Spread the Word

May 29, 2012 08:40 PM

CharlieDeGrootCharles DeGroot

Fresno, Calif.

DeGroot is a third-generation California dairy producer whose San Joaquin Valley operation milks 2,400 cows. 


There are many different approaches when it comes to marketing milk. In California, we have the "Happy Cows," "It’s the Cheese" and "Real California Milk" promotions.

The problem is that people still don’t get it. Maybe that’s why we need to get back to the basics of milk and why we drink it. It’s true that milk is nature’s most wholesome food, but what is milk?

Politicians are trying to change the definition of marriage, just like others have changed the definition of milk. People are using the word "milk" after "soy," and after "almond," but that’s not true at all.

Here’s the definition: "Milk is the lacteal secretion obtained by the complete milking of one or more healthy cows. It is a whitish liquid containing proteins, fats, lactose, and various vitamins and minerals that is produced by the mammary glands of all mature female mammals after giving birth."

So why does the soy industry call its product "soy milk"? It’s not secreted from the mammary of a mammal. Shouldn’t it be "soy beverage" or "almond beverage"? It certainly shouldn’t be near milk in the grocery store refrigerator. We need to fight as an industry for our product (milk), where it comes from (healthy cows) and the nutrient value it has in our diets. Too much time is spent on the defense instead of the offense when it comes to dairy products.

Consumers have lost sight of the benefits of milk because they are wrapped up in the "bad" media our industry gets. A recent example is the E. coli and Campylobacter in organic raw milk outbreaks. These kinds of outbreaks affect our industry in a negative way, and we have to spend time and money convincing people that their food is safe.

It should be illegal to sell raw milk. Pasteurization was created for a reason. Maybe we need to go back to the basics and talk to consumers about pasteurization and the fact that milk still contains all the vitamins and minerals we need, even after pasteurization.

I’ve talked about things I believe our industry needs to do, but who is our industry? Our industry is us, the men and women who care for our animals and help them produce the wholesome, quality product we call milk.

So it’s up to us to spread the word. In today’s world, "spreading the word" is just a few clicks away. Recently, I was reading a positive article online from a dairy magazine. As I read, I realized that I had an option. I could keep it to myself and say, "That’s nice," or I could click "share." If more of us would be willing to click "share," we could spread the word quickly. We need to share positive stories that will deepen the consumer’s confidence in our products and, ultimately, in our industry.

DeGroot's Most Recent Prices  
Milk (3.4% bf, 3.21% prt, 80 lb.) $13.89/cwt. (over base), $15.59/cwt. (quota)
Cull cows $73/cwt.
Springing heifers $1,200/head
Alfalfa hay (delivered/premium) $280-$300/ton
Corn (rolled) $281/ton
Cottonseed $385/ton
Bull calves $140/head
Canola $379/ton


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