DMI announces dairy checkoff programme outcomes

Dairy Management Inc, which manages the US national dairy checkoff programme, recently announced significant outcomes in 2023. “This past year, we built on our collective successes while defining the next chapter of the checkoff’s history,” said Barbara O’Brien, president and CEO of Dairy Management Inc. and the Innovation Center for US Dairy, a voluntary organisation that works to foster collaboration and progress to advance US dairy’s interest. “ASPIRE is the acronym for our strategic areas of focus (Sustainability, People, Innovation, Reputation, Exports) and staffs at local, national and international levels have worked together to deliver meaningful results and ensure funders see a whole new level of transparency and accountability for their investment.”

Highlights include:

  • Research and technology advancements: The checkoff actively engaged in research and piloted technologies, implementing best management practices to offer economically viable sustainability solutions for farmers.
  • Feed in Focus programme: A key achievement is the new Feed in Focus program, which involved 31 farms, covered more than 9,000 acres and 20,000 cows, and disbursed nearly $500,000 in farmer incentives.
  • Net Zero Initiative and Environmental Goals: More than $10 million (€9.1m) in new commitments from external partners and organizations were secured for the Net Zero Initiative programs targeting 2050 environmental goals, including $7.2 million in Greener Cattle Initiative grants.
  • Innovation Center’s Full Value-Chain Momentum: The Innovation Center bolstered engagement and collaboration with 39 companies representing 75% of the milk supply joining the US Dairy Stewardship Commitment, and a significant increase in participation at various sustainability convening meetings.

Innovation:

  • Domestic Foodservice Growth: More than 200 million milk equivalent pounds of growth were achieved through partnerships with major foodservice brands.
  • Growth Landscapes Activation: The checkoff activated three major growth landscapes in health and wellness, foodservice, and beverage, inspiring innovation across the industry.
  • Science and Research Modernisation: Collaborations with Mayo Clinic, University of California-Davis, and Cornell have led to significant advancements in dairy research.

Innovation Center for US Dairy:

Advanced US dairy’s collective engagement and progress within the pre-competitive social responsibility areas important to consumers and customers, including:

  • Increased US Dairy Stewardship Commitment adopters to 39 companies representing 75% of the milk supply.
  • Increased membership within the Dairy Sustainability Alliance to 200 member companies and organisations.
  • Achieved strong attendance and engagement at key industry and broader agricultural meetings including the Dairy Sustainability Alliance Fall meeting (335 attendees) and the Sustainable Ag Summit (record attendance of 925 people).

Reputation:

  • “See Dairy Differently” Campaign: This Undeniably Dairy partnership with Washington Post, USA Today and Wired challenges consumer and thought leader misconceptions about dairy production and has garnered over 180 million impressions.
  • Increased Web Traffic: Strategic content planning has drawn more than 4.3 million views from 3.1 million users to USDairy.com.
  • High-Profile Media Engagements: Leveraging dairy nutrition and environmental science, stories about farmers and sustainable production, popular trends and recipes, the checkoff secured media placements in major and local outlets reaching nearly 2.7 billion readers.
  • Health Authority Partnerships: Collaborations with Mayo Clinic and National Medical Association enhanced the reputation of dairy in health and science circles.

 

Exports/International:

  • Export Growth: Despite challenges, there has been a significant increase in exports, particularly through a partnership with Yum China to grow US cheese use, delivering 10.8 million cheese pounds so far.
  • Permanent Menu Innovation Focus: DMI began to shift focus from mainly short-term promotional support to include permanent menu innovation and new products, including Domino’s Pan Pizza launching in Saudi Arabia and UAE, which utilises 20% more US cheese, and AMPI’s Dinner Bell Creamery premium processed cheese expanding across specialty burger chain menus in China.

“I’m so proud to see the checkoff continue to prioritize outreach and engagement with farmers, ensuring that our voices are heard and reflected in all initiatives,” said Virginia dairy farmer and National Dairy Promotion and Research Board Chair Joanna Shipp. “Our revitalised annual meeting and farmer-led board meetings are a testament to this commitment, offering opportunities for farmer interaction and feedback that is reflected in checkoff’s local and national plans.”

O’Brien added, “The focus for 2024 remains on delivering short-term demand and sales at the same time we’re building the pipeline for future growth through science and innovation.  And we’ll continue to engage farmers from across the country, securing their input, listening to feedback, sharing the work and results in a way we know resonates.”

For more information about the dairy checkoff, visit www.usdairy.com/for-farmers.

 

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