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Foundation Watch: Donations give back to the industry

Published on 18 January 2018
Mitch Breunig, owner and manager of Mystic Valley Dairy

America’s dairy producers are an important part of our rural communities and local economies. Dairy farmers established the Professional Dairy Producers Foundation to ensure our dairy farms remain viable and socially responsible for generations to come.

Through meaningful donations, dairy farmers and industry leaders can pay it forward.

Mitch Breunig, owner and manager of Mystic Valley Dairy LLC, and J.R. Neu, field representative, Sartori Cheese, share why their donations to Professional Dairy Producers Foundation (PDPF) align with their own mission and values.  end mark

See a need

Breunig: Youth need encouragement to achieve at the high level necessary to lead the next generation in the dairy community. They are our future, and we need to invest in experiences that will prepare them to be critical thinkers and build confidence to improve our industry and our communities.

Neu: As the consumer becomes more removed from the farm with each generation, there is an ongoing need to educate and inform about the modern practices that make production agriculture and dairy safe and wholesome for both the end consumable product and the environment.

Programs are needed to assist the younger generation of dairy producers to continue to be great leaders in the industry while also being successful dairy producers. Efforts are needed to make improvements in the dairy industry, from supporting environmental improvement initiatives to educational opportunities for dairy producers and assisting with the promotion of modern dairy practices with community organizations.

I was raised on a dairy farm, and the life experiences I gained prepared me for future careers in the dairy industry. At that time, there were few organizations to help promote the future of the dairy industry, and I left the farm as I did not see a future there for me.

Having the resources of an organization such as PDPF to provide opportunities to network with other young producers through some of their programs might have given me the vision to take over the family farm and continue its operation.

Fill a need

Breunig: PDPF provides the resources to launch initiatives that encourage youth and promote the dairy industry through education. They are the size-neutral face of our industry that crosses state lines to meet the unique needs of our dairy community. PDPF looks for initiatives that can engage consumers on modern agriculture to maintain public trust in what happens on our dairies. It is important to be proactive and prepared, to go where the puck is going to be.

Mitch Breung

My most meaningful donation was a calf our dairy donated to a live auction that raised $6,000 for the Professional Dairy Producers Foundation because we want the next generation of dairy farmers to have an opportunity to succeed in the industry. My donation provides educational opportunities for farmers, their families and employees as well as the consumers we are trying to reach.

PDPW, my professional development organization, helped me develop a skill set to manage our farm. When the foundation was trying to grow, I felt that leaders would have to put their dollars in to help it thrive.

There are multiple ways to donate to the foundation. Two Cents for Tomorrow is a way for producers to contribute in an ongoing basis. The PDPF silent auction gives industry partners and farmers a chance to donate items or to shop for the cause. I believe in the PDPF mission and trust my investment will be used wisely to fund programs that benefit the dairy industry.

Through PDPF, the industry can pool its resources to make a difference through the funding of programs that benefit youth, farmers and the communities where we live. When I see programs that are successful from grants we donated to through PDPF, I am part of impacting the dairy industry. A wise friend of mine taught me to “learn, then earn, then return.”

Neu: PDPF’s involvement helps fund activities such as birthing barns at fairs and environmental stewardship programs that help to make a connection with the general public. PDPF recognizes areas where there is a need to provide assistance in starting a program that will have a long-term impact on the dairy industry and to see that the program gets started.

As a purchaser of milk for our cheese plant, it is valuable to us that our donation is used to help young dairy producers become more involved in the dairy industry. The involvement might be through attending a leadership academy, attending educational workshops or conferences, becoming involved in promoting the dairy industry in their local community or taking part in many of the other activities supported by PDPF.

The mission of Sartori Company is “to make the best cheese in the world,” and to do so we need a strong network of family farms producing high-quality milk while focusing on animal care and being good stewards of the environment. The areas where PDPF focuses their energy and sponsorships align with our company mission and values, and they have many contacts and resources to make a difference we as a single company could not achieve on our own.

PDPF funds programs that support the education of both the producers involved in the industry to make continuous improvements following best practices and also education of the consumer in regard to how milk is produced safely and humanely. We like that our donation is used to assist the younger generation of dairy producers to continue to be great leaders in the industry while also being successful dairy producers.

PDPF should continue their efforts in making improvements in the dairy industry, from supporting environmental improvement initiatives, continuing to support educational opportunities for dairy producers and assisting with the promotion of modern dairy practices with community organizations.

The foundation is the connection between dairy industry partners and producers who want to make a difference but are unable to do so by themselves. As an organization that can pool resources and funds from many areas, PDPF can be more effective than many small individuals doing their own thing.

PDPF is meaningful to Sartori Company by continuing their efforts to keep the dairy industry viable and progressive. Through the continued education of consumers, a market for the dairy products being produced using best management practices on the farm can be maintained. Their continued support of young dairy producers is also meaningful in keeping the future of the family farm alive and well. Donations help to provide educational and networking opportunities for young producers, with the goal of keeping the local dairy industry strong for many years to come.  end mark

PHOTO 1: Mitch Breunig, owner and manager of Mystic Valley Dairy LLC, and J.R. Neu, field representative, Sartori Cheese, share why their donations to Professional Dairy Producers Foundation (PDPF) align with their own mission and values. 

PHOTO 2: Mitch Breunig. Courtesy photos.

The following update is provided by the Professional Dairy Producers Foundation, which raises funds nationwide and awards grants and sponsorships for educational programs and initiatives that benefit the U.S. dairy community. PDPF is committed to uniting the dairy community on issues of common concern to achieve its vision of a professional, proactive and prepared dairy community.

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