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Checkoff Watch: Working with NFL advances dairy farmers’ goals

Published on 16 October 2015

When the checkoff’s National Dairy Council partnered with the National Football League to create Fuel Up to Play 60, it was understood the program’s biggest impact would occur through local schools.

Since 2009, Fuel Up to Play 60, which is supported by the USDA, has become the premier in-school initiative that delivers more dairy and other nutritious foods and physical activity to students. More than 73,000 schools are enrolled in the program, and 12 million students are actively engaged.



The NFL is by far this country’s favorite sports league – and attracts many young fans – and the checkoff’s partnership with the league has helped get Fuel Up to Play 60 through the doors of many schools.

On the national level, the NFL provides the checkoff with funding and opportunities to partner with NFL stars at events that raise the exposure of Fuel Up to Play 60 and bridge connections with league sponsors and partners that can help dairy’s cause.

The checkoff also shares the powerful and instantly recognizable NFL shield with processors and others to help market dairy products.

The checkoff has hosted events with the NFL that bring together students, school advisers, partners, government and influencers to spread the word about how dairy farmers are improving the lives of children and communities. These efforts help ensure farmers’ freedom to operate in schools.

In the 2013-2014 school year, the NFL contributed $840,000 in grants to Fuel Up to Play 60 schools to support dairy farmers’ goals. Checkoff partners, including Quaker, Dannon, Topps and others, invested more dollars and other resources.


The PepsiCo Foundation also invested to enable Fuel Up to Play 60 to reach more students through the development of resources produced in Spanish.

The impact being made on the local level is just as impressive. Every school customizes Fuel Up to Play 60’s tools and goals to fit its needs, all in the name of helping kids live healthier lives through better nutrition (including dairy) and more activity.  PD

On the web

  • Fuel Up to Play 60 – The redesigned website is better than ever.

  • Dairy Good – Visit the website to find the many ways the dairy checkoff is building and reinforcing consumer trust in you and your products.

  • – Visit the website to learn more about your checkoff and find links to your local promotion organizations.

Test your answer

Where is the greatest impact of the checkoff’s NFL partnership and Fuel Up to Play 60 being made?

ANSWER: At local schools. Contact your local dairy promotion organization through this website to find out more about what’s going on in your area.

Local spotlight

Your state and regional promotion organizations work with partners to showcase dairy locally, recognize the value of dairy farm families and move more product. Here are some highlights:

Western Dairy Association

The Western Dairy Association (WDA) was involved in the first Denver Broncos Health and Wellness Expo, where checkoff staff showcased Fuel Up to Play 60 success stories.


david brutonWDA distributed Dannon coupons and promoted the “Golden Bongos” contest. Denver Broncos player David Bruton appeared in a cooking demonstration with a Fuel Up to Play 60 student ambassador to highlight game-day recipes featuring dairy.

New England Dairy Promotion Board

The New England Dairy and Food Council (NEDFC) and New England Patriots collaborated on a GenYouth Massachusetts Youth Empowerment Town Hall, encouraging community leaders to support school wellness efforts.

jermaine wiggins NEDFC also was at the Patriots’ training camp promoting healthy foods such as dairy. Former New England Patriots player Jermaine Wiggins, a Fuel Up to Play 60 ambassador, visited summer meal programs to inspire students to make healthy choices such as dairy.

Oregon Dairy Products Commission

Former NFL player Anthony Newman shares the Fuel Up to Play 60 message throughout Oregon. Speaking at school assemblies and community events, Newman inspires students to eat school meals, do their best in and out of school, and to be physically active daily.

Anthony NewmanHe often puts his words into action with a relay race and milk chug with teams of students and staff.

Dairy MAX

Dairy MAX, in partnership with Fuel Up to Play 60, the Dallas Cowboys and Houston Texans, are ramping up recess. These partners have teamed up to help schools add interactive Fuel Up to Play 60 playground stencils to several schools.

toro the bullThe stencils, funded by the NFL, engage students with healthy messages and encourage physical activity. Research shows elementary school children spend more of their recess and activity time in active play when schoolyards are enhanced with playground markings.

PHOTO 1: Denver Broncos player David Bruton tries to keep up while cooking dairy-friendly recipes with a Fuel Up to Play 60 student ambassador.

PHOTO 2: Former Patriots player Jermaine Wiggins joins cheerleaders, Pat Patriot and students to celebrate Fuel Up to Play 60.

PHOTO 3: Former NFL player Anthony Newman pledges his support for Fuel Up to Play 60 to schools across Oregon.

PHOTO 4: Toro, the Houston Texans’ mascot, shows off one of the new Fuel Up to Play 60 playground stencils.

Your Dairy Checkoff in Action – The following update is provided by Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), which manages the national dairy checkoff program on behalf of America’s dairy producers and dairy importers. DMI is the domestic and international planning and management organization responsible for increasing sales of and demand for dairy products and ingredients.