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Instead of getting frustrated with checkoff promotion, get involved

Ashley Messing-Kennedy for Progressive Dairy Published on 11 June 2021

I’m writing this column at the very beginning of June Dairy Month and trying to put down my thoughts about checkoff is harder than ever. This year, promoting milk and dairy has a different meaning to it than normal. 

I have always been active in sharing the story of dairy. I grew up giving farm tours, sharing farming on social media and promoting at events anytime I could. But, two years ago, I got myself wound up in this big project being put on by Dairy Management Inc. (DMI – our national dairy checkoff). In a nutshell, I was concerned about the future of our industry. I thought we had so much potential to be a food of the future but was afraid we were going to squander it.

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I vocalized these concerns. I went to a national checkoff meeting. I fell in love with this initiative called Dairy 2030. Thankfully, I got asked to be a part of this because this has energized me and shown me how exciting our future is! I cannot put into words the ideas, plans and enthusiasm surrounding this initiative. I also am not allowed to share details, so that makes trying to put it in words harder. But, I can tell you, we have a bunch of really amazing people in our corner. They want to help us succeed, and they want farmers to be profitable.

During June Dairy Month and beyond, I hope you will ask questions. Contact farmers who are involved in checkoff. Call your local checkoff office and talk to some of them. I can assure you, they want to talk to you. They want to answer your questions or find a person who can. You might just end up like me – where you ask questions, then you get both answers and the opportunity to help shape the future. I am so thankful I get to be part of this, and I cannot wait to share what this future could look like for farms of all sizes.  end mark

Editor’s note: Dairy 2030 has now become the Dairy Transformation plan. Learn a few more details about the project and the people involved in this February 2021 blog from DMI chair Marilyn Hershey.

Ashley Messing-Kennedy

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