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Time to celebrate dairy

Carol Ann Gregg man washing Guernsey cattle
SPLASH TIME: These Guernsey cattle stand patiently while waiting to be washed for the annual Crawford County Fair dairy show.
Farmhouse Window: June Dairy Month will soon be here, and dairy farmers are as essential as ever.

For dairy farmers across the country, June is the time to celebrate being in the business. These busy, family-owned enterprises flourish through the hard work of everyone on the farm.

There is planting to be done, cutting hay or grass silage, and caring for other crops besides the regular chores of milking cows. This is a very busy time.

Dairy ambassadors and dairy princesses will be busy all month, too, sharing the story of the dairy farms in their communities and the health benefits of consuming three dairy products per day.

Whether you like milk in a glass or on your cereal, in a chunk of flavorful cheese, or in a bowl of ice cream, the dairy princesses will be telling you to get your three per day.

Last year, Canon Dairy Farm in West Middlesex, Pa., opened a small processing plant adjacent to its dairy barn. In its small salesroom, the farm offers whole white or chocolate milk, no homogenized milk. The cream rises to the top, creating a cream line. Customers are reminded to shake the bottle well, so that the cream mixes into the milk.

They also create several flavors of cheddar cheese curds.

The farm will host another open house this spring to share with the public. Last year, its open house was a big success. The farm has developed a relationship with the news anchor of the local TV station. He was able to feature the farm’s expanded operation and information about its upcoming open house.

As people visited the calves and watched cows being milked with robots, their eyes were open to where milk comes from and what it takes to get it to their table. Of course, milk and cheese were available to taste and buy. Several other agricultural vendors were there, too.

Many of the visitors mentioned that they learned about the event from the story on TV.

If you want increased exposure for an event on your farm, don’t hesitate to contact your local media. Although many newspapers have cut back on staff and can’t send someone out to cover your event, you can still submit photos and information to them.

Start to develop a relationship with your local media. They might just be looking for a local story that would be of interest to your community.

Many farms use social media to share what is happening on their farms. Some use videos to let the public know what is going on.

This might seem intimidating to some, but for someone who is comfortable with communicating, this is a great opportunity.

Take advantage of those cameras in these newer cellphones. You carry that tool in your pocket. Take a shot of a calf or hay being mowed when you see it. You can also post the photo on social media from your phone or later with your computer.

Only you can tell the story of your farm.

So, plan to share your dairy farm’s story. Let’s have a great June Dairy Month.

Gregg writes from western Pennsylvania. She is the Pennsylvania 2019 Outstanding Woman in Agriculture and is a past president of American Agri-Women.

TAGS: Dairy
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