Southwest Dairy Farmers

(Jamie) Welcome back to Farm Factor. Let’s join Duane in the Milking Parlor as he visits with Callie Unruh with Southwest Dairy Farmers, an alliance of dairy farmers who promote dairy education and product information.
(Duane) Duane Toews joining you once again with AGam in Kansas. And while at the Kansas State Fair we had the opportunity to catch up with Callie Unruh. Callie works for Southwest Dairy Farmers. And Callie you had the opportunity to work in a big way with young people and fair goers alike educating them about the dairy industry. (Callie) Yes, we’ve been running the milking demonstrations here at the Fair for the last three years. We took it over from Fort Hays State about three years ago. We’ve been doing six shows a day, educating the public on what we do on the farm and showing them how we get milk from our cows to them as a consumer. (Duane) We think about some of the things that you talk about, trying to explain that in a fashion that’s relevant or makes sense for them. (Callie) Yes, definitely. We try to put it in to terms that they understand, give them good comparison to know why we do the things that we do. And that gives them a little bit better idea of why farmers do what they’re doing on the farm and maybe a little relation to things that they know about on the farm sense. (Duane) You do a number of programs throughout the year in addition to fairs and expositions you actually have kind of a traveling road show if you will. (Callie) Yes, yes we do. During the school year I do what’s called the Mobile Dairy Classroom and we bring a live cow on a trailer with all of our milking equipment for schools and we put on an oral presentation, live milking demo, and a question and answer period. And what’s cool about it is it is a free event for schools. So any school in Kansas can book that program through our website. (Duane) Talking about those educational opportunities all of agriculture has really taken a big step forward in realizing that educating consumers about what we do in a positive light certainly is more beneficial than reactionary stances when those outside of agriculture try to take pot shots at us. (Callie) Yes, yes definitely. We feel like we’re trying to be proactive instead of reactive and we’re trying to be out here telling our story and I think it’s important that our story comes from people who do this job every single day. And we can tell the consumers why we’re doing what we’re doing and give them some truths because there are a lot of misconceptions out there. (Duane) It appears that young people in particular were very enamored with the Milking Parlor here at the Kansas State Fairgrounds and maybe had the most questions. Influencing them before they have an opportunity to hear some of those negative tones probably is important as well. (Callie) Yes, yes, definitely and that’s part of the reason why we run the mobile dairy classroom at schools is because we want to get those kids before they maybe learn some falsehoods about agriculture. And it’s always great because we get lots of good questions from the kids, like where does chocolate milk come from? And we assure them that it does not come from our brown cows. (Duane) You work for Southwest Dairy Farmers, tell us a little bit about that group and what it’s comprised of. (Callie) Southwest Dairy Farmers is a dairy education and promotional company. We cover nine different states I believe with over 500 dairy farmers and their families who fund us to do programs at fairs, community events and also our schools. They obviously can’t leave the farm as easy as we can, so we try to get out there and help them do those promotional events for them. (Duane) Our thanks to Callie Unruh for joining us with AGam in Kansas. Jamie we’ll send it back to you in studio.
(Jamie) Thanks, Duane! Folks, it’s time to grab a cup of coffee, but don’t go far away – next up is this week’s Kansas Soybean Report.

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