Mooving with the times

The Thai-Danish Dairy Farm is almost 50 years old and has big plans to rebrand itself as a ‘city of fun’ for a new generation of visitors. After nearly half a century of supplying raw milk to the country, the state-run Dairy Farming Promotion Organisation (DPO) wants a change of image by reinventing its brand.

 Since its establishment in early 1962, the organization, the main player in the country’s raw milk production and Thai-Danish dairy products, is undergoing its first-ever major overhaul of its brand and marketing strategies.

 “We are a state-owned enterprise struggling on limited funding, so we have done little marketing to date,” Niwes Chatiyanonda, the DPO’s head of marketing, said.

 The DPO will celebrate its 50th anniversary on Jan 17, which also marks the day on which the National Dairy Cow Festival is held.

 The Thai-Danish Dairy Farm was established with assistance from the Government of Denmark and jointly inaugurated by His Majesty the King and Prince Frederick IX of Denmark on Jan 16, 1962.

 In 1971, the facility was handed over to the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives and became a state enterprise with the official name of the Dairy Promotion Organisation of Thailand.

 The unit runs a dairy cattle farm, better known as the Thai-Danish Dairy Farm, located on 2,700 Rai of land in Muak Lek district of Saraburi province.

 The Thai-Danish Dairy Farm turned itself into a tourist attraction early this year by offering eco- and agro-tourism with an outdoor leisure experience which has so far attracted about 1,500 visitors every month.

 Before that, most visitors to the farm were milk buyers, dairy farmers or groups of people from educational institutes.

 Now, the farm offers visitors a range of themed adventure activities, a guided sightseeing tour, a milking and roping demonstration, mountain climbing, bird watching and even a stargazing tour. It also has a museum showing the history of Thailand’s dairy and milk farming.

 It has become known as the country’s first model dairy farm and first commercial dairy producer which has provided training and produced generation after generation of skilled milk farmers.

 With its lush picture-perfect landscape, the ranch has also provided a setting for several television soap operas. Now, the enterprise wants to capitalise on its natural surroundings.

 As part of the DPO’s plans to freshen up its image, it is building a “city of fun” at the farm.

 Noppadol Tunvichian, the DPO’s deputy director and acting director, said he has proposed a 2 billion baht “eco-friendly, cowboy-themed city” to pull in a diverse range of visitors.

 The project will transform the farm’s vast front grounds into a cowboy-culture town.

 Located not far from it will be a European and movie-themed town, according to the projects’s initial master plan.

 “Visitors can enjoy, for instance, an eclectic array of eateries; take a stroll through shopping streets where only the best locally produced goods are sold; or even fill up their cars at the towns’ own petrol station,” Mr Noppadol said.

 “We will also have Danish-style villas so visitors can go on relaxing countryside breaks.”

 The agency has hired an architectural firm to design a themed plan for the project.

 Mr Noppadol said a few private investors have shown an interest and he expects a five-fold increase in the number of visitors once the development is completed.

 The enterprise’s core business would remain focused on selling milk products, while the project would reinforce the Thai-Danish milk brand image and enable the organisation to implement diverse sales promotion activities.

 The agency is proud of the exceptional quality of its farm-fresh milk products, but admits it is not yet widely known among the general public.

 “We remain committed to using 100% fresh cow milk, no powdered milk, as we have been doing for almost 50 years,” Mr Noppadol said.

 He insisted the new image being rolled out will not overshadow the reputation of the enterprise as the country’s pioneering milk producer.

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