It’s easy to get wrapped up in your day-to-day tasks. Perhaps you are testing finished products or running new concepts through a pilot plant. Or maybe you are making sales calls or purchasing ingredients. Whatever your job, you just want to get through today.

But at some point, you need to step back and see the bigger picture. You are not just making dairy products. You are feeding your community (and your nation) with nutritious foods or fun-to-eat treats. And your opposite numbers in other dairy plants across the country are doing the same thing.

The month of June is a 30-day period when dairy processors can feel part of a larger community. June has been designated National Dairy Month.

The big dairy associations — Dairy Management Inc. and the International Dairy Foods Association — look out for your interests. They promote the value of milk and foods made from milk. DMI’s affiliates conduct research and help develop new products. IDFA lobbies on behalf of policies supportive of dairy processors. June is a good time to thank them for the support they provide. Make sure your company takes full advantage of what they do.


Undeniably a good idea

Timed for National Dairy Month, DMI’s Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy launched a multipronged, multiyear campaign that educates consumers about milk, dairy foods and dairy farmers. It provides much-needed perspective on the nutrition of dairy foods compared to non-dairy and plant-based alternatives. The name of the campaign is “Undeniably Dairy.”

At a media briefing in May, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer Beth Engelmann said the Innovation Center is being proactive and “loud and proud” about dairy.

“We feel that now is the absolute right time to come together with one voice to share the community’s story – to celebrate the delicious, nutritious foods in the dairy aisle and the people who bring them to your table,” said Innovation Center President Barbara O’Brien in a statement.

DMI represents nearly 42,000 U.S. dairy farmers and importers. The campaign also addresses sustainable farming and animal welfare. For processors, perhaps the most relevant component of Undeniably Dairy is its unabashed support of the enjoyment of eating dairy foods, whether it’s cheese on a pizza, whipped cream from an aerosol can, an ice cream sundae or milk in a latte.

This month you’ll see ads on the Food Network and Cooking Channel. Farmers are holding open houses to teach their communities about modern dairy farming practices.


Playing the dairy name game

In Washington, D.C., IDFA and the National Milk Producers Federation (a dairy farmers lobby) are pressing the Food and Drug Administration to enforce its definition of the word “milk.” IDFA notes that federal standards of identity stipulate that milk and related foods have to be made from animal sources to use these established dairy terms.

Since dairy processors have to abide by the definitions, other beverage processors (like those bottling almond or silk milk) should too. These so-called nondairy milks are “misleading to consumers, harmful to the dairy industry and a violation of milk’s standard of identity,” according to a letter written by IDFA and NMPF and sent to Congress.

The two associations are playing another name game. This one is called “geographical indicators.” Their opponent is the European Union, which wants to reserve the use of names like feta and Parmesan to cheeses made only in Greece and Italy, respectively. American cheesemakers rightly call “foul.”


It will be an honor

Now let’s bring the conversation back to you; specifically to fluid milk processors. Dairy Foods and the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPEP) are honoring the best marketing campaigns of milk bottlers over the last 18 months. These marketing programs can include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • MilkPEP programs such as the 2016 Olympics, The Great American Milk Drive, Built with Chocolate Milk or My Morning Protein.
  • Participation in farmers’ markets, 5K/marathon races, school field trips or similar events.
  • In-store point-of-sale marketing, including door clings, floor graphics, sampling, cooking demonstrations or spokesperson appearances.
  • Social media campaigns on Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter or other platforms.
  • Advertising efforts in print, broadcast, electronic, digital and other outlets.
  • Public relations campaigns.

The winning dairy will be crowned the Milk Marketer of the Year. The entry deadline is July 31. Enter at

Take a moment this month to celebrate the role you play in America’s food chain. Happy Dairy Month!