Every day’s an opportunity to tell dairy’s stories
By Darren Turley, TAD executive director
Recently I attended Dairy MAX’s spokesperson training for dairy farmers and others connected to our industry. In my session were dairy farmers of all ages, dairy employees and others from across the spectrum of the dairy community – a diverse group with a common goal: to learn how to better tell our stories to promote and protect the image of dairy farmers and the dairy industry.
Even though we all have different stories, each one has an impact in supporting the dairy industry. And after attending the training, I realize how often each of us have the opportunity to tell our story.
The Texas Association of Dairymen tells many stories to different audiences, every day. It could be about the importance of regulations, such as rules that govern raw milk sales, and steps taken on the farm to ensure the food we produce is safe. Recently TAD shared our concerns about raw milk regulation with the Texas Department of State Health Services, which requested input on whether to open and perhaps change rules on the sale of raw milk. If the rule is opened for change, TAD may continue to tell of the need for increased regulation and increased enforcement.
But this story is not just for state health officials, it also is for Texans who drink our milk every day and for legislators who, several times, have considered bills to expand raw milk sales.
TAD and dairy farmers also have to tell consumers why the milk we produce is nutritionally superior to plant-based substitutes, in order to secure our market. The story of health and nutrition is easy to brag about not only when it comes to milk, but also many other dairy products we help bring to the store shelves.
TAD continues to tell our story to state legislators. After the recent primary elections, and after the November general election, we know we will have some new faces to educate. They must be told the story of how hard dairy farmers work seven days a week, 365 days a year, to produce wholesome milk. In addition, a new executive director of the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality soon will be appointed, giving us a new audience to hear about the dairy industry’s commitment to the environment.
Last week, dairyman Will Collier of Snyder and I also had a chance to tell the story of labor and immigration audits to the attendees of the High Plains Dairy Conference. TAD continues to speak to legislators and policymakers on both state and federal levels about the importance of a sufficient labor force on today’s dairy farms.
Who have you told your story to recently? The most effective messages come straight from the farm – you are the industry’s best storyteller and advocate, no matter the audience. It takes all of us telling our dairy story to help our industry thrive.