When it comes to sharing dairy's story, there is no one better positioned to do this than our farmers.
Among peers and across all audiences, from consumers to key opinion leaders, farmers are consistently seen as a trusted and authentic voice.
The value of our farmers from a communication perspective was also recognised in the Australian Dairy Plan, which identified the need for a program to support farmers in confidently promoting our dairy industry.
In June 2020, Dairy Australia piloted the first year of the Farmer Ambassador program.
In this program farmers undergo a series of training workshops, skilling them with resources and techniques to confidently share their story.
Now in our second year of the program, we have a cohort of about 40 farmer ambassadors from across each region with a diverse range of experience, interests and skills.
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In the past year, our amazing ambassadors have supported more than 30 different program initiatives ranging from mainstream media opportunities, social media, community and on-farm activities.
Recently, Rachel Nicholson, a farmer ambassador from Jones Island in NSW has been the feature farmer in a series of 'Virtual Classrooms' hosted by Dairy Australia.
In this program, which brings the farm to the school, Ms Nicholson live-streamed into the primary school classroom from her farm, where she could speak to students about life and operations on her farm and answer their questions in real time.
"I really enjoyed the virtual classrooms, I am a teacher as well as a dairy farmer and am really passionate about educating students about the Australian dairy industry and all the different career paths that are available within dairy," she said.
"It is important they know all the hard work that goes into the milk cartons in their fridges.
"Talking to students and answering their many questions promotes positive attitudes towards the dairy industry and the nutritional value of our products, which helps to create awareness from a young age and reduces the prevalence of misconceptions."
In March, the next round of the Ambassador Program online workshops will start, with further specialist training and networking events for all ambassadors also being planned.
"I am honoured to be a part of the ambassador program as I am a very proud dairy farmer," Ms Nicholson said.
"I am very passionate about promoting our industry through sharing positive, factual information and experiences."
If you or someone you know are interested in becoming a farmer ambassador, or would like more information about the program, contact Jess Phillips at email email@example.com.
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