Checkoff is eager to connect with farmers and tell them how their checkoff investment is reaching consumers and building demand and can be a resource for them when promoting dairy in their communities. Keep reading to see how farmers from Minnesota, Missouri, and Kansas sharpened their communication skills.
BU North Farmers Get Together
In early December, 25 farmers and county board leaders practiced their media and promotion skills. Midwest Dairy Minnesota Farmer Relations staff offered an interactive 22-hour retreat to help dairy farmers focus on developing these leadership skills.
Day one of the event focused on media training. Attendees took home tools to help them create their own press releases and media alerts, as well as the recipe to create sound key messages during interviews. The group also explored social media best practices.
Day two of the event leaned into Minnesota’s strong network of county promotion groups, and a short checkoff update on what’s ahead for 2024 was shared. Later, a panel consisting of dairy farmers Wayne Saemrow, Joanna Bakeberg, and Hope Turner spotlighted various local promotions by county dairy groups and individual dairy farmers. Each panelist had a unique perspective on promotion and shared lasting advice to encourage other farmers to dabble in promotion: “Just do it; start now; and have fun.”
The workshop culminated by putting previous learnings together in an interactive activity called “Bringing Dairy to Life.” Attendees were divided into groups and tasked with developing a local promotion plan in 30 minutes. Groups randomly selected scenarios designed to stretch creativity and bring dairy to new places or audiences. Worksheets were provided to help groups organize their project goal, determine who would help, develop key messages and more. These scenarios included prompts like creating an event to reach high school students during homecoming, planning an Ag and Career Day for middle school students, and connecting with the local coffee shop that has monthly business sponsors. This activity produced several great ideas that attendees can bring home to their own farm or local county group. Attendees ranked this activity as the highest in value over the workshop’s duration (9.12 of 10). In fact, 100 percent of survey takers agreed the workshop provided tools and content they could use in the future.
BU South Farmers Gather Together
Farmers from across Missouri and Kansas came together for fellowship, community service, and to sharpen their storytelling skills. The two-day excursion brought 15 dairy farmers to Kansas City, who enjoyed a warehouse tour and volunteering at Harvesters Food Pantry on day one. The group divided and bagged sugar beets for distribution. Participants then teamed up for some friendly competition and team building to get them ready for the next day’s activities.
Day two focused on crafting messages through a new storytelling workshop, “Breaking Through the Noise,” led by checkoff’s partner, Janice Person, CEO and Founder of Grounded Communications. Farmers were equipped with the skills and confidence to build memorable connections through storytelling, even when they were surrounded by noise and chaos. As one dairy farmer said, “It’s taking storytelling to the next level and learning how to tell your story better and customize it to your audience.”
The excursion ended with farmers learning from checkoff staff about how Midwest Dairy builds trust with partners and learned of the newest checkoff partnerships in progress.