Don Schindler

Digital Strategy & Executive Social Media Trainer

How should you advocate for dairy farming in 2016? Check out how other dairy farmers did it in 2015.

In the most recent MyDairy newsletter, we asked dairy farmers to share how they advocated for dairy farming. The feedback back and comments were great and I’ve decided to share a few below.



Danielle Mzyk feeding calf at local Chik-Fil-A Family Night

Students Bring Dairy Farm Life to Chik-Fil-A

Danielle A. Mzyk, DVM/PhD Candidate at NC State, and several dairy  medicine focused students, a dairy science undergraduate  and a CVM veterinarian hosted a “Dairy  Day  at Chik-Fil-A” outreach event.

As a member of the 9th class of the Young Dairy Leaders Institute, I was charged with hosting an outreach event in our community. With the support of several CVM alumni, faculty, house officers and students, as well as the leaders of the Howling Cow  Dairy  Enterprise and Lake Wheeler  Dairy  Research and Teaching Farm, I brought two jersey calves to meet with the public and answer any and all questions they had about the dairy industry.

Over 100 people stopped by our booth to come take a look at the calves and talk with the future leaders of the dairy industry. We also had carnival games set up and prizes for the kids to win, as well as information, gifts and milk fact pamphlets donated from the Southeast  Dairy Association.

We have been asked by the management at several Chik-fil-a to continue this project and make it a regular occurrence!



Mary Mackinson-Faber took on 30-Day Blogging Challenge

30-Day Blog Challenge Features Over 60 Dairy Farming Women

Mary Mackinson-Faber from Mackinson Dairy, took on a 30-Day blogging challenge in November. Her blog series, Women in Dairy, started out with a goal of 25 profiles.

When the series concludes next Tuesday, Mary will have featured 61 women from all over the world. She tells us, “I am so proud of how the series has turned out.”



Freund Farm Newsletter

Positive Feedback From Local Dairy Farmer Newsletter

Amanda Freund, who helps run three different businesses (Freund’s Farm Inc., Freund’s Farm Market & Bakery and CowPots), says she got the idea of putting out a newsletter to her surrounding communities from following Jessica Ziehm at Tiashoke Farm in NY.

She writes, “The week before Thanksgiving, I sent out just under 2,500 double sided newsletters to all the physical mailing addresses (and po boxes) in our town and the 2 neighboring towns. I also uploaded the newsletter onto our website, and shared it on social media. The expense was just over $500 and I hope to make it a biannual activity.”

“Even though snail mail seems like a ‘thing of the past’ I wanted to reach the people that drive by our farm each day and open up the line of communication. Realizing how critical the support of our community is to us being able to continue to farm here, it was important that we let people know what we’re doing. We’ve received LOTS of very positive feedback from visitors to our farm market and people we see at the grocery store or bank. It was definitely a good investment for us!”


Who’s seen the Holstein?

Toy Holstein Calf Replaces “Elf on the Shelf”

Kelly Giller is the herd manager at Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company in South Woodstock, Vermont.

She writes, “A big part of my job as well as taking care of the herd has been to help our farm become transparent to our cheese customers by using social media. This was something totally new to me and has been a big learning experience. I absolutely love the dairy industry; the hard yet beneficial work as well as the great sense of community that comes from working with such great people.”

“I have been trying to learn how to interact with our customers, teaching them about what goes on everyday on our farm without being too informative. I recently launched a series of Facebook posts called “who’s seen the holstein” instead of “elf on the shelf”. I posted pictures of a toy calf in areas of the farm, as well as our creamery. This has been a fun way to teach and people have enjoyed being a part of it as well.”


Swiss Lane Centennial

Producer Grant Made Centennial Celebration a Dairy Success

Annie Link of Swiss Lane Farms writes that Swiss Lane Farms is very thankful for the producer grant that made it possible to purchase the dairy products for the Centennial Celebration this past summer. More than 600 guests visited the farm and enjoyed Mac & cheese, gourmet grilled cheese, ice cream, and milk before heading out to enjoy a hayride and pet the calves. The fun-filled night ended with a spectacular fireworks show!

Do you have a 2015 advocate story to share? You can leave it in the comments or send me at email at don.schindler at gmail.

Snap Chat, iMovie, and Dealing with Negative Comments top my 2015 posts

It’s always kinda cool to go back and see what really worked with my posts and what didn’t. Things that I think people would really want to see aren’t normally the ones that they do. And, of course, there are older posts that just seem to work in an evergreen way. I didn’t include those, just the ones I wrote this year.

Anyway, here they are.


Customers don’t care about your brand if you don’t care about them.

1. It’s not “If You’ll Be Disrupted”, it’s “When You’ll Be Disrupted” – Crowd Companies at SXSW 2015

This posts hits on the disruption of the Collaborative companies and it hit a nerve with the industry. I’ve also become a member of Jeremiah Owyang’s Crowd Companies Innovation Council and gotten to meet a lot of smart people working to disrupt not only competition but their own companies in order to figure out where the world is going. Getting to peek under the hood at AirBnB and Uber was pretty cool as well.



Ask The Farmers

2. Is dairy farming a one-sided conversation?

With this post, I spoke about how sometimes it seems that I’m on the defense when it comes to conversations about food and farmers. And I talk about how to overcome that but where to reach out to for help. Essentially, it’s about who are the dairy farmer advocates that you can rely on in the digital world and I list them out and link to them.



3. You just received a negative comment online, now what do you do?

We teach a few classes on how to handle tough questions and this post came out of that class as well as a few others. It runs down the process but also includes a helpful flowchart of how to handle a negative comment. If you treat comments like this as objectively as you can, then you can calm down your emotional response, which is extremely tough to do.


snapchat home screen

4. Show Me Your Farm in Two Seconds. How to Set Up Snapchat For Your Farm

Now I didn’t write this article because I’m not a Snap Chat user. I mean I have snap chat but none of my friends really use it (because I’m old). But Jamie, my co-worker does, and she lays out a great argument of why you should be using it (because the younger people do) and then how to set up it up.


5. How do you make a movie with the iMovie App on the iPhone 6?

I loved this post. Not because it’s a great post but I’ve had so much fun with the staff making movies on my iPhone 6. It’s so easy to do and it doesn’t take that long to do them. Why not edit out the boring parts and get right the good stuff. With iMovie, it’s not as hard as you think.

So that’s it for 2015. Can’t wait to see what rocks everyone’s world in 2016.

How to set up Periscope for you or your farm / ag business

Why would you want to do this? I give you five reasons you want to use Periscope for your farm or ag business in an article but here are the headlines.

  1. Your customers want to see real dairy farming.
  2. Your customers like farm animals and want to see them.
  3. Your customers have questions about dairy farming and you are the best person to answer them.
  4. Your customers don’t know everything you do.
  5. Your customers are new to Periscope, too.

So you’re convinced, let’s start live streaming using Periscope.

1. Download the app.

Get it for your iPhone or your Android phone.

2. Login with Twitter.


If you don’t have a Twitter profile, you’ll need to set one up. Here’s how to do it.

3. Enable Notifications.

This is entirely up to you but if you want to keep up with the live broadcast of the people you follow, you’ll need to enable this.

4. Check out the homescreen and bottom navigation.


The homepage will show you all the live broadcasts and a few of the most recent broadcasts of people you are following. This is also the TV icon at the bottom.

The world icon will show you where live broadcasts are occurring.

The video icon is what you will click to start broadcasting yourself.

The people icon is to find others who are on Periscope. Pretty simple stuff, right?

5. Touch the World Icon at the bottom.


This is where videos are currently being broadcast. You can also click the List at the top to see what’s going on.

6. Touch the List View at the top.


Touch on a video image and you’ll see the live video streaming.

There’s a few things you can do when someone else is streaming video.

You can say something to that person and they will see it in the feed.

You can double touch the video and it will give them a heart icon to know you liked the video.


I caught Kevin Hart and Ice Cube being periscoped at an amusement park in Orlando.

7. Touch the Video Icon at the bottom.


This will get you ready to start a video. Once you click on the video icon, you will see a title area, a small bit of navigation icons, and the keyboard.

You need to fill in a title for the “What are you seeing now?” You should think of this as a intriguing title to get people to touch on the video.

Once you type that out, you can touch “Start Broadcast” and you’ll be live streaming whatever you are looking at.

The other icons are:

  1. Arrow – this is to show your location.
  2. Lock – this is to show the video only to certain people.
  3. Chat – this is to allow only people you follow to chat with you.
  4. Twitter – this is to send a notification to Twitter that you are live streaming on Periscope.

8. Touch the People Icon at the bottom.


This is where you will find other people and brands to follow.

The main feed is those that are trending.

The magnifying glass at the top left is to find people you know. Let’s look for Dairy Farmer Will Gilmer. He’s been using Periscope since it launched. Just touch the magnifying glass and then type in “Will Gilmer”.


The person icon at the top right is your profile.

When you touch on the profile, you will see your profile, your following, your followers, who you’ve blocked, and how many broadcasts you have.


You can then touch on settings and you can set notifications on if someone follows you and if you want to “Autosave Broadcasts” to your camera roll.

Videos will last on Periscope for 24 hours and then will automatically delete. If you would like to know more about where your videos are, check out Periscope’s explanation.

Well, that’s it. Pretty easy, huh?

If you have any questions about it, you can always reach out to me on Twitter or Facebook or plain old email don.schindler (at)

Five reasons to use Periscope on your farm or Ag business

Periscope First thing – what is Periscope?

Periscope (winner of Apple’s 2015 app of the year) is live streaming video mobile application.

What’s live streaming video?

Live streaming video is if you want to broadcast video directly to the world live.  You know, it’s what the reporters do on sidelines of football game or weather guys in the middle of a storm. Before Periscope, you used to have do this with certain broadcasters like Ustream but now you can do it quickly through the mobile application for free.

Periscope tracks viewers and comments and if an audience member likes what they are seeing, they can send you a heart. You can talk to people in real time (they can’t talk to you but can send you messages which everyone viewing sees) and you can respond live without having to text back like Twitter.

Right now the mobile application has about 1.8 million daily viewers.

Why would you use Periscope on the farm?

1. Your customers want to see real dairy farming.

Think of this as a spontaneous farm tour. Is a calf doing something cute? How’s the milking going today? Are you moving the cows from one barn to another? These are all things that your customers would find interesting and you can show them it in real time and answer any questions they may have. It’s also a lot easier than writing everything down on Facebook.

2. Your customers like farm animals and want to see them.

I know you deal with cows all day long and when they do something funny or cute, it might not be that interesting to you. But it is to your customers. They don’t see cows very often (or ever) and to see how you interact with them or how they interact with each other is pretty cool.

3. Your customers have questions about dairy farming and you are the best person to answer them.

You are an expert at how you farm and people like to hear from experts. Even if you don’t think so, we know people trust a farmer’s opinion a lot when it comes to the health of the cows to the sustainable practices you use on the land. Be honest, be friendly and understand this is a chance to really share your knowledge on your favorite subject.

4. Your customers don’t know everything you do.

Most people familiar with ag know that farmers wear a lot of hats like (vet, mechanic, nutritionist, truck driver, heavy e equipment operator, etc…) you can show them this live. It can be tough job (even Mike Rowe says so) so let them know that you’re not doing this to get rich, you are doing this because you are passionate about your land, your animals and your family.

5. Your customers are new to Periscope, too.

This is a brand new platform (it only launched a few months ago) so you can take advantage of being on here early and probably finding new fans that are influencers in their perspective fields. Plus you could be the only farmer they know – don’t you want to be that farmer.

Next I’ll publish the “How to set up Periscope” but it’s pretty easy.

Get  Periscope on Apple or Google Play.

Have fun out there and if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask.

Digital Amnesia Epidemic; Amazon Can’t Ever Die; How Intimate is Your Brand?

All the adults are doing it. 65% of adults use social networking sites. Can you guess what that same percentage was just 10 years ago?


FB or TV? Nielson says that using Facebook alone now reaches more Millennials and Hispanics over running ads on the 10 most watched TV networks combined.


Nothing in life is guaranteed. What would happen to our books, movies and music if Amazon dies?


You’re suffering from digital amnesia. 40% of people Google info before trying to remember it and 25% of people forget the answer right after using the information.


A somewhat longer (but worth the time) talk from Todd Henry on the way we work…and what’s not working.


When people love brands…it’s because they tend to have these three qualities.

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