The next generation of young farmers is making its presence known around the northeast, and the American Dairy Association is seeing a large turnout of these youth at annual meetings.
Recently, during the District 9 meeting at the Tally Ho Restaurant in Richfield Springs, NY, dairy princesses and court members representing three counties served delicious concoctions made by their own hands to attendees.
Herkimer County Dairy Princess Connie Frasier and Otsego Court Dairy Princess Megan Wilmont and Court members were joined by Montgomery County Dairy Princess Laura Littrell to share and serve appetizers, and report on events they had taken part in to promote the dairy industry over the past year.
“This is a great event to keep the producers, princesses and courts updated on how important the American Dairy Association is to the public and the producers,” commented Frasier. “It’s nice to have three counties represented at our annual meeting! Programs like this American Dairy Association North East help promote unity for the dairy industry.”
American Dairy Association North East Chief Financial Officer Joanne Tills presented information to attendees, updating them on new programs being developed and changes benefiting producers.
“Our programs work on behalf of dairy farmers to build demand and sales of milk and dairy products, and to bolster the image of dairy foods and dairy farmers,” said Tills.
Driving Dairy Discussions is one program implemented helping producers to tackle questions from the public.
“Dairy farmers are the most credible spokespersons to help today’s consumers understand modern dairy farming,” said Tills. “We offer workshops and resources to help farmers and dairy advocates to enter positive conversations to help consumers better understand where food comes from.”
ADADC, Inc. District 9 Director Audrey Donahoe says having farmers at programs and events allows the public put a face to the farmer, and gives farmers an opportunity to answer consumer questions about farming practices.
“We want to be in front, and first in the social media arena to make sure it is the farmer telling our story and not someone else inaccurately telling it for us!”
“Refuel With Chocolate Milk” has tagged onto the “Fuel Up to Play 60.”
“There is a difference between the ‘Fuel Up to Play 60’ and the ‘Refuel With Chocolate Milk’ programs,” explained Donahoe “Our ‘Fuel Up to Play 60’ is based on children and encouraging them to eat healthy and exercise for 60 minutes every day. It’s based on the health and wellness of children.”
Donahoe said the “Fuel Up” has proven to be an extremely successful program for dairy farmers.
“‘Refuel With Chocolate Milk’ is gauged for all ages. Specifically, we encourage athletes to ‘refuel’ their bodies with nutrient rich and delicious milk after exercising and/or competing, to replenish their bodies.”
ADADC participates in a variety of sports to encourage this program.
“Both programs are successful for the farmers because they both encourage the consumption and increase of sales in milk and dairy products,” remarked Donahoe.
Tills reported on other school programs in place, promoting dairy.
“Schools are a great opportunity to not only sell milk, cheese and yogurt, but to help kids create healthy eating habits. School breakfast and other programs are increasing consumption of dairy in schools and through summer meals programs.”
The ‘Farm-to-Table’ program in grocery stores has also boosted dairy sales.
“With retail marketing, creating the best dairy shopping experience for retail customers increases dairy sales,” said Tills. “Our ‘dairy aisle reinvention’ program and store audits draw shoppers’ attention to dairy items and create sales. The Farm-to-Table program adorns the dairy aisle with photos of real dairy farm families to make the connection between the milk consumers buy and the farmers who provide it.”
Donahoe says dairy farmers investing in the Dairy Checkoff should be proud of the many successful programs the industry has built.
“We have programs for children that are highly respected by many professionals and help to create life-long consumers of our milk and dairy products. We have developed a retail program that makes our product more appealing to the consumer,” said Donahoe.
“We have carefully selected partners that we benefit from in the increased sales of dairy and dairy products.”
Tills reported on the ‘Health Professional Outreach program’, which has also proven to be a timely and respected program.
“Our Registered Dietitians work with health professionals to keep the health benefits of dairy foods top-of-mind,” said Tills. “One way we educate them about the dairy industry is through tours of local dairy farms. The first-hand knowledge they gain on a farm tour helps them better advise their patients and arm them to share the positive story of dairy with other health professionals.”
You can learn more about these and other programs by visiting the American Dairy Association North East website dairyspot.com.
“American Dairy Association Northeast is farmer funded and farmer directed and the staff does a great job in fully utilizing the farmers money to benefit our investment,” said Donahoe.