SYRACUSE, N.Y. — Two state dairy princesses, eight dairy farmers and seven professional football players teamed up for a virtual celebration with American Dairy Association North East to help 255 students enrolled in the Fuel Up to Play 60 program make the connection to the milk and dairy foods they consume at school with the farmers who produce the products.
Fuel Up to Play 60 is the national in-school wellness program – a partnership with the National Dairy Council and the National Football League – that reminds students to “fuel up” with milk and dairy foods and to get at least 60 minutes of physical activity a day.
The 255 participating students and 30 teachers from 19 school districts across the region reached “Touchdown Status,” qualifying them to participate in the hour-long virtual program. Schools score a “touchdown” by completing all required levels of the program during the school year.
“Fuel Up to Play 60 opens the door for dairy farmers to work with school food decision- makers to get milk and dairy foods on school menus,” said American Dairy Association North East CEO Rick Naczi. “Plus, we’re able to connect with 6.7 million students in 11,800 schools across our region with our positive nutrition messages by partnering with popular NFL players – it’s a winning combination.”
New York State Dairy Princess Shelby Benjamin joined dairy farmers Tyler Beck of Beck Farms, Freeville, N.Y., Josh DeBoover of DeBoover Family Farms, Phelps, N.Y., Eric Richards of Elmer Richards & Sons Dairy, Skaneateles, N.Y., and Hannah Wood of H. Wood Farms, Clayton, N.Y. The farmers were asked questions about how they care for their calves, cows and environment by NFL players Buffalo Bill Harrison Phillips, New York Jet Mekhi Becton, and New York Giant Darius Slayton.
Pennsylvania Dairy Princess Gabrielle Swavely joined Ed Facer of Star Rock Dairy, Conestoga, Pa., Matt Hoff of Coldsprings Farm, New Windsor, Md., Austin Schwartzbeck of Peace & Plenty Farm, Union Bridge, Md., and Thad Sturgeon of Camp Run Farm, Fombell, Pa. Pittsburgh Steeler Cam Heyward, former Philadelphia Eagle Jason Avant, Baltimore Raven Sam Koch, and Washington Football Team’s Terry McLaurin asked the farmers questions.
Participating in Fuel Up to Play 60 events also benefits the farmers by increasing their awareness and understanding of the value of the FUTP60 program and partnership with the NFL.
“I wholeheartedly support Fuel Up to Play 60 because it builds excitement around dairy and exercise, thanks to the NFL partnership,” said dairy farmer Thad Sturgeon. “We’re able to get positive dairy messages in schools, and when we farmers get involved, it helps the kids build a personal connection with those of us who are providing the products they need and enjoy.”
For more information about American Dairy Association and Fuel Up to Play 60, visit AmericanDairy.com, or call 315.472.9143.
–American Dairy Association North East
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