Organization Name: Dairy Farmers of Canada
Industry: Milk and milk products
Name of Contact: Sandra DaSilva, Assistant Director, External Communications of DFC
Web References: twitter, youtube, dairyfarmers, milkledowneffect, eatrightontario, dominos, ipetitions
Social media and digital sharing strengthens the relationships with suppliers by creating greater transparency and intensifying communication.
In order for a supply chain to run smoothly, several parties must work in harmony. Companies must remain in contact with their suppliers to ensure proper internal coordination of supply chain processes.
Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) is the national policy, lobbying and promotional organization representing Canada’s farmers living on approximately 12,000 dairy farms. DFC works to maintain policies that foster the viability of Canadian dairy farmers and promote dairy products and their health benefits. Although the organization is not a retailer, it features an element of supply chain collaboration using digital and social media which ensures quality products going to the shelves.
The DFC mission is :
“Acting as the voice of the entire community of Canadian dairy producers, DFC will foster and promote the strong and united support of producers at the grassroots level for a national system of supply management.”
The suppliers of the raw materials that the Dairy Farmers of Canada promotes are, well, cows…
However, since bovines aren’t on-line (at least not yet!), the DFC digitally connects with farmers as the top of their supply chain.
The Canada Food Guide lists “milk and its alternatives” as one of four food groups and calls for two daily servings for young children and adults, more for anyone over 50. So really, milk isn’t going anywhere. However, the DFC needs to protect its farmers (suppliers) from being outsourced by foreign imports. In May of this year, the Dairy Farmers of Canada officially launched a public relations campaign to begin a conversation and generating support for Canadian dairy farmers and the country’s supply management system.
With our country engaged in international trade negotiations, Canadian dairy farmers believe it is important to tell the story of how dairy farms contribute to building vibrant communities across the country.
The “Milkle-Down Effect” is a cleverly fabricated term that represents something very real: the impact of Canadian dairy farms on their local communities:
The benefits are vast, whether it’s sponsorship of youth sports, helping to drive community projects forward and fund local infrastructure, or generating the economic benefits of local jobs in Canadian communities. The website currently illustrates dairy farming economic stories through infographics and videos, while a social media component features farmers highlighting the Milkle-Down Effect in action in their communities.
In this one of many videos about milk producers by DFC, Tom and Kris Pettit who are dairy farmers near London, Ontario, talk about the role of their farm in their community and what products directly come from their milk:
DFC also effectively promotes its partner farmers and suppliers is by using its Twitter account to frequently post and re-tweet suppliers’ blogs, links and tips.
DFC also hosts on-line Webinars to enable greater collaboration and information sharing among suppliers. Here is a screen shot example from a DFC webinar of an expert discussing dairy animal care:
Dairy Farmers of Canada also supports category development by creating partnerships with well-known dairy products and food processors, such as single serve yogurts and pizza companies. The goal of these partnerships is generally to launch new dairy products onto the market and to develop marketing activities that support each others’ respective products. Domino’s Pizza, based out of Leamington, Ontario, announced in October 2014 a major partnership with DFC by committing to using only cheese made from 100% Canadian milk on all its pizzas and other menu items. Domino’s is the first national pizza company in Canada to have made this commitment. This announcement was shared on the DFC website (shown below with President Wally Smith (left) and Domino’s President Michael Curran), as well it continues to be shared on Domino’s website and Twitter account:
On June 18 of this year, DFC created an on-line petition using ipetitions. They want to protect their suppliers – dairy farmers – from being eyed by foreign milk suppliers via this social, interactive petition. People register via Facebook, sign the petition and then add their comment where all can see. The “Support Canadian Dairy” petition currently has 618 signatures, and the goal is set for 1,000. The petition was shared on the DFC’s Twitter account as well as by others.
In closing, Caroline Emond, DFC’s recently appointed executive director, says,
“ I am a strong believer in supply management as a tool to achieve a prosperous dairy industry in Canada. Working together, as well as maintaining and building strong alliances and partnerships, would be key to our success.”
- Integrate the use of more than one social media platform to reinforce the same message
- Using e-training and webinars allow the strengthening of relations with the market partners in the virtual space
- Promote and protect your suppliers and partners as often as you can
- Make a difference with on-line activism via digital petitions.
Submitted by: Elizabeth Cooper, SMBP Student, University of Waterloo
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