Tuesday, April 16, 2013

What do Ohio EPA & the Ohio High School Athletic Association have to do with dairy?

I serve on the Ohio Dairy Producers Association (ODPA) and the American Dairy Association Mideast (ADA Mideast) Boards. The ODPA is a group of dairy producers who share an interest in sustaining Ohio’s dairy industry. This group focuses on dairy issues, policy, and research. The ADA Mideast is the state dairy check-off which is focused on nutrition research/education and promoting dairy. Both boards meet quarterly in Columbus, Ohio and last week I attended the spring meetings.

The ADA Mideast Office in Columbus
During the ODPA meeting, we hear updates to learn what’s happening in agriculture and the dairy industry in Ohio. Including reports from the Ohio Department of Ag Dairy Division, Ohio Farm Bureau, Ohio State University, Ohio Milk Haulers, and others organizations that impact dairy farmers. One of the highlights was speaker outside of the dairy industry, the director of Ohio EPA.

One important issue facing Ohio is water quality. Ohio Farm Bureau and many other agriculture groups have come together to work on policy and solutions that maintain clean water. A little over half of Ohio’s land is in farms. The other half is woods/forest/natural areas and urban/cities. We all play a role in water quality, but sometimes it feels as if agriculture is singled out as the “problem”, so I was curious to see what Scott Nally, Director of Ohio EPA, had to say.

My son, Jack, and I enjoying one of the wonderful lakes in our county
Director Nally explained that water quality issues are a three leg stool: 1) agriculture, 2) cities/towns, 3) manufactures/businesses. All of these groups are responsible for maintaining clean water in Ohio. He shared information about the many municipal waste water projects underway in Ohio. He said that one goal is trying to, “Drive technology to create products better for water quality.” For example, all phosphorous has been removed from lawn fertilizer sold in Ohio. He shared that embracing technology is good for the environment. I appreciated what Director Nally had to say and found him to be an intelligent person with common sense.

I’m glad to see Director Nally working with the Directors of the Department of Agriculture and the
Department of Natural Resources to focus on all “legs of the stool”, not singling out one.

Our group shared with Director Nally how the U.S. dairy industry has used technology to become
more efficient. Today U.S. dairy farmers use less land, feed and water and produce less manure to
make a gallon of milk. These efficiencies benefit the environment and water quality.

During the ADA Mideast meeting, we were fortunate to have a special guest, Dr. Dan Ross,
Commissioner of the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA). We as dairy farmers are
connected with Dr. Ross because chocolate milk is the official beverage of the OHSAA. He
advised that the OHSAA is very selective about who they choose as partners. They are looking for wholesome organizations with integrity.

Dr. Ross is a genuine and inspirational person who shared several stories illustrating when perseverance, integrity and teamwork were displayed by high school athletes. I think the best thing he said was, “Our job is to prepare kids for the next level of life, not the next level of sports. I want the students to learn life lessons they will need in their lives and jobs.” He went on to say that sports are a great way to learn teamwork and allows students to learn by making mistakes. This humble man has visited 462 of the 600 high schools in Ohio. He regularly has lunch with student athletes to recognize the good they have done. He really seems to care about the students he serves.

The ADA Mideast partnership with OHSAA has allowed Ohio dairy producers a presence at numerous high school sports activities around the state to spread the word about how nutritional dairy products, including chocolate milk, are an important part of student athlete’s healthy and active lifestyle.

Smith Dairy's Fat-Free Cow
Another thing I want to share is a neat new dairy app. It’s called Herd of Heroes and it was produced by Smith Dairy. My oldest son had lots of fun testing it!

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like it was a very productive and informative meeting. Those are the best!


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