AGRICULTURE with a tourism focus can help combat the rise of animal activism and spread of misinformation about treatments and quality within the food chain.
That was part of the message from Bannister Downs managing director Sue Daubney to visitors at Dairy Information Day hosted by Ms Daubney and husband Mat at their new The Creamery operation at Northcliffe recently.
The Creamery, which Ms Daubney described as "our shiny red shed", combines a commercial dairy and milk processing and packaging plant with a tourism facility that enables visitors to view the whole process.
"As farmers and processors, the more we share the truth about what we do and what we don't do, the more our customers can understand and trust us," Ms Daubney told the dairy industry audience.
"I believe that trust is the currency of today and of the future," she said.
"I'm sure everyone here is aware of the growing interest by the general public in where our food comes from and also how the animals are looked after - the animals, the environment, the resources, the community, our employees, how they are all cared for and their well-being.
"I know first-hand we are contacted directly on a weekly basis by interested people wanting to know more and to better understand very specific queries - do we feed our cows hormones, do we use antibiotics, is our packaging recyclable, do our cows have grass year-round, and the list goes on.
"As demanding as this may seem I find it a real positive that people want to understand more about the origins of their food.
"On a bigger picture, I believe that what we have to offer with our Bannister Downs Creamery will be of benefit to the whole of dairy WA, if not Australia.
"We can dispel many of the extreme myths about animal welfare in our industry and we can also reassure the general public that what we do represents what 99.5 per cent of what all farmers are doing and that is caring for their cows, their environment and their community," she said.
Bannister Downs markets its products as "ethical dairy".