The following excerpt is from Raechel Kilgore Sattazahn’s blog. Sattazahn is a marketing officer with AgChoice Farm Credit and farms with her husband, Doug, and his family at Zahncroft Dairy in Womelsdorf, Pennsylvania. She blogs about ag issues at For those of you that know me, you know that Molly is our loveable, huggable one-year-old Newfoundland dog. Why am I clarifying that she is not a cow? Read on, and you’ll understand why our views on animals are increasingly blurred. I recently attended the final conference for Holstein Foundation’s Young Dairy Leaders Institute (YDLI). The conference was jam-packed with outstanding speakers, but the day-long conflict management and messaging seminar facilitated by Wes Jamison, president of Cornerstone Public Relations, LLC, had a message that hit home to me: Farm animals are not the same as companion animals.

Sattazahn raechel
Dairy Producer / Womelsdorf, Pennsylvania

Molly & cow

While this may seem like a clear-cut concept to us in agriculture, this is a huge revelation for consumers that have no ties to agriculture. As agricultural advocates, we need to recognize this disconnect and know how to combat the emotionally-tied messages that animal rights activists showcase on billboards, in books, through videos and many other means in today’s society. Like Wes Jamison outlined, our response is very straightforward. We need to:

  • Give permission for consumers to live as hypocrites

There is a difference between companion animals and farm animals and we must affirm this to consumers. In general, consumers have a high level of respect and trust towards farmers. They care what we have to say, but oftentimes, we say nothing.

  • Empower consumers to feel good about using agricultural products

Consumers want to eat a juicy hamburger and drink a wholesome glass of milk. After all, humans are omnivores and consuming these products is natural. We as farmers need to reinforce these reasons.

It may seem that these concepts are extraordinarily basic, and that’s exactly the point. There’s no need to make it more complicated. Agricultural products are good for humans, and consumers should enjoy them. PD


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