UMASH is fortunate to partner with Extension colleagues across the state in a number of areas. One colleague is Emily Wilmes, Extension Educator in Stearns,
Our approach is to work in collaboration with UMASH efforts to raise awareness about lowstress animal handling techniques, also known as stockmanship, among dairy farmers in Minnesota. Our project focuses specifically on identifying the best communication strategies, channels, and content to reach dairy farmers and agricultural media organizations to share training and educational materials.
Our project will identify how agricultural media organizations have covered stockmanship information in the past. We will also investigate the understanding of stockmanship practices among dairy farmers, attitudes towards practices, barriers to implementing practices and communication preferences for receiving information about stockmanship. This foundational research will allow us to make communication recommendations for sharing key information. As UMASH is about to release videos and has made some attempts to attract dairy farmers to trainings, this historical and ongoing work provides a foundation to build communications campaign recommendations designed specifically for rural communities and farmers. This provides an excellent opportunity to evaluate the effectiveness and potential to leverage communication to increase dialogue about these issues.