Archive for April, 2007
Originally called “Wattsville,” Perry www.perryga.com is now known to many as the “Crossroads of Georgia” because of its location at the intersection of Highways US 341, US 41, GA 127, and I-75. Because of its central location and, since it’s “handy” on the way to so many places in Georgia, it has taken advantage of this fact and grown tourism into its number one industry.
Founded in 1821, Georgia’s history and culture are rich and deep and merit your trip there to explore it all at length. Of course the area is famous for peaches and pecans! Everywhere you look is an image of a Georgia peach, including water towers, billboards, and city welcome signs. As you near the central Georgia area, a prominent peach orchard appears on your right with a simple sign touting a website as “Growers and Shippers of Georgia Peaches and Pecans.” This is www.lanepacking.com, a large operation that can be accessed right off the interstate. In Perry, a local institution is Priester Pecans www.priester.com.
Perry has taken steps to preserve its culture in a meaningful and admirable way. This includes a walking tour that begins at the New Perry Hotel www.newperryhotel.com which showcases some 40 restored and documented historic sites around town, including several buildings built in the 1820’s through the civil war period and thereafter. Beautifully restored older homes of all sizes with wraparound porches, interesting woodwork and trim and shutters are seemingly everywhere. I only had time for a quick stop in town the evening after the sale but was taken by the quaint streets, shops, churches, and other structures of note and a special treat was when the chimes at the courthouse played an interlude of several tunes that hung in the air and provided atmosphere such that I felt I was the only person downtown.
If you are interested in the area of central Georgia and enjoy antiquing, take in the Georgia Antique Trail, also found on www.perryga.com A link can also be found there to another prominent local site for tourists, the Andersonville War Museum and historic site, the Confederate prison camp known as Camp Sumter. A good general site for those interested in Georgia attractions is www.georgiaonmymind.com. Tomorrow, watch for some photos featuring downtown scenes in Perry.
Perhaps one of the most uplifting trips I make every year in my position with Holstein World is a short trip in April to the Old South-Perry, Georgia. From the time I land in one of America’s busiest airports in Atlanta, to the time when I head home again two days later, it is a festival for all the senses we as human beings have. I’d like to share a little of that with our readers if I can. There’s a great charm to the landscape beginning when you head south on Interstate 75 for an hour and a half, traveling through what I’ve heard referred to as “The Pine Tunnels.” You’ll leave the suburbs of Atlanta and proceed through Macon.
Macon www.cityofmacon.net is the home of the Harriet Tubman Museum www.tubmanmuseum.com among other attractions. Along the way you’ll observe trees completely leafed out (as opposed to spring just beginning at home, or maybe hasn’t arrived in the North, even) and flowers blooming everywhere including honeysuckle, roses and wild flowers in the highway right of way. The rich red dirt in the area is home to many thousands of pecan and peach trees, although you see the rapid encroachment of development is making those areas fewer and more precious to see. As you approach Perry, you’ll begin to comprehend the importance of agriculture to the local economy of central Georgia. From fruit and nut production to beef, dairy, and equine pursuits, the entire community is extremely supportive of agriculture, both in terms of where they have come from historically, and where they are headed. You’ll find one of the finest venues for Agricultural events anywhere in the Georgia National Fairgrounds www.gnfa.com. This super 628 acre facility is beautifully landscaped with a fountain, lakes and gardens. Throughout the year, the schedule includes many events which culminate in October with the Georgia National Fair www.georgianationalfair.com said to be one of the very best in the region.
A highly active Holstein community can be found within the Georgia Holstein Association. It’s a highly progressive group that conducts their annual Southern Invitational Sale each year with class, professionalism, and integrity. Many prominent individuals in the breed have crossed the shavings at this sale over the years. View www.holsteinworld.com to check out the specifics of the sale and show this year and~tomorrow-tune in for A Magical Experience: The Town of Perry.
This is a huge pecan grove just outside of Perry beside the highway. Notice that bright red dirt! It was very late in the day and I pulled into the end of a driveway to get a few shots, when a pickup truck hurried up in a cloud of dust-I was sure I had run into someone who was suspicious of what I was doing and might be a little upset. The very polite gentleman in the truck, when I quickly explained I was taking a few photos of the area, said, “Oh, that ain’t no problem! I was just leaving- I didn’t come to bother you-go right ahead!” So-I did.
What do you do to make June Dairy Month special? If you are looking for ways to incorporate a June Dairy Month celebration in your community, take a look at some of the ideas I was able to find. Keep in mind that June is just a month away! Now is the time to get some of these ideas rolling.
Breakfast on the Farm – Work with your county ADA or local chamber of commerce to host a breakfast on your farm this year! Employ the help and assistance of organizations you work with in the community – have your banker serve some pancakes, your implement dealer arrange clean-up, your local dairy princesses give tours around the farm and the 4-H and FFA organizations arrange kids activities. This is a great event that creates an opportunity for the whole community to come together promoting dairy through on-farm education and some good food!
June Dairy Month Baby – Each baby born in the month of June can be entered into a drawing to win the title of June Dairy Month Baby. The winning family receives a basket of dairy products, animal toys and coupons for dairy products.
Other ideas include:
Dairy product donations to local food shelves.
Dairy trivia contests on local radio stations.
Community parade appearances.
Dairy nights at sporting events.
Community celebrity cow milking contests.
Milk mustache contests.
There is no doubt many more ideas out there to help celebrate June Dairy Month. Do you have any you’d like to share? Drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I can post your ideas in the blog.
As I was compiling information for this blog subject on milk promotion, I was given the following information for websites that provide useful information about dairy farming and dairy products. Surf the web and take a look, then pass along the addresses to your friends and family. I was impressed especially by this first website. Launched within the last year, I think it does a great job painting a picture of many of our family farms. Happy surfing!
Learn how modern dairy farm families care for their animals and protect the land while growing healthy farming businesses for future generations.
The latest news and information about the 3-A-Day of Dairy program, including great-tasting recipes and valuable nutrition education information.
Everything you ever wanted to know about cheese.
The best of the “got milk?®” Milk Mustache campaign.
Information and media resource about the health benefits of dairy products.
Ideas and tools for parents, educators and school foodservice professionals to keep kids on the right track to healthy eating, including dairy’s role in the Food Guide Pyramid.
Recipes and cooking tips regarding the great taste and versatility of butter.
Industry information regarding the national dairy producer checkoff and its programs.
Information and resources regarding dairy animal care issues.
News and resources on a variety of food safety topics.
3-3-03, what a great day to start a new advertising campaign! Especially if your message is centered on the number 3. This day was the official nationwide launch of the 3-A-Day of Dairy campaign. The simple message aimed at encouraging consumers to have 3 servings of dairy each day – milk, cheese or yogurt – started off with a bang and has continued to increase consumer demand across the country. So, what’s up with 3-A-Day these days? To find out, I visited www.3aday.org and was welcomed with an abundance of 3-A-day information!
The message is quite simple, 3-A-Day of Dairy is as easy as 1-2-3:
1. Look for the 3-A-Day logo on packages of milk, cheese and yogurt showing they are an excellent source of calcium.
2. Enjoy your favorite flavors of great-tasting milk, snackable cheeses or portable yogurt.
3. Take a “3 p.m. Break” every day. Use this time as a reminder to tally daily dairy servings. If falling short, it’s a good time to work in another one.
If you’re like me, you probably easily get your 3-A-Day…and some. It’s hard to believe that just 1-8 oz. glass of milk or 8 oz. container of yogurt is a serving! Most people don’t realize that getting their 3-A-Day of dairy is this simple. And the rewards are so great!! Stronger bones and healthier bodies are a direct result of the essential nutrients dairy provides.
Further surfing around the website revealed a variety of resources. Recipes & snacks, tips & tools, mom’s corner, dairy & your health – these are some of the different areas of the site where you can learn more. But again I’d like to emphasize that the purpose of this blog subject is not for just you to learn about these different promotional programs our check-off dollars support, but to then take this information and share it with those around you! For that, I have created my own 3-A-Day campaign…
Each day, or at least each week, accomplish the following:
1. Visit with your kids, grandkids or neighbor kids about the importance of dairy in their diets. Encourage them to share this info with their friends, classmates and teachers.
2. Eat three servings of dairy and tell someone about it. We can spread our message by being examples of healthy consumers ourselves.
3. Spice your 3-A-Day up a bit. Try new flavors or varieties of milk, cheese and yogurt. Keep it interesting!
If you have some fun ways you spread the message of 3-A-Day, let me know! I’d love to share them with our readers in the blog. Not to mention it’s a great way to get ideas rolling for activities to coordinate in your area for June is Dairy Month. Its just around the corner!
Interesting side note: As I write this blog message this morning, I am snacking on Quaker Oatmeal Squares with some nice, cool milk in my 3-A-Day of Dairy glass. I assure you, this was not planned! The irony made me smile and I just had to share
On Wednesday, the end of my blog briefly mentioned doing a classroom visit in your area. There are many dairy farmer volunteers out there that take the extra hour out of their day to accomplish this small task that results in huge rewards! It basically comes down to this simple question: Would you prefer to have the next generation of consumers learning about agriculture and dairy farming from a teacher who also has to be an expert to them on reading, writing, spelling, math, etc. OR a real dairy farmer who knows the ins and outs of the industry and the important information to share with the students?
Try and remember your days back in the classroom. Do you recall the weekly spelling tests or the daily math lessons? Or do the memories of a special visitor, like a dairy farmer or dairy princess, stick out more in your mind? All classrooms can be different, but more often than not, the kids are genuinely happy, excited and interested in what you have to say! They love asking questions. In fact, classroom visits tend to be 10% presentation and 90% answering questions. Therefore, as a presenter, there doesn’t need to be a tremendous amount of effort on your end preparing for these visits.
Our dairy checkoff program works to encourage dairy in the schools through a variety of programs. One of these programs is Nutrition Explorations. Ideas and tools for parents, educators and school foodservice professionals to keep kids on the right track to healthy eating are just a mouse click away. The website, www.nutritionexplorations.com, provides lesson plans, games, posters, meal ideas, and more to help promote a healthy diet but more specifically, dairy’s role in the Food Guide Pyramid. These resources are available for the wonderful cost of FREE!
One of the latest projects currently going on to help maintain and increase students desire to have milk with their meal is the Cold Milk Temperature Survey – Strive for 35°! The process is simple, encourage your school to logon to the Nutrition Explorations website and click on ‘Take Cold Milk Survey’ link. Here they can take the Milk Temperature Survey and read the Cold Milk Fact Sheet. Once they’ve filled out the survey they can enter their results into an online drawing for a chance to win a FREE cooler for their school! The next survey deadline is October 15, 2007.
Speaking of milk coolers in schools, how great is it that we now have milk vending machines in schools! If your school has not jumped on this popular bandwagon yet, information about starting a milk vending program is also available on the Nutrition Explorations website. Here you will find a variety of resources and research results to help get the process going. Often times a local FFA Chapter has been able to successfully add milk vending machines to their school and receive a portion of the profits.
Classroom visits, fun ways to learn about nutrition, cold & delicious milk, vending machines – these are just a few of the ways we can create a positive dairy experience for today’s students and tomorrow’s purchasing consumers. Not to mention it’s a great way to incorporate 3 servings a day into their diet. Speaking of 3-A-Day…ok, I’ll save that subject for another day. Have a great weekend!
Yesterday morning I had the chance to visit with Sherry Newell, Industry Relations and Communications Manager for the Midwest Dairy Association (MDA). This group is financed and directed by the dairy producers in nine states – Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and Eastern Oklahoma. Sherry was able to share with me some information on the latest promotional initiatives MDA is working on – People Behind the Product and “Speak Out!”
One of the newest ways for dairy producers to get involved and be a part of a promotional program, People Behind the Product emphasizes who dairy producers are – Dedicated, Responsible, Neighbors, The Future. The MDA website, www.midwestdairy.com, appropriately defines the dairy producer in these four areas and displays pictures of real-life dairy farm families on their operations. We are the “people behind the product” and it is our job to be the promoters of our product – that’s just good business sense. We need to keep our customers informed about dairy farming and milk production.
In late 2006, a toolkit called “Speak Out!” was introduced, accompanied by a training session for producers. This program encourages dairy farmers to make presentations to community groups in an effort to help them understand dairy farming more completely and to provide a personal connection to a dairy farmer in their area. The first training session was held in December and more are being organized. To date, 70 presentations have been scheduled and 50 have been completed.
“The ‘Speak Out!’ program is an ideal way for dairy producers to get involved and talk about what they do on a daily basis,” Newell shared. “We provide the training, resources, and practice sessions to prepare them. Then a scheduler with MDA works with each producer to arrange presentations in their area.” A minimal amount of extra effort is required by the producer to get these presentations set up.
The society of consumers in our country wants to know more about how their food is produced and wants to be able to ask questions and be given truthful answers. We need to provide them with a “winning message” that addresses their fears and concerns, uses the right words and presents it all with a simple delivery style. For example, prepare short answers to these top current concerns of consumers: Animal Care, Food Safety, Environment and Nutrition. The ‘Speak Out!’ program helps producers do just that.
Now, you might be saying to yourself, “But Im not in the nine state region of the Midwest Dairy Association. How can I ‘speak out’?” It may take a little more time and additional initiative on your part, but I guarantee you that the resources are out there for you to do something like this in your community. A simple call to your local chamber of commerce could put you in contact with groups that would be interested in having you come speak to them. Not to mention the wonderful audience your son or daughter’s school classroom can provide! I”m positive you don’t need a crown to catch their attention – although it does help! Speak out and be your own dairy prince or princess!
As dairy producers, and Registered breeders more specifically, we sometimes lose touch with promoting the other product we produce, MILK. This week in the All Breeds Blog we will be taking a look at the dairy production promotion resources available to dairy farmers and what our checkoff dollars are up to. There”s more to the story than “Got Milk?”!
If you have a dairy princess in your house, chances are you’ve become familiar with the checkoff program. In many states (maybe all, Im not 100% sure), the dairy princess program is directly funded by your checkoff dollars. This is just one of many programs that increases product promotion and displays a positive image of the dairy industry to consumers. As a former Princess Kay of the Milky Way, Minnesota’s official dairy spokesperson, Im going to put my “crown” back on this week and do a little digging to see what’s new and interesting in the world of product promotion.
A quick search online put me in touch with a number of valuable resources. In fact, if you visit www.dairycheckoff.com you can take a look at each of the entities the program is currently working with:
3-A-Day™ of Dairy
*Quick side note…did you know this program was launched on 3-3-03? That was the year that I was Princess Kay – I did over 20 radio interviews in one day. Talk about a memorable experience!
Action for Healthy Kids
If you’ve had the chance to sit down and see some TV lately, you may have noticed some new Subway® commercials promoting their new Subway Fresh Fit™ menu. This is visible proof of one of the checkoff goals – increase product demand. Subway® is the latest quick-serve restaurant chain to offer single-serve bottles of milk on their menu. According to Dairy Management Inc., zero restaurant chains served milk in plastic bottles in 2002. In 2004, there were 20,000, in 2006 there were 35,000 and in 2007 over 50,000 restaurants are serving milk in plastic bottles nationwide! That is truly phenomenal growth in a market that didn’t even exist in 2002.
Along these same lines of providing single-serve milk in plastic bottles, did you know that as of 2006 more than 6,000 schools have introduced this product to nearly 3.5 million children? And more than 35,000 quick-service outlets offer the single serve bottles. Combine these two areas with the restaurant chains and millions of pounds of additional milk sales have been generated in a very short amount of time!
Single-serve milk in plastic bottles has no doubt been a great addition to our product line to help sales. Other ideas include production innovation such as:
1. “Value-Added” Fluid Milk – Milk products that contain nutrient and vitamin fortification.
2. Fun, Flavored and Conveniently Packaged Products – Milk and cheese items that cater to the needs and tastes of children and parents.
3. Hispanic Cheeses – Specially formulated products to meet the need of the growing Hispanic population.
Maybe this information I’ve briefly touched on is stuff you already know, maybe some of it is surprising and new. No matter what the case, its important that we all take the time to be aware of the programs working to help increase demand in the dairy products we produce. Sometimes that means taking a break from daydreaming about the summer show season or chatting about the latest hot bull. So, put your “dairy princess crown” on and do your part to spread the positive dairy message we have!