SYRACUSE, N.Y. – More than 22,000 consumers have heard directly from dairy farmers and industry members since American Dairy Association North East began its Speakers Bureau program in 2013.
ADA North East’s Driving Dairy Discussions is a one-day training workshop that helps farmers and industry members learn to answer tough questions from consumers, and the Speakers Bureau helps those who have been trained secure public speaking opportunities with consumer groups.
“The reason we established these programs is to help our dairy farmers feel more comfortable in telling their stories,” said Amy Leslie, ADA North East Industry Relations Specialist and coordinator of the programs. “Research shows that more than 50 percent of consumers said they would like to talk directly to farmers, so these programs help establish trust between both groups to ultimately boost sales for dairy.”
Originally started in the Mid-Atlantic region, the program was expanded in New York in 2017. In New York, six dairy farmers and industry members are part of the Speakers Bureau. All dairy farmers and industry advocates are invited and encouraged to join the program.
Dairy farmer Kelly Reynolds from Reyncrest Farm in Corfu, New York, is a graduate of the Driving Dairy Discussions training and an active Speakers Bureau member since 2017, giving 10 presentations and reaching more than 400 consumers. Reynolds started a farm social media page since participating in the training, and the family regularly hosts farm tours.
“I participated in Driving Dairy Discussions to gain insight on interacting with consumers,” said Reynolds. “Learning about buying trends has helped me think of ways to tie in what people are looking for in the store or how their food is produced to what I post on social media and how I talk to consumers.”
On joining the Speakers Bureau, Reynolds added, “I love sharing with people where their food comes from, and through the bureau, I have brought our farm’s story to our neighboring communities. In fact, I spoke to a local culinary class where the teacher was a vegan. She was open to what I shared about dairy’s health benefits, and being eager to learn about our family farm, she brought her class to the farm for a whole day.”
“You don’t have to be a perfect public speaker or a social media whiz to connect with consumers and the Driving Dairy Discussion trainings help you to find what area would best fit you and your personality to help keep people connected to farmers and dairy products,” said Reynolds.
About American Dairy Association North East
American Dairy Association North East (ADA North East) is the dairy farmer-funded organization funded by participating dairy farmer’s checkoff investment to build demand and sales for milk and dairy foods throughout the local region. Representing nearly 11,000 dairy farm families in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and northern Virginia, ADA North East develops and implements local programs to drive milk and dairy sales at retail outlets and in schools. The organization also conducts consumer education about dairy through events, traditional and social media, and in collaboration with health professionals through National Dairy Council®. ADA North East works closely with Dairy Management Inc.™, the national dairy checkoff organization, to support nutrition research, national partnerships and developing export markets for dairy to bring a fully integrated promotion program to the region. For more information, visit www.AmericanDairy.com.