Dairy Industry Gaining Trust for Milk and Butter Products, Insight from National Dairy Council ChairmanMon, 21 Dec 2015 19:19:12 CST
Agriculture has to work to adapt to the changing needs of today’s consumers. Dairy farmer Jerry Messer of North Dakota serves on the Midwest Dairy Association and National Dairy Council. As chairman of the National Dairy Council, he oversees the checkoff efforts nationally for the dairy industry. He said the council aims to understand what consumers want. In reaching millennials and consumers in general, Messer said dairy farmers have to get out there and tell their story through social media.
“So that consumers understand what we’re doing on the farms and why we doing it on the farms and communicating that back to them and what it means to them, as far as having a secure wholesome and healthy product,” Messer said.
The National Dairy Council wants consumers to get back to drinking more milk. Over the last ten years, the National Dairy Council has conducted research to document the benefits of consuming milk fat. Messer said nationally their studies are starting to be recognized in showing milk fat is a healthy part of the diet. Recently, McDonald’s announced they will be serving 100 percent pure butter in every restaurant. That creates a huge boost in demand.
“That means a lot of us as dairy farms,” Messer said. “We’re talking about 600 million pounds of milk equivalent per year, which is almost the same as what we exported last year for butter.”
The next charge for the National Dairy Council will be working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture and Department of Health and Human Services on the nation’s dietary guidelines. If the government agencies will recognize the benefits of milk fat to the diet, Messer thinks two percent and whole milk could be brought back into schools. He doesn’t expect a change for latest round of dietary guidelines, but rather in the formation of the following dietary guidelines.
The nation’s dairy checkoff hasn’t changed much. With the same amount of funding today as 35 years ago, the dairy checkoff is charged with maximizing every dollar paid through the checkoff. Messer said they have stretched their resources through partnerships. That is evident through their “Fuel Up to Play 60” program. That’s a partnership between the National Football League and the National Dairy Council.
Radio Oklahoma Network Farm Director Ron Hays interviewed Messer about the state of the nation’s dairy checkoff. Click or tap on the LISTEN BAR below to listen to the full interview.
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