Annual American Dairy Associations & Dairy Council (ADADC) meetings are being held across New York, Northern New Jersey and Northeastern Pennsylvania, providing an opportunity for dairy farmers to get together, socialize, have a free hearty meal and catch up on information about where their check off dollars have gone to work.
ADADC, a non-profit corporation funded and directed by checkoff dollars from approximately 9,000 dairy farm families, has recently consolidated their organization with Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association and Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program, becoming part of a new organization, American Dairy Association and Dairy Council Northeast (ADANE).
ADANE is supported by over 13,500 dairy farmers in the northeast through dairy checkoff programs and are responsible for promoting dairy and its nutritional benefits to the 50 million consumers in that region, including Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and part of northern Virginia.
Beth Meyer, Vice President of Communications, spoke at the District 9 meeting, and said the consolidation is a “win-win for farmers,” as the merging of staff allows the team to take advantage of the innovative, promotional programming featured in each individual organization. She cited the ‘Fill a Glass with Hope campaign’ as one of those programs. Another is the Fuel Up to Play 60.
“We’re excited to see further depth in our Fuel Up to Play 60 programming, which helps secure milk and other dairy products’ position in schools — and in the work that staff is doing communicating your stories to the public.” Meyer said ADANE offers additional support for farmers to tell their stories.
District 9 Director, Audrey Donahoe said the merging of the three organizations has created an ability to make a powerful impact on strategies strengthening dairy’s influence to over the 50 million consumers. “My favorite program that farmers fund is the Fuel Up To Play 60 program, that has grown to an extremely successful level,” said Donahoe. “I have always said that it is second nature for a farmer to care, we care about our cows, we care about our land and community and of course we care about our children. They are our future consumers and leaders and we want them to have a good experience with milk and dairy products. Farmers Fuel Up To Play 60 program has the ability to do just that with our strong partnership with the NFL. We have developed a program that encourages school kids to eat healthy, along with including dairy in their diets, and to exercise everyday. The best part is that the program is fun for kids!”
Donahoe was recently appointed to the Fluid Milk Advisory Committee, which is a national committee established to address the decline of fluid milk sales and consumption. “Our goal is to explore all the options we have to try to regain the fluid milk category through innovation, leveraging with our partners we have established in the food industry — and of course looking at any potential areas that may benefit the farmer in increasing fluid milk sales. As a farmer-funded and farmer-run program we always take into consideration what will be the best return for farmers investment in check off programs,” remarked Donahoe.
Herkimer County Dairy Princess Ellie Ainslie commented on the newly formed organization.
“Herkimer County Dairy Promotion, along with Otsego County Dairy Promotion, had the honor of attending the district ADANE meeting on October 19th,” said Ainslie. “Herkimer and Otsego counties worked together to serve milk punch and other appetizers that included dairy in the recipe. The ADANE update was extremely informative — explaining all the projects that the organization is working on to help promote dairy sales. Some of the areas that ADANE focused on were ‘Telling Your Story’, in which they encouraged farmers to take to social media and other forms of communicating with the public in order to educate and inform people what really goes on a dairy farm — and the importance of dairy farming. Along with ‘Telling Your Story’ ADANE has partnered with fast food chains such as McDonalds, Taco Bell, Pizza Hut, and Domino’s to encourage the restaurants to use real dairy products in their menus to increase milk sales. ADANE is working hard to support dairy farms!”
A major goal of ADANE is to discover effective ways to increase milk consumption through the Dairy Princess Program.
Former New York State Dairy Princess Emma Andrew is now an ADADC Industry Relations Specialist.
Andrew spoke to attendees at the District 5 meeting about marketing done by ADADC, promoting milk to compete with other beverages. “This is one way we use your check off dollars.” Andrew encouraged attendees to use social media to promote dairy. “I like to say Vegans never sleep because they are hungry,” Andrew joked. “In social media, they troll all night long, so we have to do the same thing! We don’t want to spend all of our energy competing with them, but we want to be ahead of them.” Andrew said that the ADANE has dairy media programs for dairy farmers to get involved in.
Meyer commented on the new ‘Driving Dairy Discussions’ workshops that are taking place in November, and said these workshops “prepare dairy spokespeople to lead positive conversations about tough issues, such as GMOs, alternative beverages, and hormones or antibiotics in milk.”
“Through the Driving Dairy Discussions trainings, dairy farmers and dairy professionals can help build consumer confidence by initiating influential conversations to increase understanding and support for the dairy industry. As a dairy farmer, you have a powerful story,” said Meyer. “We want to help you share it. Today, few Americans have a connection to food and milk production. With less than two percent of the population feeding the United States and millions throughout the world; telling your story can help your neighbors and community better understand the dairy industry and its important impact.”
District 5 Director Terri Phillips-Nelson says it is important for the dairy farmers to be involved.
“We are sending money to this program and you should know how the board is spending it,” remarked Phillips-Nelson. “It is a good thing that everyone is understanding on how and where your promotion dollars are spent. Every member of the board is a dairy farmer and looking for guidance and ideas on how to get the health benefits of dairy products to the consumer.”
Upcoming workshops are scheduled for Nov. 15 in Syracuse, NY, and Nov. 17 in the state of Maryland. For more information, or to register, contact Amy Yeiser Leslie at 410-353-2418 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
“I’d really like to encourage everyone to take advantage of the trainings we offer to help farmers feel more comfortable sharing their stories,” said Meyer. “We encourage you to contact us, or any other board members with questions or concerns you may have.” Region chairs are; Richard Byma, Chairman, American Dairy Association and Dairy Council Inc.; Vernon Horst, Chairman, Mid-Atlantic Dairy Association; and Jeff Raney, Chairman, Pennsylvania Dairy Promotion Program.