Training farmers to tell dairy’s story has never been more important

Training farmers to tell dairy’s story has never been more important

Return to October 2023 newsletter

Training farmers to tell dairy’s story has never been more important

By Darren Turley
TAD Executive Director

At the end of September, the Texas Association of Dairymen held its board meeting in Amarillo and also attended Dairy MAX’s spokesperson training. The training, “Telling Your Story,” is held several times a year for those in dairy. It is extremely helpful in developing the skills needed not just to handle media interviews, but to talk to anyone about your farm or dairy issues effectively and with confidence.

Participants review key dairy messaging and communications techniques, and then put those lessons into action by practicing on-camera interviews followed by feedback.

Over the years, many Texas dairy farmers have been through the training facilitated by Dairy MAX and nationally recognized communications coach Joan Horbiak and videographer Bud Young. Joining members of the TAD board for this training were representatives from the Texas Beef Council, the Animal Agriculture Alliance and New Mexico Cooperative Extension Service.

If you have not taken part in this training, you are missing one of the great opportunities to better your ability to represent yourself, your farm and the dairy industry.

Thanks to this Dairy MAX program, the days of dairy farmers being unprepared for interviews about their farms, sustainability, animal health or other dairy issues are a thing of the past. The Texas Association of Dairymen takes seriously our responsibility to represent our state’s dairy farmers in the most professional and positive manner. With so many people who are generations removed from the farm, it’s vital that we share accurate information about our industry, how we care for our animals and our natural resources, and how we produce the healthy, wholesome milk that feeds the world.

I first underwent Dairy MAX’s “Telling Your Story” when my wife and I were young cooperators at the National Milk Producers Federation annual meeting. I knew immediately that it would be very beneficial to myself and the industry. I used the lessons learned as soon as I got home in my day-to-day interactions. I also was very glad I had the training later in my career. When Bosque watershed issues developed, being able to speak on these issues was critical.

Since I became executive director of TAD, I have encouraged our board members to take part in this training. This is the third time we have participated.

When I went through the training this time, I was reminded how much it has taught me and so many others over the years. TAD regularly receives interview requests from around the country, ranging from crisis situations to every-day topics. I use the training every time I speak to the media, industry professionals, legislators and their staff, or students researching dairy issues. The training not only teaches techniques, it also builds confidence.

I know there is more and more to manage on today’s technologically advanced dairy farms, but the basic ability to share your story and to clearly discuss dairy issues has never been more crucial.

Return to October 2023 newsletter




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