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3 open minutes with Becky Kronberg

Published on 05 June 2009

Dairy producers, allied industry and dairy enthusiasts come together during June Dairy Month to promote the industry and the wholesome, nutritious products it produces.

The Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board (WMMB), funded by state checkoff dollars, provides funding and materials to many local organizations in the state to aid them in their efforts, as well as assembling its own June Dairy Month campaign each year. At the heart of these projects is Becky Kronberg, manager of local markets communications for WMMB.

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What makes June a great month to celebrate dairy?

KRONBERG: June Dairy Month is the perfect time to showcase our farms, our industry and the important role that the dairy business plays in the daily lives of all citizens and the economic health of all communities. During June, Wisconsin residents – and visitors from other regions – have ample opportunities to sample our outstanding cheese and dairy products, attend dairy breakfasts, visit working dairy operations and share in the pride, heritage and commitment that make Wisconsin “America’s Dairyland.”

How do you help America’s Dairyland celebrate June Dairy Month?

KRONBERG: Each year I produce a June Dairy Month Grassroots Kit for our County Dairy Leader Groups (CDLGs), 4-H clubs, FFA chapters and other dairy groups to promote dairy in their local communities. The kit provides easy-to-reproduce handouts, dairy trivia, public service announcements, coloring pages for kids and promotional ideas. WMMB also supplies a wide variety of Wisconsin dairy educational materials including thousands of recipe brochures for distribution at dairy breakfasts and retailers during June. CDLGs also receive banners that feature WMMB’s annual promotion theme. Each year, WMMB publishes a new dairy promotion materials catalog, which is filled with promotional items that help tell the Wisconsin dairy story. The catalog offers items such as pencils, activity books, stickers and colorful erasers that make excellent handouts or prizes at events and farm tours. Clothing and gift items such as shirts, baseball caps and cuddly cows are also available.

What have been some of your favorite June Dairy Month campaigns put on by the Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board?

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KRONBERG: WMMB has conducted many successful June Dairy Month promotions, but I have two favorites. In 2001, our “Catch the June Bug” campaign featured four black and white cow-spotted Volkswagen New Beetles, which crisscrossed America’s Dairyland during June. These “June Bugs” visited numerous dairy breakfasts, special events and grocery stores across the state.

In 2006, WMMB brought CowParade, the world’s largest public art event, to Wisconsin. “CowParade Wisconsin” remains the most successful promotion that WMMB has ever executed. This promotion allowed us to extend June Dairy Month into a four-month promotion and put dairy on the front page in communities across America’s Dairyland. Throughout the event, dairy industry messages reached more than 15 million people via print, radio, television and Web media. The coverage we received far surpassed our expectations.

Why is product promotion so important to the dairy industry?

KRONBERG: With the multitude of food choices available today, it’s more important now than ever before to keep dairy products top-of mind with consumers. Most Americans are not getting enough calcium in their diets. The key to increasing this valuable nutrient is to know where to find it. Milk, cheese and other dairy products are the richest source of calcium you can find – with a lot of other benefits to boot! Dairy product promotion makes it easy for consumers to see that dairy products are clearly the best way to meet calcium needs and get three servings of dairy each day. Although Wisconsin’s strong heritage and dairying expertise is recognized worldwide, it remains vital that we all continue to share the dairy story with our friends, neighbors, school children, business people and visitors to our communities.

What are some grassroots efforts producers can implement to promote dairy products?

KRONBERG: The opportunities for grassroots dairy product promotion are endless! Here are just a few simple examples:

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• Host a farm tour for area school children

• Contact local media to share the dairy story

• Give a dairy-related presentation to your local civic group or community organization

• Donate milk or cheese for charity events

• Provide chocolate milk – the best sports recovery drink – at local sporting events

• Create a dairy-themed float for a summer parade – pass out string cheese or sell milk along the parade route

Name some of the best education events or props you’ve seen and why?

KRONBERG: I think dairy breakfasts are always an excellent place to educate the public with displays, hands-on activities and the chance to see real dairy cows and calves. Agriculture adventure activity tents at county fairs offer similar opportunities as well. I love the large fiberglass cows that children (and adults) can actually “milk.” Trivia wheels and Plinko games teach dairy in a fun way too.

Besides June, when are there other opportunities to promote dairy?

KRONBERG: While June Dairy Month is the traditional time of year to promote dairy, it shouldn’t stop there. Dairy should be promoted year-round! Some dairy products lend themselves to enhanced promotion during specific seasons. For example, chocolate milk is always “Great Nutrition in Disguise” and makes an easy fall Halloween promotion. And butter is a natural fit for Thanksgiving and Christmas baking.

Dairy education spans the entire school year when dairy ambassadors, Alice in Dairyland and Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board’s Dairy Council staff teach children about the importance of Wisconsin’s $20.6 billion dairy industry.

Throughout the year, Wisconsin dairy farm families willingly open their farms and businesses for educational tours and fun days on the farm. In 66 of Wisconsin’s 72 counties, volunteers involved with our County Dairy Leader Groups are helping to showcase why dairy is important to our state and our communities. Children and grown-ups alike enjoy these opportunities – making farm tours and dairy education an important way to communicate where our quality dairy foods come from.

No matter what time of year, if you’re attending a dairy breakfast or shopping at your local supermarket, try “talking dairy” with the person next to you. You’ll enlighten them on the tremendous impact dairy has in your community. PD

Wisconsin Milk Marketing Board

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