Dairy farmers use social media to draw attention to the sector
By Diego Flammini
Canadian dairy farmers are taking to social media to call attention to and defend supply management.
Producers across the country are sharing photos and messages on Twitter using the hashtag #TheFacesOfSupplyManagement.
Farmers hope the hashtag will help others understand the importance of supply management and why the federal government continues to defend it.
“The goal is to show people what supply management means and what it really looks like,” Rudi Spruit, a 220-head producer from Bruce County, Ont., told Farms.com today. “It’s not some guy in a suit or a millionaire riding around in an expensive car. Supply management means that regular families have an ability to make a living.”
Dairy farmers are also supporting the industry.
Several people have called the dairy industry a cartel that helps to set the consumer price of milk to ensure profits.
“It really bothers me when people call us a cartel,” Spruit said. “That word has become so mainstream that we can’t avoid it. But we have to defend ourselves and our industry from these untrue labels because they don’t accurately describe anything that’s going on the industry.”
Other producers share the same sentiments as Spruit.
“It’s extremely frustrating to hear people refer to dairy farmers as a cartel,” Katelyn Sykes, a producer from Oxford County, told Farms.com today. “When people use these words, it gives agriculture a negative connotation and makes it seem like you’re out to get everyone.”
Dairy producers will also use the hashtag to engage with consumers when opportunities arise.
If consumers took the time to ask questions, ag conversations may be a little easier, said Amanda Hammell, a dairy farmer from Bruce County.
“I grew up outside of Brampton, so I know how disconnected the urban community is from farming,” she told Farms.com today. “Sometimes we have kids from rural schools come to the farm and they don’t know where their milk comes from.
“People call us a cartel like we’re out to hurt people, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. We buy milk from the grocery store just like everyone else. So if we were to gouge the price of milk we wouldn’t be doing ourselves any favours.
“If the public knew that it’s families like ours that run dairy farms, they might think differently about supply management.”