Midwest Dairy Association's SpeakOut! program has passed a milestone - the initiative through which dairy producers are trained and scheduled for presentations to community leaders has reached 10,000 people.
In Minnesota alone, more than 50 dairy producers have given presentations at more than 200 meetings and have reached more than 6,000 community leaders.
Launched in 2007, SpeakOut! is designed to tell the story of dairy farmers' dedication to producing wholesome milk while caring for their animals and the land they call home. Since its beginning, the program has been given rave reviews. On average, SpeakOut! presentations given by dairy producers have scored 5.56 out of a possible 6.0 when evaluated by their audiences.
An Alexandria Rotary Club member said, "It was an excellent, professional presentation with a personal touch. At the end, our club members asked a higher than normal amount of questions. On a personal note, I left with a lot of new knowledge and appreciation for the milk I drink each day."
Dairy producers participating in the program receive all the tools they need such as training, scheduling, posters, videos and handouts to make presentations in their local communities.
Participants are seeing the difference they can make in their local communities and the importance of the program. "I did not realize the impact I could have on my local community by simply participating in SpeakOut!" said Linda Johnson, a La Crescent dairy producer and SpeakOut! participant. "This experience has really opened the door for me to help educate others about what we do each day on the farm and how dedicated we are to producing wholesome products."
Celebrating the milestone of reaching 10,000 community leaders is a reminder of the importance of sharing the story of production agriculture with others. Studies have shown consumers connect with dairy producers and consider them experts when it comes to dairy farming. "The more that we do these SpeakOut! presentations, the more we need to do them," said Barb Liebenstein, a Dundas dairy producer and SpeakOut! participant. "These presentations are so important for personal knowledge and for the good of the dairy industry."