Though they are a hassle to host, especially in the busy month of June Dairy Month, “Breakfast on the Farm” (BOTF) events yield favorable responses from non-farming attendees. And it’s not just because the breakfast are often offered free of charge.
Michigan State University researchers conducted surveys
of 545 attendees before and after their dairy farm visits. Forty-seven percent of respondents were first-time visitors to a dairy farm, and this group generally had the lowest favorable impressions of dairy farms than folks who were from farms or who previously visited farms.
But the first-time visitors also had the largest improvement in impression scores after their visits. And the average response increased with the number of visits to dairy farms.
In general, all visitors had fairly good impressions of dairy farms even before their visits. On a 1 to 5 scale, with 1 being “very negative” and 5 being “very positive,” all the respondents had an initial “before” score ranging from 3.93 to 4.06, when asked about farmers care for the environment, animal treatment and housing and milk safety.
Those scores jumped to a range of 4.66 to 4.77 after the visit. The largest increase in score, 0.85, came in how attendees viewed animal housing. Ninety-two percent also agreed that their general impression about modern dairy farms improved after visiting the farm.
While BOTF events often don’t reach large numbers of hardcore urban consumers, they do reach a good swath of non-farming neighbors. Having these folks on your side when food and environmental issues arise can only be a good thing.