Thursday, February 20, 2014

Dairy united

Today I attended the United Dairy Industry of Michigan's annual meeting.  This is the way it works - when you sell milk, some of the money goes to UDIM.  (My sister pointed out today that she doesn't like that acronym.  I'm so familiar with it that I didn't think anything of it.  We say all the letters individually, obviously!) 

Then, UDIM takes that money and promotes and markets dairy products.  We have UDIM staff - marketing people, dieticians, everything - and a board made up of farmers. 

At the annual meeting they report on what they did during the year and various people speak.  Sharon Toth, our CEO, talked about how in today's industry consumers have to know, like, and trust you in order to buy your product.

The idea behind this is much like why we sell our milk to a co-op.  We have the farm.  We sell the milk to Michigan Milk Producers Association, whose motto is: To market MMPA members' milk to the greatest advantage possible.  So we're all doing what we do best.  We pay people to market and sell what we produce.  Since all of the farmers are giving money, we're pooling it to get the best service.

So, next time you see a chocolate milk promotion that declares it as 'nature's sports drink', or see that kids are getting milk with their lunch, or donate milk through Forgotten Harvest ... think about how it all started - on some little farm. 

(Then, BUY BUY BUY!  That's still being cleared as our new ad campaign.  Catchy, right?)

On the way out of the building I ran into one of my former coworkers at TechSmith. (Their Coach's Eye software is being used by Olympians - so cool!)  Amy said she'd seen the dairy meeting sign and wondered if I was there.  She said that she followed what was going on with us on the farm through social media, and she and people at work talked about it.

That made me happy, too.  If I hadn't worked there, hadn't still remained in touch - how many farmers would they know? 

We pay for the marketing, but as most farmers would say ... our lives are our business.  We're glad to be a personal link to the dairy industry for people.  It's hard to put a price on that. 

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