Being on the front foot rather than reacting to negative messages about food and farming would help the industry fight militant anti-farming activists more effectively.
It was a common theme running throughout the NFU 2018 conference, with many farmers sharing their experiences of online abuse.
Welsh dairy farmer Abi Reader said was often accused of ‘enslavement and being a rapist and murderer’ by social media extremists and called on the industry to join forces to dispel myths and educate the public and young people consistently about farming methods.
However, despite the abuse directed at the dairy industry there was little evidence it was affecting people’s attitudes at the point of purchase.
Rebecca Miah, AHDB, said the levy board’s ‘The Department of Dairy Related Scrumptious Affairs’ campaign, which has been placed on social media and advertised on on-demand TV services, was resonating with millennials.
Speaking in the dairy breakout session, she said: “Dairy has a 98 per cent penetration in UK diets and it is about protecting that.
“We also need to target new parents who increase their dairy purchases for their children’s health, but then neglect their own diets. Social media has a role to play in that.”