My view: Money spent, points missed.

By Sherry Bunting, Farmshine, Feb. 8, 2019

Even the video spots created by DMI for this year’s social media lead-up to the 53rd Super Bowl were long on NFL branding and short on dairy messaging. After all, America’s dairy farmers have this relationship with the National Football League (NFL) via GENYOUth and Fuel Up to Play 60 (FUTP60), why not advertise it, right?

But DMI’s “Dairy Rules” videos leave the viewer wondering what the point is.

The “Dairy Rules” content series represents a $100,000 media buy, alone, with production costs on top, according to Edelman, the agency doing creative and public relations work for DMI over the past 20-plus years. They say the two videos prepared for play on social media sites Feb. 1-4, “apply football rules in the context of dairy products to humorous effect.”

Honestly, I found them to be more annoying than humorous, maybe I didn’t get the point?

DMI sources say the “dairy replay booth” videos were viewed 6 million times on social media platforms. You can view them for yourself here and here .

(The number of views logged at these YouTube links as of February 4 is more like 200 and 500. And the embedded Facebook version showed 6,200 views. The Twitter platform counts were around 600 each.)

While the tagline is a good one: “Real Dairy is always the right call,” the substance of the skits is rapid-fire, dairy-name-dropping clothed in football jargon.

Except for this brief 1-second and chaotic glimpse at the “dairy replay” screens, the viewer is in the dark over why “Real Dairy is always the right call.”

In fact, “Grace under pressure,” the female referee in the first 30-second “dairy replay booth” video, reviews dairy-use fouls. Speaking rapidly and displaying a large 1% emblem on the back of her hybrid cow-print/referee-striped shirt, she points to screens the viewer can’t see saying: “That’s mom delaying ice cream night to answer a text. That’s parfait interference, too much fruit in the yogurt. That’s conduct unbecoming of an ice cream sandwich, inappropriate use of fondue forks, a butter block below the waffles… asiago more than 5 seconds on the floor and incomplete use of milk in the chicken tetrazini.”

From the front we see the “Undeniably Dairy” logo on her shirt. Cute. Funny, sort of. But what’s the message? 

The viewer is all set up for “Real Dairy is always the right call,” but no real substance emerges to sink their teeth into, even if the average person could understand half of the jargon.

The second video with a male referee takes the same approach. “All day, every day, dairy infractions are being committed. We’re here at the dairy replay booth to make the final call,” he says as the dramatic NFL-style intermission music plays.

He peruses a wall of screens. “The call is roughing the queso,” he nods, followed by a few more phrases that are hard to decipher — something about a ruling on the fontino? That’s a type of cheese.

And then, a perhaps redeeming line: “Okay Seattle, Dad’s drinking straight from the chocolate milk container, making it ineligible… again.”

Okay, that one at least creates a word picture of Dad swigging chocolate milk straight from the jug instead of taking time to pour a glass – because it’s that good. 

Disjointed and hard to follow, there’s plenty of NFL branding in these videos, and the creators for DMI made sure to display the 1% and 2% subliminal low-fat messages on uniforms and props.

But apart from a glimpse of the replay refs tapping the water cooler (containing milk instead of water with bright red lettering of 2%), there’s just no dairy visible in these Undeniably Dairy, Dairy Good spots.

GENYOUth finances raise eyebrows

By Sherry Bunting, Farmshine, Feb. 1, 2019

BROWNSTOWN, Pa. — Looking over the past nine years since GENYOUth was licensed in 2010 as a non-profit under the official name “Youth Improved Incorporated,” the annual Gala event is just one small piece of the larger pie. The Gala has been held for three consecutive years: 2016, 2017 and 2018, ostensibly to raise funds for GENYOUth and its flagship program: Fuel Up to Play 60 (FUTP60).

In fact, since GENYOUth has not been widely publicized until last year, many people believe it began in 2016 and that the Gala is its primary source of funding. Not so.

According to guidestar.org, Youth Improved Incorporated (aka GENYOUth) was started in 2010 and the IRS 990 forms available for 2014-16 show its budget goes well beyond the fundraising of the Gala, with DMI as the primary source of unrestricted funds primarily for administration. Many other donations are restricted or earmarked for specific things.

It’s mission, according to the Guidestar profile is one of empowerment to position youth as “change-agents” in their communities. (In fact a recent GENYOUth project underway is a youth sleep study).

Here is the mission as published in the profile: “GENYOUth nurtures healthy, high-achieving school communities by: Activating programs that create healthy, active students and schools, empowering youth as change-agents in their local communities, engaging a network of private and public partners that share our goal to create a healthy, successful future for students, schools and communities nationwide.”

While it’s true that the November 2018 Gala in New York City raised $1.4 million for GENYOUth, according to DMI staff responses to inquiries, the entire GENYOUth budget has far exceeded this at $8.1 million in 2014, $7.8 million in 2015 and $10.4 million in 2016, according to the IRS 990 forms for those years – the only ones available at this time. (Forms have been submitted requesting 990s from 2010 through 2013, and the 2017 990 won’t be released until March 2019 while 2018’s 990 won’t be available until March 2020.)

Of these $7.8 to $10.4 million budgets, roughly half was spent in the form of grants and contributions to schools and half on administration.

Looking at just the most recent 990 available for 2016, nearly half a million dollars was spent on travel, conferences and meetings, $4.5 million total administration, including over $2 million in ‘professional fees,’ nearly $1 million on salaries, $259,961 in office rent or occupancy, another $202,095 in ‘other expenses,’ and less than $90,000 on printing and publications (aka materials).

GENYOUth carried in 2016 total assets and fund balances of $8 million at the end of the year.

Of the $10.4 million in contributions, less than $1 million came from the NFL ($813,112) with the NFL Players Inc. kicking in $25,000 and two teams contributing $5000 each. Quaker Foods (owned by PepsiCo) kicked in $12,500 that year. Nike contributed over $400,000. Domino’s contributed nearly $700,000, Land O’Lakes contributed nearly $600,000, Microsoft (Bill Gates) kicked in $100,000, fairlife $100,000, Dannon $100,000, and Leprino $20,000.  

A whopping $4.2 million came from checkoff organizations, making mandatory dairy farmer checkoff funds the single largest source of funding in 2016, as follows: 

DMI accounted for $1.527 million and Midwest Dairy Association accounted for $1.203 million. 

The balance of the $4.2 million in dairy checkoff funds came from ADA Northeast $30,162, ADA Indiana $81,822, ADA Mideast $38,952, California Milk Advisory Board $29,800, Dairy Council of AZ $164,210, Dairy Max $18,750, Florida Dairy Farmers $150,000, Idaho Dairy Products Commission $175,000, Maine Dairy Promotion Board $10,000, Midatlantic Dairy Association $43,772, Midwest Dairy Association $1,203,000, National Dairy Council $15,000, New England, Dairy Promotion board $100,000, Oregon Dairy Products Commission $117,818, UDIA of Michigan $147,825, Washington State Dairy Products Commission $210,000, and Western Dairy Association $59,139

Interestingly, PepsiCo did not even appear in the 2016 contributions, but contributed just $12,500 through Quaker Foods in 2016. In both 2014 and 2015, the combined contribution by PepsiCo and its subsidiary Quaker Foods was $450,000 and $430,000, respectively.

While dairy farmer checkoff organizations were by far the largest GENYOUth contributor, funding nearly half of GENYOUth’s budget in all three available 990 years, the roughly $4 million annually for each of those three years represents 1% of the total annual checkoff funds paid by dairy farmers annually.

It is unclear how many other moving parts to the program are funded in other areas of national and regional checkoff budgets apart from these direct contributions.

GENYOUth’s main program, FUTP60, is described as the dairy farmers’ in-school youth wellness program that is reported to be in 73,000 schools affecting 38 million students, its actual promotion of milk and dairy products has been limited to the deeper layers of online toolkits that accompany several of the available ‘plays’ a school can choose to implement to earn grants for physical education or cafeteria equipment, such as smoothie makers, coolers for milk and the separate implementation of mobile school breakfast carts.

In addition, the memorandum of understanding (MOU) all parties signed with USDA in 2010-11 prevents the program’s partners from using FUTP60 to advertise.

When a school picks one ‘healthy eating play’ and one ‘physical activity play’ from the list of choices in the FUTP60 ‘playbook,’ a school can qualify for up to $4000 in grants annually to ‘kickstart healthy changes.’

When the National Football League (NFL), PepsiCo and others who partner in FUTP60 are involved, their brands have immediate recognition. They don’t need to say a word to get advertising value.

For example, the NFL brand is obvious in many of the ‘plays’ that even use its name, such as NFL FLAG-in-Schools – Get in the Game!” This has advertising brand value.

Another example, when PepsiCo is presented with a GENYOUth award and the CEO uses that platform to talk about PepsiCo’s plant-based health foods and beverages coming on the market – some directly competing as dairy alternatives — that has advertising value for PepsiCo.

Where is the advertising value for dairy farmers? What brand do the underwriting dairy farmers showcase for their participation? Any photo of milk is strategically positioned so the brand cannot be seen, unless it’s fairlife. And dairy farmers get five simple words that are sometimes included and sometimes omitted from GENYOUth and FUTP60 materials: ‘including fat-free and low-fat dairy.’

Of the dozens of ‘plays’ in the FUTP60 playbook that schools can choose to implement, most have toolkits that focus on empowering students to consider “sustainability” and nutrition of the snacks they choose. Whole grains, fruits and vegetables are emphasized. Discussions about milk and dairy are found in the deeper layers of these toolkits but are not part of direct action implemented in the ‘play.’

When ‘plays’ are implemented and a grant is awarded for equipment, an school assembly is often held, and in some of those cases, dairy could be highlighted if the equipment is a smoothie maker using yogurt, for example.

In fact, any number of these ‘plays’ are positive for young people, but the dietary emphasis of the healthy eating ‘plays’ is on whole grains, fruits and vegetables with “including fat-free and low-fat dairy” as the five little words educating future consumers. No mandatory checkoff funds are coming into GENYOUth from these other commodities.

As for the mobile breakfast carts funded through GENYOUth, they offer an opportunity to sell more milk, yogurt and cheese as breakfast options students can choose from. Checkoff staff point to these sales opportunities as the benefit that trickles down for the dairy farmer’s investment.

Still, the offerings remain fat-free and low-fat, and the interactions with these 73,000 schools are cumulative – not ongoing. Once a play is implemented and an assembly is held and a grant is given and equipment is purchased, a few posters may show up in the lunchroom, but school staff confide months or years later they tend not to even realize they are FUTP60 participants.

Life goes on. Lunch goes on. Breakfast goes on. There is no real tracking of the results in terms of whether the 38 million school children ‘touched’ by the program cumulatively since its inception in 2010 are drinking their milk or eating their cheese and yogurt.

Meanwhile, the dairy education and promotion aspect is limited to fat-free and low-fat milk, nonfat yogurt, and skim-processed cheese as dairy farmers are cobbled to USDA by both the Dietary Guidelines and the GENYOUth memorandum of understanding.

In effect, mandatory dairy producer funds are toting the government’s dietary and sustainability message instead of being free to boldly put dairy’s best and most nutritious foot forward with whole milk, real butter and full-fat natural cheese for growing young bodies and minds to be empowered. 

Given that the dairy farmer checkoff organizations have been primary funders of GENYOUth since its inception to the tune of around $4 million a year (times 8 = approximately $32 mil cumulative) — and given the fact that PepsiCo seems to have missed at least one year out of the three years for which records are available, having given just $1 million over three years, cumulatively — maybe the “Everyday Superheroes” theme of the November 2018 GENYOUth Gala in New York City should have taken a different route.

Perhaps the Vanguard Award should have been presented in gratitude to The American Dairy Farmer instead of PepsiCo. 

Then, instead of hearing the PepsiCo CEO talk about the ‘oat milk’ their Quaker Foods is launching, the Gala attendees could have viewed a professional video of America’s dairy farmers… working every day through weather and markets to care for the cows and the land, and the nutritious benefits of real milk for each one of us.

Now that would have been impressive for all of those corporation CEOs and world “thought leaders” in attendance to have seen.

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Decision made, faith shared as his beautiful Lancaster County farm auction is set for Feb. 9

By Sherry Bunting, Farmshine, February 1, 2019

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Picture postcard perfect in Tuesday afternoon’s snow, Rusty Herr’s 71-acre farm, including the all wood construction dairy and heifer barns (shown here), designed to showcase Golden Rose Genetics, as well as the restored historic home (not shown) in the Andrews Bridge historic district of southern Lancaster County will be auctioned by Beiler-Campbell on Feb. 9.

CHRISTIANA, Pa. – “It was a gut feeling, more than anything — an inner sense of knowing something had to happen,” says Rusty Herr about his November decision to auction the 71-acre farm and its most unique dairy facility that is home to Golden Rose Genetics and its elite herd of 40 cows, 25 of which are related to the Oakfield Pronto Ritzi cow he purchased as a yearling in 2009 at the New York Spring Sensation Sale.

Beiler-Campbell Auction Company will conduct the public auction at the 3 Sproul Road farm in the Andrews Bridge historic district of southern Lancaster County near Christiana, Pennsylvania next Saturday, February 9 at 1:00 p.m. In addition to the farm, and it’s not quite four-year-old dairy and heifer barns, the sale includes the family’s restored historic home.

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Rusty with his foundation cow Oakfield Pronto Ritzi EX93, in front of the dairy facility at Golden Rose Genetics. The facilities and renovated farm house are part of the auction Feb. 9 of the 71-acre farm. Pronto Ritzi’s is from a genetic line that is now 19 consecutive generations EX with the most recent four generations bred here at Golden Rose and a potential 20th generation EX — a red and polled first calf heifer — waiting in the wings to be scored.

Rusty will determine his options for the cattle and equipment after the sale of the farm. He’s hoping to be able to keep some of his best animals and some heifers for his children to show.

The beautiful all-wood construction Canadian-style barn, complete with indoor wash rooms and a show case entryway was built so that Rusty could give his small herd of high-scoring cows the individual attention and as a show place to merchandise the genetics he has been developing.

In fact, his Golden-Rose Ladd Glory-Red (below), both Red and Polled, has not yet been classified and has the potential to be a 20th generation EX in Oakfield Pronto Ritzi’s line.

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Oakfield Pronto Ritzi EX93 is the foundation cow at Golden Rose

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Golden-Rose Ladd Glory-Red is a polled first-calf heifer that will be professionally photographed in February. She is not yet classified, and Rusty has high hopes for her as a potential 20th generation EX from the Oakfield Pronto Ritzi line. Rusty will make plans and choices for his cattle after the public auction of the farm.

Good cows and good genetics, along with a love of marketing and the training and skill-set for reproductive work — these are the things Rusty has learned and will continue to love – even if the path forward right now is like opening a book of blank pages.

While it was a gut feeling and months of deliberation that led to the decision to sell the farm, it all comes down to the financial strain he and other dairy producers are enduring.

“Each of us has to know how much longer we can tread water before losing everything,” he says. “We also have to look at how the financial strain may be impacting on other areas of our physical, emotional and family life. If the dairy industry was in a good place, financially, it is obvious we would not have all of these farms going out of business.”

In kitchen table discussions with other dairymen who’ve crossed this bridge over the past several months, one thing is apparent, our industry’s young farmers and transitioning families do not have the cash flow to finish transitions or move into later stages of having started as beginning farmers. They also don’t have the peace of mind that the markets will cycle high enough to pull them up from four years of losses. This is concerning for the future as we are not just seeing the older generation retiring out of the business, we are seeing unprecedented numbers of young people who have a passion for dairy in these tough decisions.

For Rusty, it means walking away from the farm and most unique dairy facility he had spent years dreaming, planning, preparing for and then in 2015 building for his Golden Rose Genetics.

He had been sharpening his skill-set in embryo transfers, ultrasounding and IVF work, building a line of Excellent cows from the Oakfield Corners yearling he had purchased. He methodically built up the genetics side of his business, ultimately downsizing his prior herd with a 2015 auction to fund the new barn and intimate setting for a smaller herd where he could specialize in genetics.

What he didn’t plan on — what nobody could have — is that the milk price would abandon its three-year cycle to tumble low for four straight years, beginning in 2015 when he moved his smaller herd into their new quarters at Golden Rose.

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With a rough-cut pine exterior and the interior smooth pine tongue-and-groove construction, clear-coated to protect the wood against moisture, the 40 tie-stalls and four box stalls were designed for the individual care of high-scoring cows. They currently produce 75 pounds/cow/day of milk with 4.2 fat and 3.3 protein and somatic cell counts 160,000 and below. They are fed a forage-based TMR of mainly corn silage and double-cropped triticale, along with some dry hay.

“Without one good year in the dairy markets (since 2015), it’s been an uphill battle,” Rusty reflects. “We were treading water, but then the outlook sealed it. If it looked like markets would be a lot brighter going into 2019, maybe we could hunker down a bit longer, but we felt like we have already hunkered down and pushed it.

“Obviously it has not been an easy decision to make,” but he says that it is the right one for his family to move on from dairy farming as they have known it.

Looking back, he has no regrets.

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The entryway to the cow barn is part of what make this property a unique opportunity for many types of buyers. The location and beauty of the property and its wood-crafted dairy facilities designed for a small elite dairy herd could easily be converted for horses or for a farm to retail business.

“Life has a way of teaching us valuable lessons that we would have never learned if we didn’t go through certain things. When things get difficult, when the pressure is high and the pain is great, those are the times when we learn the most, when we figure out who we really are and come out better and more prepared to handle what is to come,” he describes the perspective that leaves him with peace about stepping towards whatever God has in store next for him and his family.

With the decision made, the marketer in him has Rusty feeling excited about the upcoming auction on February 9.

He and his wife Heather feel a sense of relief knowing the financial strain will ease, and he believes that any number of options could be in front of him.

He says the whole experience has taught him patience and to trust God for His perfect timing.

“This wasn’t how I would have planned it, having just purchased the farm and begun construction on the dairy less than four years ago, but it’s how the script is unfolding,” he notes.

“The dairy industry is changing in many ways, and to think that anyone could have predicted the markets would be moderately to severely depressed going on a fifth year in a row would have been unimaginable.”

But he adds that, “This is the reality of where we are with a high debt load, input costs from all angles and a very uncertain outlook. It’s just not sustainable to continue with the farm and small dairy herd.”

He and his wife Heather and their four children have put the future in God’s hands. He loves the work he has been doing both on and off the farm.

If a buyer wants to keep the dairy going and keep him working with it, he is open to that potential.

If the farm sells to a buyer completely unrelated to dairy, his path could change dramatically, and he’s ready for that.

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The foyer has a comfortable and historic sitting-room feel where milk quality certificates, pedigrees and ribbons and banners won by his daughters showing cattle at the local fairs are displayed. You can see the cows behind the double doors in the tiestalls. A visitor from the Netherlands surprised Rusty with a cow decal on the wall, a signature he leaves at every farm he visits, worldwide.

“We chose to auction the farm. This is not a forced auction,” Rusty affirms. “I have always loved cow auctions and after meeting with Beiler-Campbell, we decided this is how we would handle the farm sale.”

True to form, Rusty finds himself seizing the opportunity to learn about marketing real estate through this whole experience. Just another way to embrace circumstances and decisions even if they are completely opposite of earlier dreams and plans.

RustyHerr-AuctionSign.jpgIn fact, Rusty penned these words in a Facebook post 10 days before Christmas just after the auction signs went up, thanking their network of family, friends and church family and offering to others a glimpse of the hope and faith that remain strong – knowing so many farmers are wrestling with similar difficulties and decisions.

“Yes, it is sad to walk away from something I have worked my whole life to get to, but in other ways I can be so happy to have been given the opportunity to do it. So many people can never say that,” Rusty wrote, and reiterated during a Farmshine visit to Golden Rose Monday evening. During the visit, Rusty confided that the rollercoaster has not been the markets — they’ve been down with no relief. The rollercoaster he and other dairy producers deal with every day is an internal up-and-down in the mindset of whether they can move forward, or how.

“We can control a lot of things, but not the market,” he explains that they have done all they could to increase income and cash flow amid the perfect storm of lower prices for milk, cattle and beef. He stepped up his ET, IVF and other reproductive services to dairy producers in the region –pulling him away from the very farm he was bringing income back to keep going.

“What’s the family farm going to look like in the future?” Rusty wonders aloud. “That question, I think, is being answered. We are disappearing.”

“I don’t want sympathies and people feeling sorry for us…” he wrote in that mid-December post announcing the sale of the farm. “There are dairy farm families right now who are grieving over the loss of a loved one who thought that ending their life was the best way to cope with their overwhelming situation. They are the ones who need our prayers and support. There are others who have no idea how they are going to get through the coming months and years if things don’t dramatically improve. They might be retirement age and have just watched all of their net worth get eaten up while trying to ride out the storm. I would like this post to be about them.”

Rusty is grateful for family, friends and faith. He urges everyone in the dairy community to “Reach out to your neighbors and friends. Let them know that you care and are praying for them.”

In short, he says, “2018 has been the most difficult year in modern history to be a farmer. Farmers are strong people and can deal with more than most will ever have to, but we all have a breaking point. Pay attention, listen when someone just needs to be heard. Be a shoulder to cry on if needed. Be kind — you never know how much someone might be dealing with. People are good at hiding their struggles and pain.”

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It’s milking time, and Daisy Herr, 13, gets started Monday evening at Golden Rose.

As Rusty and one of his daughters, Daisey, 13, began milking Monday evening, younger daughter Maddie, 12, fed the cats and prepared to join in. Their dad started a pot of coffee and prepared to feed.

“It’s a bittersweet thing,” he said as we concluded the interview as night fell. “The decision was difficult, but we’re all looking forward to what’s next, even if we don’t know what that looks like at the moment. For now, I’m focusing on the auction on Feb. 9, and trusting God has our back.”


“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

 

Jeremiah 29:11

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Rusty pushes up and gets ready to feed while daughter Daisy milks and daughter Maddie helps with other chores. He says Alli, 15, Daisy, 13, and Maddie, 12, have been taking turns with the milking. Son Jeremiah, 9, helps Heather’s mom with feeding calves.

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Thompson, Peterson introduce Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act of 2019

schoolmilkiStock-510657195web.jpgBipartisan bill would allow whole milk as option in school cafeterias

WASHINGTON – Making good on a promise to introduce legislation to bring whole milk back to schools, U.S. Representative Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson (R-PA) has joined forces with House Agriculture Committee Chairman Collin Peterson (D-MN) to introduce a bipartisan bill to allow for unflavored and flavored whole milk to be offered in school cafeterias.

H.R. 832, the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act of 2019 recognizes the importance of milk to the health and well-being of growing children.

Last year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue directed USDA to allow schools to serve 1% low-fat flavored milk in school meal programs that had been restricted previously to fat-free flavored milk.

H.R. 832 would take this further to allow whole milk to be included as well.

 

“Milk is the No. 1 source of nine essential nutrients in the diets of our students, but if they don’t drink it these health benefits are lost,” Rep. Thompson said in a press release Wednesday (Jan. 30). “Milk consumption has been declining in schools throughout the nation because kids are not consuming the varieties of milk being made available to them. It is my hope that the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act will bring a wider range of milk options to American lunchrooms so students can choose the kind they love best.”

“I’m proud to join Congressman Thompson in this effort that will provide more choices for nutritious and healthy milk to kids in schools, and a valuable market for dairy farmers in Minnesota, Pennsylvania and nationwide at a time when they’re continuing to face extremely difficult market conditions,” Chairman Peterson said in a statement.

Rep. Peterson is Chairman of the House Ag Committee and Rep. Thompson is a member of the House Ag Committee.

Thompson is also a member of the House Committee on Education and Workforce to which the bill was referred after its introduction on Jan. 29.

The nine original co-sponsors of the bill include Agriculture Committee Republican Leader Mike Conaway (R-TX) and three members of the Committee on Education and Workforce to which the bill was referred — Rep. Lloyd Smucker (R-PA), Rep. Dan Meuser (R-PA) and Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY).

Additional co-sponsors are Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), Rep. Rodney Davis (R-IL), Rep. John Joyce (R-PA), and Rep. Mike Kelly(R-PA).

In a press release late last week, Thompson gave some background on this bill. He noted that in 2010, Congress passed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act which amended nutrition standards in the School Lunch Program.  Among the changes, the law mandated that flavored milk must be fat-free within the program.

This 2010 law, along with lower participation in the program, led to an alarming decline in milk consumption in schools since 2010. Declining milk consumption in schools not only impacts students, but also dairy farm families and rural communities across the nation.

Two years ago, to help encourage nutritious options in the School Lunch Program and increase consumption, Rep. Thompson introduced legislation – H.R. 4101, the School Milk Nutrition Act of 2017 – which provided schools the option to serve 1% low-fat flavored milk varieties.

In May of 2017, the USDA announced a rule that allowed schools to receive waivers for low-fat (1%) flavored milk, rather than only fat-free, which is the essence of H.R. 4101.

On January 29, 2019, Rep. Thompson introduced this bipartisan bill — H.R. 832, the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act of 2019. This legislation builds on the previous bill and USDA’s rule by allowing whole milk (both unflavored and flavored) to be offered within the School Lunch Program.

Producers and consumers are urged to contact their representatives to support this bill. Key members of Congress to reach out to on the Committee on Education and Workforce, which will be the committee to consider the bill, include Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT), Chairman Bobby Scott (D-VA), Rep. Marsha Fudge (D-OH). View all Congressmen and women serving on this committee here

Follow the progress of H.R. 832, the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act of 2019 here.

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