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Why do you farm? That’s what consumers want to know

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When I’m teaching farmers how to build a website or create a social media profile, we always seem to stall at the section where you are to talk about your farm and yourself. It seems pretty simple, but many farmers struggle with it.

What can you say about your farm?

Here’s what I usually get from training participants: “We produce nutritious milk from healthy cows using sustainable environmental practices.”

And, this sums it up nicely, but does it really resonate with your consumers?

They may be thinking “big deal” that’s not the reaction we want. We want them to know you really care about farming.

It’s not that the statement lacks the potential to be interesting. Most people like cows and they like to hear you are committed to sustainability, even if they might be unclear about what this term means. And they probably like “dairy” since they have found your website or social page.

It just doesn’t mean much to them, and it certainly doesn’t sound like it means much to you as a farmer. It needs more description, right? Maybe you can add “how” you do it.

We use the following statement as an example of adding the what and how you farm.

“We care for our cows because they care for us. We work closely with a veterinarian to ensure they are healthy. A dairy nutritionist scientifically balances their diets to ensure they get the feed that will help them produce the best quality milk. We are dedicated to ensuring they are comfortable, clean, well-fed and healthy.”

Here are the “hows,” or proof points, of your work on the farm. You work closely with a veterinarian. You use a dairy nutritionist to balance the cows’ diet. You make sure they are comfortable and clean.

Now, the statement is better with more information, but does the consumer get a feel for how much time and effort you are putting into healthy cows? Probably not.

Check out a very popular TED talk by author and marketing consultant Simon Sinek.

Do you see what’s been missing in your “About Us” statement? It’s the “why” portion.

Why do you farm? That’s what the consumer wants to know, and you see it in marketing strategies all the time. And that’s what you are doing. You are marketing your farm, not just relaying dairy industry facts. You are selling them on the idea that farming is not a job, but a family lifestyle. It’s because you care about your cows and not just turning a profit. It’s about the sleepless nights in maternity pens … the early cold mornings for milking … the late nights to get the harvest in.

Here’s how the “what” and “how” statements change when you add more of your “why” into them.

“Providing the best possible animal care is job No. 1 for every member of our family and staff. It’s the first thing we think of when we wake in the morning and the last thing we think about when we go to bed.

“We are dedicated to our cows’ comfort by keeping our girls clean, well-fed and healthy. Why? So you’ll get the most delicious and wholesome milk we can provide. We work closely with professionals like our veterinarian and dairy nutritionists to maintain this high level of cow care.”

Including your “why” is critical to your farm statement. Think about it as you write your reasoning for farming, knowing the consumer doesn’t know our industry and loves to know your “why.” It’s the story they will relate to the most.

If you need help in creating your “why” statements, please join the Dairy Hub where we can discuss them together. Or, you can email me at don.schindler@dairy.org.

Any views or opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect those of AGDAILY. Comments on this article reflect the sole opinions of their writers.
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