This program is made possible through a grant from the Massachusetts Dairy Promotion Board.
The objective will be to create a youth ambassador program across the Commonwealth consisting of 4-H dairy cattle and dairy goat youth who are led by committed 4-H volunteer leadership teams. The ambassadors, with the help of their volunteer leaders, will schedule events at their local schools and at community events to raise the awareness of the importance of the dairy industry in the Commonwealth and the benefits of local milk and milk products.
Program Recruitment and Training
The initial ambassador recruitment will be held at the MA 4-H Dairy Cattle and Dairy Goat Academy on May 21-22, 2016. A follow-up session will be held in June 2016. Successful candidates will be selected through an interview process. Key factors that the youth must possess are dairy knowledge, speaking ability, and organization. There will be a one-day communication and leadership training offered to the youth ambassadors in high school and college. This training will help equip these future leaders of the dairy industry with information to share with the public. Youth will meet with professionals who play different but very important roles in the dairy industry. For example, local dairy farmers, food science and nutritionists, agricultural advocates, bloggers and journalist will be part of the program. The ambassadors will share their knowledge and experience by communicating the stories of dairy farmers with the public.
The goal of this program is to grow the young ambassadors both professionally and personally. The training sessions are aimed at helping them refine their communication and leadership skills, so the youth become comfortable speaking with anyone – consumers, peers and individuals unfamiliar with dairy production – both in-person and online about dairy farming and dairy products. This is only the beginning, because additional training sessions will be offered throughout the year and all dairy ambassadors will be tasked with promoting and making dairy visible in their communities and across Massachusetts. The ambassadors will be present at local events and visible throughout the state, attending such events as Ag Day in Boston, Eastern States Exposition in the Milk Booth, and Dairy Days.
This project is important because as we face the pressure on our natural resources from feeding the Commonwealth’s population; agriculture needs a stronger chorus of voices to tell its story effectively. This program will train, empower and support the industry’s most promising young leaders.