By now, I'm sure most of you have seen online news reports of a recent survey showing that 7% of adults think brown cows produce chocolate milk (click here for story). According to those reports, if you do the math, that works out to 16.4 million misinformed adult milk drinkers!!
I am not completely surprised by this article. Each fall at the Georgia National Fair and Sunbelt Expo, adults visit our dairy exhibits and ask questions like "Do boy or girl cows make milk?" or "Do cows drink milk to start making milk?" It's often entertaining, but sometimes alarming to see that so many adults have very little knowledge on where their food comes from.
This survey demonstrates the importance of consumer education and the need for more transparency on food production. The Agriculture industry must make every effort to understand the consumer and to help them understand us. Programs like our Mobile Dairy Classroom and dairy exhibits at the Georgia National Fair and Sunbelt Ag Expo are key to reaching consumers one-on one.
As urban populations grow, so do the number of consumers who are either unaware, misguided, or dismissive of the entire food system. Instead of understanding the challenges of the modern farmer or the large scale food system, many consumers are focusing on fad diets like "gluten-free" or "lactose-free" without knowing the science behind the language.
Consumer education is our most challenging task ahead and we need your help. Share photos and videos on social media describing every day tasks. Reach out to your local community and talk about what you do on your farm and why you do what you do. People are waiting to hear about it, and it will never get told unless you tell it.