June Dairy Month Open Houses: Learning Events to Improve Consumer Understanding of Modern Animal Agriculture
Three dairy open houses as part of June Dairy Month events were conducted to provide the public the opportunity to experience and learn first-hand about the efforts made daily on modern dairies to achieve cow care, cow comfort and health, hygienic milking procedures, local cropping systems that provide quality feed for the dairy herd, manure management and land stewardship, respect for family and non-family workers, and overall quality and safety of milk and dairy products. These events were a product of industry partnerships. The three events reached 3600+ participants. Surveys performed at two events showed many participants had trust in dairy farmers and the dairy industry prior to the event, but post tour surveys showed enhancement in their knowledge of modern dairy practices that assure animal health and comfort, product quality and safety, and environmental stewardship and preservation (with 100% of participants improving their views and trust in modern dairy farming). Most concerns encompassed nutrient and environmental management (4% of respondents).