Some things never cease to amaze me.
Like how the dairy industry thinks that consumers will automatically buy their product simply because they produce it.
One thing you can bet on with dairy farmers, news like this won’t stop them from producing more milk, even if fluid consumption continues to fall.
So what’s the dairy industry doing to combat this? Well, they’re putting out campaigns like “The Science of Imitation Milk,” which is going to make people run right down to the local grocery store and buy more fluid milk just like the previous campaigns such as the “Got Milk?” and “Happy Cow” campaigns did.
The latest ad campaign from the California Milk Processor Board is apparently trying to get people to buy real milk by portraying other forms of “milk” as icky! Never mind that the folks bringing us the lactose-free versions of “milk” (I’m sorry, I just can’t call it milk if it doesn’t come from an animal) have obviously found market-friendly ways of selling their products.
The latest newspaper article centers on the falling consumption of fluid milk. While cheese consumption has done well, what with pizza and other products helping to keep cheese in what we eat, dairy farmers and the organizations they pay through their mandatory check-off programs have done an abysmally poor job of selling more milk. Kudos to the Almond Board of California and other commodities groups that have found substitutes for dairy milk. I may not drink the stuff because I personally find it repugnant and not very tasty, such is not the case with other consumers.
I recently had a twitter conversation with a cattle rancher and M.S. degree candidate from the University of Kentucky. Part of our discussion centered on what I believe is the crux of the problem within some components of American agriculture, and that is the inability to to effectively convince consumers to consume their products. Rather than focus on trying to sell more product to consumers, some farmers remain stuck in their circular arguments and ancient talking points that do nothing to create consumer demand for the products they produce.
Dairy was my prime example in the conversation I had with the college student. My point was, and remains, that the dairy industry in particular will continue to suffer like this as long as its main focus is arguing over how formula pricing and other government programs help or hurt dairy farmers and their partners, the dairy processor.
Until there is a complete attitude change and focus within the dairy industry in which producers and processors stop fighting over formula pricing and other convoluted issues that nobody understands, and instead start focusing on the reason they’re in business — to sell more milk — then stories like this in the Bakersfield Californian will continue to be published and dairy farmers will continue to cry about the unprofitable conditions in which they continue to produce the milk that fewer consumers are buying.