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Does a major news outlet have more half truths than Pinocchio?

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:

Here is a great blog that is written by some of the great employees behind the the National dairy Council and Dairy Management Inc.:

About raylindairy

Ray is a partner with his parents in Ray-Lin Dairy in Denair, Ca. The operation milks 475 cows and double crops corn & winter forage on 130 of the 240 acres with about 90 acres of pasture. The family also has 1200 ac operation in Klamath Falls OR that raises alfalfa hay, wheat hay, and oat hay. Ray is currently secretary of the Agchat Foundation an entity he helped found whose mission is to empower farmer to use social media. He is currently a on the board of directors of CA Dairy Campaign, Dairy CARES, and is the 2nd Vice-President of Stanislaus County Farm Bureau. He is also a member of the National Dairy Board. In addition to his involvement in agricultural organizations’ he is the Chairperson of the Governance Committee at a newly formed charter school his daughter attends, and serves as a director for the East Stanislaus Resource Conservation District. Ray and his wife Erica live on the dairy with their two children.


4 thoughts on “Does a major news outlet have more half truths than Pinocchio?

  1. Nice post. Thanks also for your recent comment on the U.S. Food Policy blog. It is great to read a dairy perspective on this issue.

    Would you like to take up a challenge? If you believe these checkoff programs are a private sector dairy industry thing, would you clear the whole thing up by saying: “These are dairy industry messages, not the federal government’s message.”

    If you can make that simple claim, I will write a big bold post on my blog conceding that the NYT got the story wrong. If you can’t, I gotta wonder why not?

    Posted by Parke | November 20, 2010, 11:18 AM
    • I think a quick history of the check off will help. Dairy Farmers nationwide asked Congress to establish a mandatory promotion program funded by the dairy farmers themselves. To make the program mandatory a federal law needed to be enacted and this is what is now known as the National Dairy Checkoff overseen by the USDA. The reason it has become “Government Speech” is because of the oversight by USDA which is necessary to keep all programs and expenditures within the constraints of the original law and to make sure nothing reaches outside the original agreement. If the program did not need to remain within the letter of the original Charter it would not need to have the USDA oversight. The expenditures USDA makes to oversee the program is charged to the Checkoff and reimbursed form the Dairy Farmers contributions.

      Posted by raylindairy | November 20, 2010, 3:58 PM


  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention Does a major news outlet have more half truths than Pinocchio? « Ray-Lin Dairy -- - November 15, 2010

  2. Pingback: You can still say “Cheese, Please!” « WEISS CENTENNIAL FARM – Since 1853 - November 18, 2010

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