Virtually Sharing the Goodness of Dairy
The way Dairy MAX connects with influential stakeholders to share the dairy story looks different in 2020. Social distancing measures and travel limitations have prevented traditional events and outreach, like farm tours, university visits and conferences.
A program that has pivoted to continue reaching health and wellness professionals is the screening of the film “Farmland” for dietetic students and practicing dietitians. In fact, the program has shifted to connect with even more health and wellness professionals by going completely virtual.
For the last three years, Dairy MAX has hosted in-person screenings of “Farmland” in select cities and universities across the region in partnership with Bayer Crop Science U.S. and Neva Cochran, registered dietitian nutritionist, communications consultant and member of Bayer’s Leaders Engaged in Advancing the Dialogue (LEAD) program. The film, which follows six young farmers in various sectors of agriculture, gives the dietetic students perspective and insight about how the nutrition they are studying gets to the table. The screening is then followed up by a panel discussion.
The program went virtual with a screening on Oct. 26 for Texas dietetic students and Nov. 5 for Oklahoma, Louisiana and New Mexico students. 260 students were reached virtually, surpassing the number who usually attend in-person screenings.
“We were able to have more of an impact and educate more future dietitians all from being at home, along with the help of some really clever technology,” said Katie McKee, director of health and wellness at Dairy MAX.
The virtual screenings included the “Farmland” film, Utter Truth short films and a panel discussion with Cochran moderating the program. All aspects of the virtual screening helped students and participants understand how dairy feeds people while nourishing communities, caring for animals and protecting the planet.
During the panel discussion, students were able to have science-based dialogue with a diverse group of thought leaders about agriculture, sustainability and nutrition. The panel speakers varied between the two screenings, but a farmer or rancher, a dairy nutritionist, nutrition communications experts and agricultural communications experts were included.
“We always bring in a dairy nutritionist to speak to the role of nutrition and cow care on the farm,” said McKee. “It is always a really great moment for students because they realize how much they actually have in common with the dairy nutritionists. They also start to understand the goals of a dairy cow’s diet and how farmers are providing all the nutrients a dairy cow needs to be healthy.”
Additionally, McKee mentioned the panel often reveals to the students and participants how dairy cows are part of creating a sustainable food system when it comes to helping reduce food waste and greenhouse gas emissions.
“Our first goal is for the students to have knowledge and not fear,” said McKee. “We want them to learn about the farming system. Learn more about how food gets to their plate and be able to educate others on that. We would also love for them to share the story of dairy and go out there and engage with folks when they have questions about dairy or farming.”
This fall Dairy MAX also pivoted to host the sixth-annual #DairyAmazing Symposium in a virtual format, bringing 55 health professionals together to share the latest nutrition research and dairy's role in a healthy lifestyle. Dairy farmers Jodi Jackson and Emily Lochner of Bentwood Dairy in Waco, Texas, shared their farm story and helped showcase the people behind the dairy people enjoy.
While things look different in 2020, dairy’s story of sustainability and goodness has remained the same. By pivoting to virtual events and outreach, Dairy MAX is ensuring dairy’s sustainable nutrition story continues to be shared.
Visit DairyMAX.org/covid-19-response for more on how Dairy MAX has continued to drive sales and trust for dairy during the pandemic.