November has gone again and with it a new flood of facial hair gracing dairymen’s faces across the country. Movember, an international men’s health initiative, encourages men to grow a moustache during the month of November to draw attention to and raise research money for men’s health issues, including testicular and prostate cancer as well as mental health issues.

The power of the campaign comes from the moustache. Each moustache grown starts an estimated 36 conversations, 11 Facebook updates, 16 emails, seven phone calls and 10 tweets. The idea is to use these conversations to encourage men to schedule an appointment with a doctor to be screened.

The movement started in Australia in 2003 but has since been adopted around the world. The dairy industry took up the hairy torch last year, creating the MoDairy campaign with the help of several industry companies including Filament Marketing, Accelerated Genetics, Animart, Steel Cow and others.

Dan Ellsworth, president of Animart and a participant in the MoDairy initiative said, “We men have a tendency to just tough things out and not worry about it ’til it’s too late, and I think that’s the real value of the campaign. It takes the month to tell men that their health is important.

“Dairymen have an important role. Not only is your herd counting on you, but your wife is counting on you and your kids are counting on you. You need to take care of yourself to make sure you are there when they need you.”


This year, industry involvement ranged from a strong social media presence through Facebook and Twitter to company moustache-themed lunches and beard-growing competitions.

Animart, an animal health supplier based in Wisconsin, took up the challenge and hosted a company-wide beard-growing competition. At the end of the month, the beards were all shaved, weighed and a winner declared. The company also donated $25 to further prostate cancer research per ounce of beard.

Ellsworth said, “It’s always fun to be competitive, and we could commiserate with each other about how scratchy it was! MoDairy helps people to take a broader perspective of the world as a whole, and you can do some really good things.”

The MoDairy campaign hit the social media stage as well, hosting a “Show us your Stache” photo competition on their Facebook page, which reached more than 1,100 likes before the month was out.

More than 50 photos were submitted, and the winner gained not only satisfaction in helping a worthy cause, but a 20-by-20 Steel Cow print as well.

Contest winner Jacob Brey of Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin, shared his personal connection with this cause in his post. His father was diagnosed and cured of prostate cancer while he was in high school. This helped motivate him to get involved in MoDairy, not only taking part in the photo competition, but also donating a dollar per like to prostate cancer research for the first 100 likes his photo received.

Megan Pierce, one of the MoDairy campaign organizers, said, “Our goal was to bring as much attention to these issues as we could. We want to encourage people to set an appointment and get checked out and pay a little closer attention to the aches and pains. If we save one person’s life through this campaign because they went to the doctor sooner, it’s a win.”

Though November is over, it isn’t too late to take that step and make an appointment or encourage a loved one to make a visit to a doctor. Those who are interested in getting involved next year can also contact Megan and the Filament Marketing team for details in how to be a part of MoDairy 2015.

“At the end of the day, there are things that are bigger than business and just hitting numbers or selling products,” Ellsworth said. “Getting involved in MoDairy not only helps bring a company together, but you can do some really good things by raising awareness and money for research.” PD