by Katie Spring, Outreach & Content Specialist
In 1997, eight dairy farms got together to create Our Family Farms, a marketing co-op that sells local milk in stores across Massachusetts.
In the beginning, their milk sales grew alongside trust in the Our Family Farms brand. When the small independent processor that bottled their milk closed in 2005, things began to change. The larger processing plant that took them on didn’t segregate Our Family Farms milk and discontinued some of their products. With a lack of segregated products came a lack of clear marketing and branding. Unable to determine their products or marketing strategy, the co-op saw a decline in sales.
“We were stuck in a place where expansion was not possible,” says Angie Facey of Bree-Z Knoll Farm, a member of the co-op.
By 2020, only four member farms were left in the co-op, and the pandemic saw the loss of two more. That’s when Facey saw an opportunity to apply for grants that could reinvigorate Our Family Farms. First came the Massachusetts Food Security Infrastructure Grant (FSIG), through which she received funding for both her farm and Our Family Farms co-op to build a fluid milk processing plant at Bree-Z Knoll Farm that could handle all the co-op’s needs.
Next came the NE-DBIC Dairy Marketing & Branding Grant, which Facey applied for on behalf of Our Family Farms.
With the new processing plant bringing product control back to the co-op, they were poised to expand their product portfolio, refresh Our Family Farms’ marketing strategy, raise brand awareness, deepen brand loyalty, and increase sales. Funds from the Dairy Marketing & Branding Grant helped them do just that.
With a goal of expanding on Our Family Farms’ heritage of local, fresh, and sustainable dairy products, the co-op worked with a consultant to update their existing logo, create product sell sheets, design new packaging labels, digital product coupons, recipe cards, and produce a video that tells their story:
“Our new brand taglines encompass the new story: Local, Sustainable, & Farmstead Fresh and Farmer Owned, Farmer Made,” Facey says. “The branding and storytelling, which doubles down on the importance of supporting local dairy production, has impressed and inspired our retail accounts, and they are on board to support our growth and shelf space.”
With the combination of their own processing plant and refreshed branding and marketing strategy, Our Family Farms is excited to expand their product line to include quarts, pints, half pints of white and flavored milk, along with heavy cream and half & half, and to continue bringing farmstead fresh milk to stores across Massachusetts.
The NE-DBIC Dairy Marketing & Branding Grant opens again on April 27, 2023. Learn more about this funding here.