Guest blogger, Kara Shultz, is the 2018-2019 Pennsylvania Alternate Dairy Princess
New year new me! That’s what millions of people say each and every January, but most of these “new me’s” are things like eating healthier, being kinder, visiting family and friends more often. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with those goals but what about some goals that could make an impact on not only you, your family, your community, but the whole entire world?
Here’s a thought: bettering the dairy industry!
And I don’t mean changing how dairy farmers farm, or how businesses and companies work but instead increasing your consumption of dairy foods, eliminating the misconceptions of the dairy industry and helping to promote an industry that has changed the lives of so many people.
It’s no secret dairy farmers have been struggling the past few years. We farmers are clinging to a hope and praying that soon, hopefully very soon, markets change. We work long hours, starting before the sun comes up and not stopping until hours after it’s gone down. Due to many circumstances beyond dairy farmer’s control, we are receiving a smaller income for a prolonged period of time.
The consumption of fluid milk has declined 25-percent in the last 20 years. However, I believe my generation could change that, we are a group of believers that trust doing what is right and best for our environment, our bodies and each other. By all of us joining forces and to purchase the dairy foods from our local dairy farmers, we could change everything.
I’m sure all of you have heard some crazy myths about dairy farmers, how we treat our cows, what we are doing to the environment and so on. It’s disheartening to think so many people believe dairy farmers actually do those things. When, in fact, farmers are actually doing the complete opposite. We love our cows, community and environment way too much to even think about ever doing anything to harm or negatively impact our livestock, community or environment.
Beyond those of us wearing a crown and sash, there are so many other passionate farmers and supporters who are available to answer any question you may have about dairy farming and foods. You can find many farmers online, through social media and blogs that will answer your questions directly.
I was once told “No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care.” Let me just say this, I am positive this quote will be permanently a part of who I am long after the crown and sash are gown. By sharing the stories of our dairy farmers with those who want to support our industry, I know we can change our treasured industry for the better.