BOSTON — Dairy farmer leaders representing six northeastern states voted last week to approve the 2018 budget and program proposals for New England Dairy Promotion Board (NEDPB) and New England Dairy & Food Council (NEDFC). The action to approve the $5.5 million budget came at the annual meeting of the two companies that develop and carry out promotion, education and research programs in New England on behalf of dairy farmers. The meeting was held November 9 and 10 at Killington Resort in Killington, VT.
“Our annual meeting brings dairy farmers from all over New England and New York together to hear about our dairy promotion successes, discuss challenges and share ideas to increase demand for New England dairy products,” said Jennifer Karl, CEO for NEDPB and NEDFC.
Highlights from the organizations two main initiatives were presented to dairy farmers – the nationwide school wellness initiative, Fuel Up to Play 60, created by the National Dairy Council and National Football League, and Must Be The Milk, a New England focused marketing campaign to educate consumers about dairy.
“Many people are further away from the farm than ever before. As a dairy farmer, Fuel Up to Play 60 and Must be The Milk are instrumental programs towards creating the next generation of healthy dairy consumers and helping them make a connection to where their food comes from,” said Heidi Dolloff, Chairperson for NEDPB and NEDFC. “Fuel Up to Play 60 encourages youth to consume dairy and get at least 60 minutes of physical activity every day. Must be The Milk campaign helps consumers understand the long-term value and importance of local dairy farms in sustaining a local food supply, a strong community and a healthy environment.”
Fuel up to Play 60 is the leading school wellness program in the country with over 74,000 participating schools nationwide, including more than 3,600 schools in New England.
Must be The Milk outreach includes farm tours, events, videos featuring New England dairy farmers, social media, a blog where people can learn more about dairy agriculture, dairy recipes and an e-newsletter.
“I’m excited to lead our team as we continue to promote nutrient-rich milk and dairy products in schools and also educate New Englanders about dairy farming and the value dairy farms bring to our region,” said Karl.
Dairy farmers also heard from Amy Wagner, Executive Vice President of Global Innovation Partnerships and Mark Leitner, Executive Vice President of Youth Wellness at Dairy Management, Inc. (DMI).
Wagner reported the long-term trajectory of per capita dairy consumption remains on a positive path thanks to the checkoff’s work. A great example is DMI’s work with partners, including McDonald’s, Domino’s, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. She said since the start of DMI’s partnerships, dairy sales have grown a combined 25 percent at those companies.
Beyond sales, Leitner said the need to continue growing consumer trust is equally important to the dairy industry’s future.
The key to building trust is educating consumers who want more information about where their food comes from. They want to know about nutrients, they want to know their food is responsibly produced and locally sourced, and they want delicious taste and enjoyment.
Leitner said the Undeniably Dairy campaign, launched earlier this year, will help set the record straight and build trust. Most recently as part of this effort, DMI launched Discovery Education to reach students in the classroom with Undeniably Dairy messaging and materials. Students will take part in a virtual farm tour where they’ll hear from farmers on how they are stewards of their land and animals. Leitner added that more than 1,900 schools participated in the first day alone.
The Undeniably Dairy effort was created by DMI and supported by the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, a forum that leverages the collective power of the dairy community to address the expectations of consumers through shared best practices and accountability.
“We are excited to see this industrywide collaboration is already making a difference, with 170 companies actively engaged in telling dairy’s story.” said Leitner.
At the conclusion of the annual meeting, the board of directors elected the following officers: Chair, Heidi Dolloff of Springfield, VT; Vice Chair, Paul Doton of Barnard, VT; Secretary, Debora Erb of Landaff, NH and Treasurer, Sherry Ouellette of Bridport, VT. Elected to the board’s executive committee are Heidi Dolloff of Springfield, VT; Paul Doton of Barnard, VT; Debora Erb of Landaff, NH; James Jacquier of East Canaan, CT; Warren Nop of Middlebury, VT; Sherry Ouellette of Bridport, VT; Robin Sweet of Cambridge, VT.
New England Dairy Promotion Board (NEDPB) is the local affiliate of the American Dairy Association, which conducts sales promotions and marketing programs on behalf of local dairy farmers. New England Dairy & Food Council (NEDFC) is a non-profit nutrition education organization staffed by registered dietitians. NEDFC is a state and regional affiliate of the National Dairy Council® (NDC). The two organizations share a Board of Directors comprised of local dairy farmers and work jointly to increase demand for New England dairy products.
–New England Dairy & Food Council
New England Dairy Promotion Board
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