The U.S. Dairy Exporter Blog: Market Analysis, Research & News
  • U.S. Family Farm Stories: Relationships (Video Series)

    By Margaret Speich and Mark O'Keefe September 18, 2015

    The last installment of our four-part video series shows a California dairy farmer's passion for her family and community.

    Every two years, USDEC leads a “mission” to a key export market. In April, four of our mission farmers took the stage at the U.S. Dairy Business Conference in Singapore.

    Their stories prompted gasps of delight, ranking No. 1 in a post-conference survey. We wanted to capture them for broader industry usage. Thus, this four-part video series conveying the care that goes into U.S. dairy products, beginning with our farmers.


    TRANSCRIPT: Behind nearly every farm is a family and a face

    I am proud of my dairy, located in one of the most productive agricultural regions in the world. I am especially proud to tell my story to dairy customers.

    We are proud to show off our beautiful farm. We are surrounded by pasture. The barns are beautiful. We built free-stall barns in before any of the other farms in the area. This is a popular barn style in the United States where cows can lie down in stalls of their own choosing, then get up and walk over to feed and water. Each time we built a new free-stall barn, we tried to install the latest, state-of-the-art equipment. We have done a lot of research into the best equipment, stall design and bedding for the cows.

    One thing we have always been is enterprising, finding creative ways to meet the needs of our cows and the needs our customers, which has allowed us to build our business.

    I’m an example of that.

    Here in California we get a lot of tourists, and one thing I’ve noticed is that they are interested in agriculture.


    For years, I helped out at the farm. Now, much of my time is spent at a winery and agri-tourism center near Merced, Calif. It is located on Highway 140, a year-round gateway to Yosemite National Park, and includes an event center, a six-acre vineyard, winery, wine-tasting room and vegetable gardens. It is a popular venue for weddings.

    We have had visitors from 129 countries around the world.

    During the month of October, we have a fall festival that draws about 12,000 visitors, including 3,000 schoolchildren. There are nine learning centers for agriculture, including one for dairy. It is a great way to share agriculture’s story.

    It’s also helped me fine-tune my message about agriculture in general and dairy in particular, whether I am talking to someone at my winery or someone here at this conference. A lot of people see American farming as a major corporate endeavor. But, behind nearly every farm is a family and a face. Ninety-eight percent of the dairy farms in California are family-owned.

    My husband and I have five children. Our one daughter, Amanda, helps me at the winery. One son, Alex, helps manage the farm with my husband and me. Our oldest son, A.J., runs a dairy in Colorado and is helped by our youngest son, Aric. Another son, Anthony, works off the farm.

    My story hopefully conveys the sense of pride and enterprising spirit that characterizes so many dairy farms and processors in the United States today.

    "U.S. Family Farm Stories" includes these four videos:

    Each video can be reused without permission. To share this video on social media, click the buttons at the top and bottom of this post. To put on your own site, see the video on YouTube and click the "share" button. To request a DVD, contact us at or

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    The U.S. Dairy Export Council is primarily supported by Dairy Management Inc. through the dairy farmer checkoff that builds on collaborative industry partnerships with processors, trading companies and others to build global demand for U.S. dairy products.  

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