Faces of NYCM: Employees Share Ways to Support Farms During National Dairy Month - NYCM Insurance Blog

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Jun 14, 2021

Faces of NYCM: Employees Share Ways to Support Farms During National Dairy Month

NYCM Insurance knows that the significance of dairy farms cannot be overstated.

We are proud supporters of several dairy and farming initiatives in our local community. Not only was NYCM Insurance founded by a group of farmers who came together after one farmer lost everything in a fire over 120 years ago, but farming families still make up a large part of our employee base today. American dairy farms provide critical resources and incomes to thousands of rural families.  Unfortunately, because of supply and demand imbalance, we are starting to see a lot of those farms disappear. According to the National Farmers Union, between 1992 and 2018, over 94,000 family dairy farms closed their doors. We sat down to talk with NYCM employees with farming backgrounds to learn more about how we can support our local dairy farming community. Continue reading to learn more!


The Importance of Dairy Farms

Dairy farms have been a cornerstone of American agriculture for decades. Family-run dairy farms have a massive impact, not only on our food system but in both our global and local economies. Millions of people across the world rely on dairy products as a source of vitamin D, calcium, and protein. In addition to the nutritional impacts dairy farms have, it’s important to note that thousands of rural communities rely on dairy farms to provide a source of income for local families. Studies indicate that the dairy industry accounts for $628 billion dollars in economic impact of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP). According to the National Farmers Union, the industry has created almost 3 million U.S. jobs, which has generated nearly $159 billion in wages.


However, the rising trend for finding dairy alternatives coupled with an oversaturated market means that farmers are finding it more and more difficult to turn a profit, making it less and less likely that the business will survive with each passing year. The National Farmers Union also reported that “over the past decade, the average dairy farm net income was negative in all but one year.”


Continue reading below for ways that you can support your local dairy farms.


Shop Direct

Kathleen Tyler of our Customer Experience Team says she is proud to live on Sunny Acres alongside her husband Lester, who has owned the dairy farm since 1973. Sunny Acres Swiss Farm is a 500 acre dairy farm and is home to over 300 Brown Swiss cows. Lester is known for his Brown Swiss cows that are among the nation’s best for breeding and testing. Lester has even been featured by the Museum of Brown Swiss in Wisconsin for his top-quality cows and breeding. When asked what someone could do if they wanted to support their local dairy farms, Kathleen had this to share, “The number one thing we encourage people to do is shop direct. If you are able to shop from your local farms directly, it makes all the difference in the world.”


When you buy directly from a local farm, you are able to eliminate the middleman charges for both you and the farmer.  “The best part about shopping directly from the farm is that you know exactly where your food is coming from and you can taste the difference in quality.”


Check Your Product Labels

Jodi Hawes of our Underwriting team grew up on a dairy farm not too far from our headquarters in Edmeston. “My family farm had about 120 Holstein cows which was a lot at the time. Farming is a great life, and I’ve developed many life skills because of it. Team work, science, math, and of course, work ethic are all things I learned early on because of farming.”  If you are looking to support your local dairy farm, but the ones around you don’t sell directly, Jodi says that you can still support local farms even when shopping at the grocery stores. Often grocery stores will carry products from nearby farms, you just need to look at the labels on your products to see where your product is coming from. For example, every state is assigned a Federal Information Processing Standards code, or FIPS code. If you notice a “36” on your milk carton, that means your milk is coming from a plant in New York State!  You might also consider checking out your local farmers markets as farmers will often set up booths to sell meat, produce, and other products.


Advocate for Dairy Products

One of the most impactful things that you can do for a local dairy farm is to advocate for dairy products and incorporate them into your everyday lives! With millions of people turning to dairy alternatives, and widespread misinformation on the internet, it can be difficult for farmers to address the stigma that dairy products sometimes receive. Stephanie Bader of our Brand Management Team suggests taking to social media to help advocate for your favorite dairy products - think milk, ice cream, yogurt and cheese! “Share recipes with friends, tag farms on social media when shopping their products - or if they don’t use social media, give them a shoutout and let friends know where to get their products, and advocate to others in your community about the importance of incorporating dairy products into everyday life.” Your efforts just might help to bring awareness to products and help your local farmers.


Supporting your local farms can be a fun and easy way to improve your family’s wellness routine as well! Check out the link below to learn more about building sustainable nutrition into your everyday life!