The dairy industry has celebrated June dairy month for a long time. Historically, the industry has hosted on-farm breakfasts and tours to help consumers connect with dairy farmers. In the wake of COVID-19, Serena Schaffner, senior vice president of communications for Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), says the checkoff has been focusing on how to help dairy farmers make the most impact in the current world.
“Most of that work is with a focus on hunger,” Schaffner says. “We have been working with food banks and school feeding programs around the clock, especially as school started closing. For a couple of months, we’ve delivered milk, cheese butter and yogurt to those programs and those people who needed it, and we're continuing to do that.”
One easy way farmers can encourage their neighbors to donate milk to those in need is the Give A Gallon program. Give A Gallon is a year-round partnership between DMI and Feeding America.
“What's great about giveagallon.com, is that you actually can type in your area code for where you want your donation to go, and [a food bank in] that [area] will be the recipient of it versus just you know donating and not exactly knowing where their dollars go,” Schaffner says.
Another initiative the dairy industry is focused on this month is the 30 Days of Dairy campaign.
“There’s so much information out there and one of the things that we try to do is especially on National Dairy month when people are talking about it or sometimes it's trending online is helping our dairy farmers are there to share their story,” Schaffner says. “Whether it's about how they help out in their community, care for their animals, or even more recently, all of the steps that we're taking to ensure that while we're producing food that's good for people in a way that's good for the planet.”
Over the 30 days of June, you can expect farmers, processors and retailers, showcasing what the dairy industry does for people, the planet and local communities.
“It's just a great way to show unity and what we do as dairy farmers,” she adds.
Other fun June Dairy Month initiatives include:
• For every social post sharing what you’re grateful for using #GallonsOfGood during the month of June, DFA will donate $1 to help local food banks purchase milk through the Farmers Feeding Families Fund.
• Show your support of the dairy industry by posting a video or photo of you enjoying your favorite dairy product on social media! Use the hashtag #dairyproud in your post to enter for your chance to win a Lely t-shirt.