If there’s one silver lining to COVID-19’s many challenges, it is this — consumers have rediscovered dairy.
Holstein Association USA asked Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture Russell Redding to share his thoughts on how consumer perceptions have changed over the last two years.
“The rediscovery of food, and particularly dairy products, that came out of the pandemic. People have really looked around and said, ‘Where did this come from? Who produced it?’ And that’s a wonderful story for agriculture, generally, but particularly here in Pennsylvania, where you've got 50 million people in the neighborhood, and that is our market and our reach; so a great opportunity. Dairy has proven to be amazingly resilient. When you’re in the food system and the food system is turned upside down, there are going to be repercussions to that. It’s diversified, it’s challenged, for sure, but I still believe it’s one of the great bright spots in our future.”
The consumer’s awareness level about their food is at an all-time high, Redding says, which offers new opportunities for dairy producers.
“What has changed is the expectation of engagement with those producers. And that’s something we’ve got to continually work at. It has changed in the marketing side, the number of producers who are looking at direct marketing. I think that’s an opportunity for Pennsylvania, particularly, with our smaller herds. It’s where we can diversify further.”
With the general public eager to learn more about how their food is produced, there’s a unique opportunity for animals with Official Registered Holstein Pedigrees — cows with a documented story to tell.
“There’s value in that documentation, that verification, that authenticity that comes from genetic stock. It gets you the record of not just the sire and dam, and the history, but also it gives you some comfort that, inside all of that documentation, is an awareness level about the animal, animal care, but also the connections that animal makes, the industry makes to the larger community.”
Learn more about U.S. Registered Holsteins at Holstein usa dot com.