Kleckner Award Winner Passionate About Telling the Dairy Story

Gina Gutierrez started finding her voice in May of 2015. Thats when she decided that as a dairy farmer, she needed to talk to people about the importance of dairy in the diet, and share information to offset those who have an agenda to eliminate the dairy industry. She created the Facebook page La Vida Lctea, which is currently nearing 30,000 seguidors.

In mid-October, Gina will be celebrated as the twelfth premi Kleckner winner for the work she has done communicating and advocating for agriculture. A few weeks after that, shes headed back to Rome to share her voice in another global discussion about nutrition. Last year she was at the table, representing private industry, in talks set up by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization.

Gina is a 5º generation dairy farmer from central Mexico. She works with her father, a veterinarian who is in charge of animal health and nutrition and her brother, un agrònom, qui té cura dels conreus. Gina manages the finances of the 420 lactis de vaca. This includes purchasing. In that role, she has a strong understanding of the big picture, the impact of trade barriers and how the business can be hurt when misinformation is circulated.

Since participating in the 2016 Taula Rodona Global Farmer and joining the GFN, Gina has begun writing articles for two Mexican dairy magazines and has completed a Masters Degree in Corporate Law. Shes able to see the connection between anti-dairy activists and global nutrition. Anti-dairy groups may interfere with kids drinking milk by scaring people, especially parents. By doing this, theyre affecting the kids intellectual and physical development because without animal protein, the body doesnt work the same. Milk is a food designed by nature, loaded with nutrition. A well-nurtured childhood is a game changer, so access to safe, affordable food is key to a better future, says Gutierrez.

Gina was presented the Kleckner Award by Mary Boote and GFN Chairman Reg Clause.

She says the anti-dairy agenda isnt a big problem in Mexico YET, because people are starving here and theyd rather buy a liter of milk for $1 US than shell out $5 for some plant based juice. But, Gutierrez says, the fact that more of that kind of thing is coming to the market to serve higher income people causes a rise in food prices all around.

Gina has decided to stop engaging in debates directly with the activists and talk instead to regular consumers. She talks about things like animal care. It takes healthy cows to produce good milk. We give them plenty of food and lots of water. We make sure they receive enough rest. When theyre pregnant we perform ultrasounds to make sure everything is OK. You might say our cows have their own gynecologists. Pediatricians like to say that the first one thousand days of life for human children are critical. We focus similar attention on our calves to start them healthy and strong. I make sure our inventories are well stocked and up to date so we can follow a nutritional plan designed by my father and use the feed crops grown by my brother.

Georgina Gina Gutierrez will receive the 2018 Kleckner Award presented by the Global Farmer Network on Tuesday, octubre 16 a Des Moines, Iowa at a dinner hosted by the Global Farmer Network Foundation. The award is given annually since 2007 and recognizes a global farmer who exemplifies strong leadership, vision and resolve in advancing the rights of all farmers to choose the technology and tools that will improve the quality, quantity and availability of agricultural products around the world. It was established to honor Dean Kleckner, Chairman Emeritus of the organization. Previous award recipients are Rosalie Ellasus, Filipines (2007); Jeff Bidstrup, Austràlia (2008); Jim McCarthy, Irlanda (2009), Gabriela Creu, Portugal (2010); Gilbert arap Bor, Kenya (2011) Rajesh Kumar, Índia (2012) V. Ravichandran, Índia (2013), Ian Pigott, Regne Unit (2014), Lydia Sasu, Ghana (2015), Maria Beatriz Pilu Giraudo, Argentina (2016) and Motlatsi Musi, Sud-Àfrica (2017).

Happy cows are healthy cows at the Gutierrez dairy farm in Central Mexico.