The Sydney Royal Easter Show has been running for the last 10 days. The show attracts close to one million people every year
It is a phenomenal opportunity for farmers to engage with “showgoers” aka general public aka consumers. Those all important people who buy what we produce.
Our audience – Opportunity gained? Opportunity lost? Source
I have been exhibiting at the show since I was eight years old and been involved in various community engagement activities at the Show for the past 10 years.
As a farmer in reality I should see exhibiting as a community engagement activity – shouldn’t I?
For example if I was a dairy cattle exhibitor impacted by $1/litre milk sales
- I would be signing up to be at the show on the most popular days at the show for the general public.
- I would be doing everything in my power to have conversations with everyone who walked past to show them that I am one of those people that supply their families with nutritious, affordable and safe milk.
- I would do everything I could to show them that I care for my animals.
- I would be doing everything I could to show them that I am passionate about the scarce natural resources that my cows graze on.
- I would do everything I could to ensure those people who walk past me and my cows at the show go home with an emotional bond that makes them think twice what milk they select when they walk into the supermarket.
Last night I had a call from some-one I know well in marketing. It was a very blunt phone call.
He said ‘Has your industry ever thought about the fact that your dairy farmer stud cattle exhibitors at the Sydney Royal Easter Show are doing it more harm than good?”
I said “What do you mean?”
He said “I wandered around the stud dairy cattle pavilion for 45 mins watching how the dairy farmers engaged with the general public. Whilst some do genuinely engage when they are spoken to, the rest give off this elite aura and some are just plain rude”
I did jump to their defence and said meekly “well they have put in a great deal time, money and effort to get their cows there and they are all pretty much focused on the blue ribbon and tend to find the general public a distraction”
Sadly he is not the first person to say this. So what does our industry do to engage with the public?
Well our industry doesn’t do anything but the RAS of NSW certainly does and the face of both of these very impressive activities are young people very passionate about the dairy industry who aren’t farmers.
There is the Dairy Farmers Milking Barn promoted as
an interactive and fun experience for the whole family. With demonstrations throughout the day, showgoers can learn about how farmers care for cattle, what the animals eat to stay healthy, milking hygiene and how dairy technology has advanced over the past 200 years.
Showgoers will also have the opportunity to hand-milk some of the gentle, good-natured cows and interact with the farmers.
I have stood and watched as Luke and his team entertain and inform the crowd and it’s outstanding
Also on offer for showgoers and equally popular is the Dairy Farmers Working Dairy promoted as an opportunity to see the on farm technology that is second step in the process of getting milk, butter and cheese from the grassy meadow paddock to the breakfast table?
In an amazing display of modern agricultural technology in action, The Dairy Farmers Working Dairy offers a behind-the-barn-door look at the workings of a modern dairy.
Showgoers will see state-of-the-art machinery in operation, watch as cows are milked and see how today’s dairy farmers monitor their herd for maximum performance.
Visit The Dairy Farmers Working Dairy and the nearby The Dairy Farmers Milking Barn for a look at the incredible changes that modern technology has brought to the business of agriculture.
At the Dairy Farmers Working Dairy the showgoers get to see the exhibitors cows milked.
The face of the Dairy Farmers Milking Barn is a young veterinarian and multi-media megastar Cassie MacDonald
– again like Luke and his team she gives a world class stellar performance.
But do these exhibitions leave a long lasting emotional bond that translates into branded milk sales? After all they are pitched as the opportunity to see the technology?
Technology is a thing. Extensive social research tells us people relate to people
Are the dairy cattle stud exhibitors doing themselves more harm than good?
Well that’s a question for industry and ultimately those farmers themselves to decide and do something about.
Milk is milk no matter how it is branded or is it?
BTW Other industries are doing some amazing “showgoer’ engagement activities at the show. I will blog about those shortly
This post has had 50 Facebook shares in 15 minutes of it being posted. Many of these comments are very concerning. Are showgoers idiots? I don’t think so. How many stupid questions would farmers ask if they went to their workplaces. Why cant we see that the difference between farmers and everyone else it we were lucky enough to grow up surrounded by agriculture . Its time to show some respect and thank the people who buy what we produce and stop wasting massive opportunities like this one and this Facebook posting from Robin says it all don’t you think?- if you are going to turn up make the most of it