or her?
Will the farm transfer to the next generation? Will one of your kids be doing it in the future? As a result of my own experience in agriculture, I know there aren’t that many in agriculture anymore.

Positive industry image
I think of dairy products being of consistently high quality.

Negative industry image
The management of effluent and water quality. I don’t care about cows burping and their contribution to global warming. I think the former native population of American bison probably did the same thing.


Who do you trust for information?
To a high degree, I trust the FDA or other federal government agencies, such as the USDA. PD

FACT: The average serving of specialty coffee contains at least 8 ounces of fluid milk.


How many cows are there in the average herd in California?
Phil: 200
Correct answer: 1,056


" target="_blank"> Walt Cooley
Progressive Dairyman