As some people may know I was appointed last year to National Dairy Board by the Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack. I was excited to help direct the programs dairy farmers fund from their own income, approximately 1.75 cents per gallon with 2/3 staying local & 1/3 going to the NDB. Afterall, my family farm has been contributing to the fund based on the milk products we have produced for close to two decades.
What I did not realize going in was the great dairy farmers I would meet along the way from all corners of the US, between the National, and State or Regional boards there are over 400 dedicated farmers giving their time to direct the programs all the dairy farmers fund.
I see first-hand how much mind-blowing research is done through the funds farmers like me put into the dairy board budget. There is research on the nutritional qualities of dairy products, packaging that allows milk to store better and be easier to take on the go and the amount of time spent on promotional programs like Fuel up to Play 60 a great partnership with the NFL to get kids active.
What I do not understand is why there is even a question about farmers promoting the products they grow and raise today their are numerous organizations that are self funded “Checkoffs” or marketing boards in the US. As stated in the popular Year of Plenty blog “… I’m not sure why it’s controversial that dairy farmers are paying for programs to promote the sale of their products. It’s like saying it’s scandalous that Starbucks wants consumers to drink more coffee.” Another great post from Year of Plenty is titled How My Little Blog Out-Reported the New York Times and adresses a lot of the misinformation and half truths.
With the inaccuracies reported by major news outlets, several dairy farmers across the US are voicing their sentiments in their own blog posts or in conversations with local media. Here are a few great posts from some fellow dairy farmers:
- The Dairy Mom Brenda Souza Hastings
- Orange Patch Dairy Shannon Seifert
- Dairy Goddess Barbara Martin
- The Wife of a Dairyman Nancy Grossi
Here is a great blog that is written by some of the great employees behind the the National dairy Council and Dairy Management Inc.: