Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Securing Dairy's Future

Last week I attended the National Dairy Joint Annual Meeting in Orlando, Florida representing Ohio dairy farmers. Dairy producers from all over the country participated in this conference to discuss the challenges and opportunities of promoting dairy products.

Taking a walk around the hotel
The Walt Disney World Dolphin Hotel
Me enjoying the sunshine!
All dairy farmers across the nation contribute $.05/cwt (100 lbs of milk) to the national dairy checkoff program housed under Dairy Management Inc. These funds are used to drive sales and demand for U.S. dairy products through partnerships, programs and activities. This conference is an opportunity for staff and farmer board members to talk ith producers about how our money is being spent to promote and sell dairy products.

The conference theme
 A dairyman I spoke with observed, "Notice how the money is going into the barn!"

Time for the meeting!
Presentations from staff, partners and dairy producer board members covered a variety of topics.

One presentation centered on the Real Seal. The REAL® Seal assures you are buying a product made with the wholesome goodness of U.S.-produced cow’s milk. There are so many imitation products available today. This seal has been used in the past but it’s being brought back to packages as a way for consumers to identify what are Real dairy products.

We heard from our partners, Patrick Doyle, CEO of Domino’s Pizza and Jose Luis Prado, President
of Quaker Foods. National Dairy works with these companies, and others, to develop products
that are enhanced with dairy. For example, National Dairy checkoff worked with Domino’s Pizza to
develop their wonderful new cheesy bread. These great partners brought samples for us to try!
Tom Gallagher (DMI), Patrick Doyle (Domimo's), Jose Luis Prado (Quaker)
Domino's served samples of their Smart Slice for schools & new Pan Pizza
One topic on the mind of all dairy producers is how can we sell more fluid milk? Milk sales have
declined over the years (the bright side is cheese and yogurt sales have increased). Milk is a quality, nutritious product that has been a staple in American households for generation. It’s the challenge of dairy producers to work with processors to figure out how to provide consumers with the milk drinks they want in the packages, flavors and products they desire.

Panel discussing fluid (drinking) milk
The change in milk sales over 30 years
 The conference included a number of “Dairy Breaks” providing an opportunity to snack on delicious dairy foods and have conversations.
We had all the milk, yogurt & cheese we could eat!
Jolene Griffin offers Quaker oatmeal cookies at the DMI booth
Me at the Fuel Up to Play 60 Booth
 There was fun mixed in with the work and food including inspirational speaker Dick Vitale, ESPN
College Basketball Analyst. He spoke to us about how persistence, heart, good decisions, a positive “can do” attitude, and the support of family will take you far in life.

There was a great selection of wonderful cheese at the Welcome Reception
 During the final banquet, on Halloween night, we had a great meal and were entertained by singer
Laura Bell Bundy.
The fancy Halloween dessert served with dinner
Laura Bell Bundy and her back up singers
It was a great experience and gave me renewed enthusiasm about the dairy industry!


  1. The dairyman you spoke to about the logo got it wrong--the giant hand is plucking money out of the barn! How many different entities with large boards of per diem collectors and overpaid administrative staff vacationing in sunny Florida are necessary to promote dairy products with producer checkoff "tax" dollars through their "federal" organizations? I'm thankful that 2/3 of our checkoff dollars don't go toward this exuberance and are utilized locally while we dairy farmers who choose to milk our own cows stay home.

  2. You make some good points. I agree the state checkoff programs do a good job locally and the accountability closer to home is more effective. The further away from the local level money goes, the less accountability there is and the less we know about how the funds are being spent. I too get frustrated with the big salaries some of the executives are paid when dairy producers struggle to be profitable.

    The national checkoff is doing some good work with our $.05/cwt. The partnerships with Dominos, McDonalds, Quaker and other food companies are a win/win for dairy sales and these companies who serve a large volume of dairy products.

    I like being involved in our local checkoff board to express my opinion, provide direction and review budgets. This isn’t for everyone, so I understand some make the choice to “stay home to milk cows”.

    We dairy producers must be so frugal, lean and efficient. I expect the same from the state and national checkoff programs who are stewards of our funds.

  3. Hello, Brenda-
    Thank you for your kind comments on my contribution to HERd, I am glad you enjoyed it. I find I have much in common with the other contributors!
    I love this post on your trip to Orlando. While it is frustrating to sit back and watch our dollars be spent, it is important to understand why and how they are being spent to determine, create and maintain dairy product markets. I am slowly getting more involved on the local level and I am looking forward to a greater understanding and hopefully sharing that information with others who prefer to stay home and milk the cows (like my husband) :)

  4. Thanks Ellen. Once again, I can relate. My husband would much rather be on the farm then attending a dairy meeting. I think that's what makes us a good team.

    I look forward to reading more of your posts and contributions to Progressive Dairyman magazine!


Thank you for reading my blog and taking the time to comment! I’m opening the doors of our farm to share with you and enjoy engaging in discussion. Please be respectful in your comments. I reserve the right to remove posts that include name calling, slander, and vulgar language or contain links to websites that assault animal agriculture.

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