Sharing the Story of Your Dairy Farm with Media

If a dairy industry topic is in the news, a local reporter may contact you
to ask questions. Or you may read an article in your local paper and
want to respond by writing a letter to the editor. We dairy producers
should be ready and prepared to speak out. To feel comfortable talking
with the media, write down your talking points before the interview. If a
reporter calls you and you’re not ready to talk, tell them you will
call back then take some time to prepare yourself.

During a media interview, the goal is to provide information and facts, not
simply answer questions. Take the time to write down three key messages
you want to share. Effective messages incorporate compassion, conviction
and optimism.

A trick for creating short, simple and easy to remember messages is to
use the 27/9/3 rule. Use 27 words in 9 seconds with 3 messages. For
example; It’s important to keep cows cool in the summer. We do this by
using large fans, water misters and well ventilated barns. Comfortable
cows are productive cows.

Talk about what you know and refer to your experiences on your farm. Be
honest. Use short answers and stop talking when you’re done with your
message. Don’t let the reporters silence draw you to say more.

Our job as producers is to provide information to consumers about what we
do on our farms. Let’s communicate that we do the right things for the
right reasons. Tell people about how you care for your animals and the
environment and the way you ensure a quality product. Consumers want to
feel good about the food they are purchasing and serving their families.

I’m proud to have grown up on a dairy farm and to be raising my sons on a
farm. The dairy farmers I know have strong ethics and values, long-term
ties to the land and community and are good people who deserve respect.

Be proactive in telling the story of your farm!

Brenda Hastings
Hastings Dairy LLC, Ohio
Author of The Dairy Mom Blog @

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Comment by on October 22, 2010 at 7:46am
Great tips. In this "media" world it is good to keep these tips in mind when speaking to any stranger as they might "quote" you on facebook and twitter or even blog about. As always good info to learn by!


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