Dairy Australia is leading the response to changing consumer expectations for the dairy industry and its products by launching a proactive new approach to communications this month.
The Dairy Matters communications approach will highlight the industry's values and standards and demonstrate an understanding of public expectations and values.
Dairy Australia's Glenys Zucco said the new approach moved beyond simply promoting dairy's nutritional value.
"The community's approval and trust is key to the long-term sustainability of the industry," Ms Zucco said.
"We know more than ever before consumers are exposed to a range of views on the health of dairy products and opinion of the industry.
"We need to be on the front foot, and ensure that our consumers are exposed to credible and transparent information about the health of dairy and our commitment to doing the right thing as an industry.
"Our new approach to communications does exactly that -- provide our most engaged consumers with information they need to make informed opinion of industry."
Starting this month, Australians will see ads featuring three dairy farmers on their televisions, at the cinema and on the web, which promote the industry's values and commitments.
The ads will focus on core themes including environment, health and nutrition.
To support this advertising, a new website — dairymatters.com.au — has been developed to provide a central source of credible information about dairy.
The centrepiece of the new website is the 'You Ask, We Answer' functionality, which uses the latest research and expert opinions to answer questions about the issues consumers care about.
The website will explain why certain practices are used on farm, how farmers care for our animals, why dry conditions are affecting farmers, and how farmers care for the environment.
It will address sources of confusion on dairy and health, and answer other frequently asked questions on farming, processing and products.
In addition to having access to readily available answers on a range of questions, consumers will be able to submit new questions.
Farmer support Gippsland dairy farmer Lauren Finger said Dairy Australia's new campaign was good news for farmers.
"The population is becoming more and more concentrated in the city, increasing the gap in understanding of where our food comes from and how it is produced," she said.
"These days, less and less people grow up on farms, so the basic things farmers take for granted need to be explained.
"It's really important that consumers understand what we as farmers do and how we do it ù and even more importantly, why we do it.
"The industry's social licence to operate is essential — without it, we haven't got an industry, and I don't have a business."
The launch of the Dairy Matters communications approach and website will be accompanied by a comprehensive engagement program with key health influencers including dietitians and GPs, drawing from the latest consumer research.
Farmers can access Dairy Matters communications resource kits including key messages, channels and frequently asked questions through their local Regional Development Program from late March.
Farmers can also access the website at dairymatters.com.au.