Q&A with a twelfth-generation dairy farmer who was interviewed by FOX CT television for June Dairy Month. Melissa Greenbacker grew up on her family’s dairy, Greenbacker Dairy Farm. Hartford-based television station FOX CT recently invited her into the studio for a live interview. How did your interview with FOX CT come about? I was invited by someone from the TV station to come in to the studio for a live interview to talk about June being National Dairy month. I had about 24 hours notice.

He requested that I bring some products in for the interviewers to try. Since we are members of AgriMark/Cabot Cooperative, I brought some cheese in.

Why did you consent to do the interview?
Anytime I have the opportunity to promote dairy products or to educate the public about dairy farming, I believe it is important for me to do it.

Were you nervous before it? What did you do to prepare?
I am always a little nervous before any interview, even though I have had some media spokesperson training through DMI and AgriMark. I prayed about it, then I contacted a marketing person at Cabot to let them know I was going to do the interview.

I also called DMI and they helped me prepare by doing a mock interview over the phone. I did prepare for some negative questions but I was not asked any.


Have you done other interviews before?
I have talked with newspaper and TV reporters before, although this was my first time in a TV studio. I also did a radio interview once. Many of the interviews were about the dairy legislation we wanted to get passed in Connecticut.

I also have been interviewed when a reporter wanted to do an informational story about our farm. I also show cows at fairs and have been interviewed by reporters then.

What was most surprising to you about the interview?
How quickly five minutes goes by! When I heard the interview would be five minutes I wondered how I would fill the time up. But it was over quickly.

What was the most difficult question you had to answer?
The questions were not that difficult because I was asked about me, my farm, and our products. I could answer the questions confidently.

Were you satisfied with the interview? If not, why and how could you have influenced it otherwise?
Since it was a live interview, there was no editing. I do wish I could have talked more about the nutritional benefits of eating dairy products, and of the importance of supporting local dairy farms.

Have you made any new connections or had any interesting experiences as a result of the interview?
I did get to meet the weatherman, Joe Furey, who mentioned on air that he loves to use Cabot cheese in one of his favorite recipes.

I was the last segment on the program, so when the interview was over, cameramen, reporters, engineers and others came out to get cheese samples. I gave away all of the cheese I brought with me. I hope I helped get some new Cabot consumers.

What advice would you have for other dairy producers who may be doing interviews?
If they have the opportunity, take advantage of any media training programs that are offered by cooperatives or organizations such as Farm Bureau.  PD

Melissa Greenbacker with her cow Fudge Swirl. Photo courtesy of Connecticut Farm Bureau.