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Dairy in the Schools

by in Miscellaneous | April 20, 2007

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!

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