“Farming for You”-Increasing consumer awareness of modern dairy production

Michigan State University Extension partnered with area dairy producers and Neiman’s Family Market to celebrate June Dairy Month in northeast Michigan.

The Dellar farm from Harrisville participated in the
The Dellar farm from Harrisville participated in the "Farming for You" program.

Michigan State University Extension joined forces with area dairy producers to offer in-store education in the dairy department of Neiman’s Family Market. The goal of “Farming for You” is to introduce consumers to dairy farmers and to help them understand the journey of milk from the farm to the table. The program helps consumers understand that dairy farmers care for their animals and the environment and that they produce safe and nutritious milk. Since June was dairy month, the activity also gave shoppers the opportunity to extend their thanks to area farmers.

The display incorporated several posters including: Michigan dairy industry facts; how to identify Michigan milk; dairy’s unique nutrient package and dairy progress. Shoppers were enticed to visit the dairy display with free samples of ice cream and cheese thanks to generous financial support from the United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM). In addition, two towers of milk jugs representing production progress stood tall on the table and caught the shoppers’ attention. One represented milk production per cow each day in 1944 and included just two gallon jugs. The other, was 8 gallons tall representing the daily production of one cow today. Today, the average Michigan cow produces 24,116 pounds of milk annually.

Katie Dellar, a dairy farmer and promoter from Harrisville, participates in this program every year because she believes that it is important for farmers to connect with consumers and she greatly appreciates the support from the retail industry.

“Neiman's Family Market is such a friendly, locally owned grocery store and I love that they work so openly with local farmers to help us bring our story to their shoppers,” Dellar said. “It is also a great atmosphere to introduce my children to my love of dairy promotion and hopefully spark an interest in them as well.”

Whether answering questions or simply exchanging a smile, interacting with consumers can be both rewarding and beneficial. When people are given the opportunity to meet a farmer and to put a face on a product, they may be more confident that it was produced with the utmost safety and care. For more information on “Farming for You” contact me at 989-354-9875 or at dunckelm@anr.msu.edu.

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