The dairy producer directors of Dairy Management Inc.™ (DMI), which manages the national dairy checkoff program, have approved an agreement with Fonterra Cooperative Group, Ltd., of New Zealand to jointly fund a strategic research plan to further investigate the health benefits of whey.

“This pre-competitive agreement between America’s dairy producers and Fonterra creates a new approach to funding science that can lead the dairy industry to increased sales by showing dairy’s competitive advantage over other protein-based products,” said Tom Gallagher, chief executive officer of DMI.

The partnership reflects DMI’s role as a catalyst and innovator to establish new markets on behalf of America’s dairy producers, Gallagher said.

“The agreement with DMI leverages our mutual resources to advance the nutritional value of dairy proteins and enhance the image of dairy products and ingredients worldwide,” said Bob Major, Fonterra’s director of innovation.

“Initial research efforts will focus mainly on identifying the positive nutritional attributes of whey as they relate to body composition, in order to help lay the framework for a future marketing claim for whey protein,” said Greg Miller, Ph.D., executive vice president of innovation for National Dairy Council®, the nutrition research, education and communications arm of DMI.

As part of the agreement, U.S. dairy producer-funded research will focus on body composition as it relates to the overall adult population, while Fonterra’s efforts will focus on body composition as it relates to sports nutrition. The results of these studies will be jointly shared, and will be made available to U.S. dairy food manufacturers.

  This partnership is expected to lead to expanded research in nutrition and dairy product development. Other potential nutrition research areas could include cardiovascular health, immunology, bone health, and glucose control for diabetics.

“This agreement is good news for U.S. dairy producers,” said Paul Rovey, Arizona dairy producer and chairman of DMI. “It is a prime example of how our investment in promotion and research works with industry partners to carve a quicker path toward new U.S. dairy product and ingredient sales, both nationally and internationally.”

For more information about producer-funded dairy checkoff programs, visit