The impact of drought, different breeds, market options and even where milk comes from are some of the questions asked as part of a dairy industry move to get consumers to meet the people behind their milk, cheese and butter.
Local dairyfarmers, and others involved in the industry, have been acting as Legendairy ambassadors, hosting twice daily tours of the dairy shed at the Royal Adelaide Show and allowing city-based people to find out more about where their food comes from.
Volunteer tour guides Casey Treloar, who grew up on a dairyfarm at Victor Harbor, and milker Ebony King, Hope Forrest, said they had been surprised at the tour’s response.
“People are really curious about farming and how it works,” Ms King said.
“I’d rather them come to the farmers and ask than take what they’ve seen on the internet because sometimes what’s on the internet is not necessarily right.”
Ms Treloar said the show was a good platform for people to find out more about the industry.
“They can see happy, friendly cows; it’s a clean environment with well-respected farm representatives involved,” she said.
“They can see our passion for our animals, that they’re not just cows standing in the paddock,” Ms King said.
The farmer tours were originally something that started as a pilot program at the Royal Perth Show and are being rolled out at the the major shows.
An estimated 250 people from a wide age range took part in the tours across the five days they were run.
Dairy Australia community project manager Natasha Busbridge said it was a natural fit to make these connections in the show environment.
“Show-goers would like to approach and ask questions about life on the farm so we started looking at opportunities to link farmers with that urban-based community,” she said.
“Holding these tours at the show was a way to facilitate a conversation between them.”
The tours began at the exhibition dairy, where the groups of 20 to 30 people got a behind-the-scenes tour of the Herringbone set-up and processing plant, then they were taken to meet dairyfarmers.
Ms Busbridge said, while the exposure helped those on the tour understand more about where their food came from, and helped farmers spread a positive message about their industry, the tours also had a beneficial effect on those who volunteered as ambassadors.
“It offers professional development skills, allowing them to talk and engage with the community and become advocates for the industry,” she said.
“A program like this creates young dairy ambassadors to help facilitate conversations about how do we have a viable industry.”