Archive: Promoting the Image of Dairy Farming - Amanda Ball, DairyCo Head of Image and Issues management

Published 5 June 09

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Consumer interest in food provenance and how it is produced is growing. When making decisions about the food they are buying and eating, consideration will be given by some consumers to environmental and ethical issues in addition to other matters such as their own health, food price and convenience.   

Dairy farming will at times come under the spotlight in mainstream media; particularly given the interest and often encouraging support that celebrity chefs have given to British farmers. As an industry we are all aware of the need to promote our credentials ensuring that the general public is aware of the good work dairy farmers are doing, but there is also a need to be able to respond when the safety, benefits or reputation of dairy products or dairy producers is called into question publically.

Through the creation of our new Image and Issues Management strategy, we have increased our focus on issues close to the farmgate that are important to consumers, such as animal health and welfare and the environment, aiming to raise a positive public profile for dairy farming. We are creating a continuously updated library of issues statements about potentially damaging subjects to the dairy farmer/industry along with all the supporting evidence and research information needed on these subjects.  This will allow us to help raise the image of dairy farming while also showing the general public that these kinds of issues are being addressed, and being addressed successfully.

We will provide all the background information based on national and international research and development as well as give practical examples of on-farm activities/support already being provided by DairyCo to address specific issues. It is important that dairy farmers can demonstrate to consumers and the media either directly or through their processing and retailing partners all the positive work that is taking place as clearly retailers are often the first port of call for consumer queries.  

In addition to being able to talk about the good work being done on individual or groups of farms, it is vital that this is underpinned with robust industry messages. Armed with these and with strong industry collaboration, we will be better placed, and well prepared to make sure we can promote the positives about dairy farming.