Advocating within your wheelhouse

Posted on July 19, 2022 in Dairy Performance
Heather Jauquet is passionate about sharing her dairy story with the local community and beyond. During her presentation at the Vita Plus Midwest Dairy Conference, Jauquet shared examples of leveraging her networks and finding effective ways to share her farm’s story.

Refuel with chocolate milk
Jauquet, her husband, Jay, and her parents own and operate Synergy Family Dairy in Pulaski, Wisconsin. Jauquet’s primary role on the farm is herdswoman. She is also a mother to three active sons, which brought her into Pulaski’s very large youth soccer program.

Jauquet said, like many youth sports programs, parents were asked to provide snacks and drinks for the teams throughout the soccer season. Jauquet cringed when she saw sugary sports drinks and thought, “We need to get these kids chocolate milk instead.”

She signed up to bring chocolate milk for the kids the first week of June in hopes the idea would catch on and parents would continue doing it throughout the summer. Needing extra hands to cover all the different teams, Jauquet invited her sons’ 4-H club to help the following year, and she partnered with a local Kwik Trip to provide the milk in the third year.

Jauquet said she started to collaborate with her county’s dairy promotion committee, which supported this project as well.

“If you don’t have a county dairy promotion committee, I really recommend you look into starting one,” Jauquet said, as it can be a great resource for funds and ideas.

Celebrity calf
In the spring of 2020, as the dairy industry was shocked by the COVID-19 pandemic, Jauquet said she had a lot of anxiety as news spread about farms forced to dump their milk. One day, she had a conversation with her farm’s milk hauler and he mentioned their milk was being diverted from its usual cheese plant to be made into mozzarella for frozen pizzas at a plant across the state.

Jauquet did some more investigating and learned the cheese was landing atop Brew Pub Lotzza Motzza Pizza – a favorite brand in the Jauquet household. It just so happened, Synergy Family Dairy had a cow named Pepperoni that was due to calve soon. Jauquet reached out to Brew Pub Pizza and said she would name Pepperoni’s calf Lotzza Motzza.

The Brew Pub team was thrilled and sent their spokesperson, Motzza Matt, to the farm to meet Lotzza Motzza and again to celebrate her first birthday. When she calved in, Brew Pub launched a naming contest for Lotzza Motzza’s calf and Lady Zza Zza was selected from thousands of entries.

Jauquet said it has been a great experience to work with Motzza Matt and the Brew Pub team as the partnership continues.

Social media
While Lotzza Motzza the cow seems to love the spotlight, Jauquet is less comfortable with it. She said she admires the agricultural advocates with a big social media presence, but she knows it’s not the right fit for her.

“I like to be in my own little corner of the world and that’s OK,” Jauquet said.

She does manage a Facebook page for the farm. Right now, she uses it for both consumer education and to promote the farm’s genetics. She plans to split the two down the road. Last Christmas, the farm introduced “12 Calves of Christmas” on Facebook by posting photos of newborn calves in December and sharing information about their care.

Jauquet said she is a bit afraid of the day one of her posts goes viral and how to manage that, so she has connected with a “social media expert” who can help when that day comes.

Connecting with kids
Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin (DFW) asked Jauquet and Synergy Family Dairy to participate in the “Adopt a Cow” program, administered by the Center for Dairy Excellence, for the 2020-21 school year. Three of their calves were introduced to 500 classrooms throughout Wisconsin. Jauquet said it didn’t require a lot of time; she simply needed to provide photos and updates to the Center and they took care of the distribution.

When the farm hosted a virtual tour at the end of the school year, Jauquet was floored by the questions and interest of students and teachers. She then worked with DFW to coordinate an in-person meet-and-greet at the Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center. Jauquet said 250 kids and parents showed up to meet the calves in person. She smiled as she recalled the kids’ excitement and joy.

She said, “It was just amazing to see the bonds the kids had formed with their calves.”

Advice for others
Jauquet recommended her fellow dairy producers think about the messages that “get your blood boiling or your heart fluttering.” Work with local youth programs, school districts, county dairy promotion committees, milk processors and businesses. Leverage these connections and don’t be afraid to borrow ideas from other advocates and organizations to share your farm’s message with the community.

“Become confident in sharing your story about that one thing,” Jauquet said. “Only you are qualified to share your unique story!”

Click here to download Jauquet’s PowerPoint presentation from the 2022 Vita Plus Midwest Dairy Conference.

Category: Business and economics
Dairy Performance