Current Progressive Dairy digital edition

3 Open Minutes with Deb Reinhart

PD Editor Peggy Coffeen Published on 31 October 2013

The Professional Dairy Producers Foundation (PDPF) is seeking applications for educational grant dollars that will help build dairy producer professionalism and public trust in how dairy products are produced. Eligible organizations may apply for grants of up to $5,000 by Dec. 1, 2013.




PDPF was established by the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin (PDPW), and their efforts extend nationwide through the distribution of competitive grants for educational programs.

Wisconsin dairywoman Deb Reinhart serves as the group’s development specialist. Progressive Dairyman Editor Peggy Coffeen spoke with Reinhart about the group’s activities.


What is the purpose of the foundation?

Reinhart: The foundation supports educational programs that fulfill needs in these key areas: developing youth, increasing producer professionalism and building public trust in how dairy products are produced. Although founded in Wisconsin, the foundation exists to serve the entire dairy industry.



What impact has it had on the industry?

Reinhart: We impact the industry through our competitive grant application process. We have supported educational projects around the country as well as projects facilitated by PDPW. We have awarded funds to programs in Wisconsin, California, Indiana, Maryland, New York, Pennsylvania and North Carolina.

Because PDPW is well established and producer-driven, we have funded several programs that are models for dairy producers around the country.

Examples include the Agricultural Community Engagement (ACE) twilight meetings, Youth Leadership Derby, Dairy Mentorship Program, Dairy’s Visible Voice communications training and What Matters, which is a program that helps dairy producers and veterinarians work together to ensure residue-free meat and milk.



Who does it serve?

Reinhart: PDPF is the dairy industry’s foundation, with the interests of dairy producers as its primary focus. Through collaborative efforts, it has its finger on the pulse of issues that are important to the nation’s dairy producers. Dairy producers started the foundation, govern the foundation and fund the foundation.


How is it funded?

Reinhart: The majority of our donors are dairy producers who are leading the charge to raise substantial dollars for educational projects through the Two Cents for Tomorrow campaign. Anyone can give an I Believe gift to the foundation and show their support for the next generation of dairy producers.

We also write for grants on behalf of dairy producers, and we have received grants from the Alliant Energy Foundation, Dean Foods Foundation and AgStar Fund for Rural America. In addition, we host a silent auction and pie-eating contest at the PDPW Annual Business Conference.


What is done with the money collected by the foundation?

Reinhart: In addition to educational projects across the country, we have a competitive grant program that is always looking for the best ideas to educate in the areas of youth, producer professionalism and public trust.


Who can apply for grants? How?

Reinhart: Applying organizations must be non-profit with an IRS tax status of 501(c)(3) or (c)(5). These groups could be FFA chapters and 4-H clubs. No grant is too small. We have a grant selection committee that makes decisions about which programs to fund.

Visit their website for eligibility criteria and an application. When Two Cents for Tomorrow becomes $2 million, we can create opportunities for the next generation to succeed in an industry that is financially fit, socially responsible and sustainable. PD


Peggy Coffeen

Progressive Dairyman