The visitors were very eager to learn about dairy farming, Julaine Treur said
By Diego Flammini
A B.C. dairy farm recently played host to guests representing a major international coffee chain.
On Feb. 11, Creekside Dairy, a 120-cow operation in Agassiz, B.C., welcomed Starbucks’s Chief Sustainability Officer Michael Kobori and Hans Melotte, the executive vice president of Starbucks global supply chain.
The two reps were part of a group that toured three farms in the Fraser Valley.
During the 90-minute tour, Julaine Treur and her husband Johannes shared their family history, highlighted their dedication to animal care and research, and how they are trying to leave the land in better shape than when they received it.
And the visitors showed a sincere interest in wanting to learn about the multiple aspects of dairy farming.
“We were a bit nervous but we were left with this feeling of awe,” Julaine told Farms.com. “These people were so curious and willing to learn about how we do things. It was such a good feeling to share with them that our cows’ milk could be going to the local Starbucks chain and (the company’s) executives are interested in how (the milk) is produced.”
Starbucks represenatives gather around Julaine and Johannes Treur as they welcome the visitors to their dairy farm.
Julaine Treur photo
In a Facebook post about the experience with the Starbucks reps, Julaine said she felt grateful for the opportunity to host the visitors.
Since so little of the population is involved with agriculture, farmers should welcome the chance to tell their stories, she said.
“The vast majority of our customers have no connection to the farm and that goes for the companies that source our milk as well,” she said. “It’s important for consumers to see what we do because then there’s less room for myths and misconceptions to take root. Most people are genuinely curious about what we do, and if we give them the right information that’s only going to build that relationship between farmers and consumers.”
The farmers also took the opportunity to pose questions to the coffee chain reps.
They brought up a letter from Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson which stated that one of the company’s five environmental strategies would be to expand plant-based options.
The Starbucks executives reassured the farmers that traditional dairy is a big part of the coffee chain’s business and will continue to be in the future, Julaine said.