Minnesota just wrapped up a monumental week.
    By all accounts, we successfully re-branded Minnesota as the Bold North by, as NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell claimed, taking the Super Bowl to a whole new level.
    Between the Super Bowl Experience, all of the other events in town and the game itself, there were a number of innovative ways to participate and celebrate the big game.
    There was also one good lesson about the power of pairing up.
    You might have noticed it during the Super Bowl commercials.
    I’ve always felt that Super Bowl commercials are there for those of us who can’t imagine cheering for either of the teams playing. Most years, I skip watching the game itself – we don’t have a television in the barn – and just watch the commercials after.
    One of the best commercials this year, according to multiple rankings, was the commercial featuring Doritos and Mountain Dew.
    While I’m personally troubled that a joint commercial for junk foods claimed one of the top spots, I did find the commercial entertaining, mostly because Peter Dinklage and Morgan Freeman are incredible actors. And the strategy of pairing two major brands for one commercial makes sense.
    Pairing up allowed PepsiCo, the parent company of both Doritos and Mountain Dew, to split the cost of the commercial between two of its brands. With a reported price tag of $10 million for each 60-second spot, sharing the cost makes even more sense.
    Pairing up for the commercial also allowed the two brands to reach a greater audience. I suspect Doritos and Mountain Dew already share a similar audience, but each brand likely has its own fan base and both of those groups were pulled into one commercial.
    Pairing up for the Super Bowl was a strategy used by agriculture and the dairy community as well.
    Land O’Lakes paired NFL players with the cooperative’s own farmers for the inaugural Land O’Lakes Farm Bowl.
    On the Thursday before the Super Bowl, Land O’Lakes transformed 3M Arena at Mariucci on the University of Minnesota campus into a farming obstacle course. Six teams of two – made up of one current or retired NFL player and one Land O’Lakes farmer – competed in the series of farming challenges.
    The top two teams faced off for the title of Farm Bowl Champions, which ended up being Minnesota Vikings wide receiver, Stefon Diggs, and Land O’Lakes dairy farmer, JJ Nunes.
    We took the kids out of school that day so we could all go watch the Land O’Lakes Farm Bowl. I wanted them to see farming in the spotlight, to see the excitement generated by the event.
    Dan, Monika and Daphne just wanted to see Stefon Diggs and Kyle Rudolph stack hay bales. How cool is it for farm kids to see professional football players doing a chore they do every day?
    Land O’Lakes said the Farm Bowl was created to be “a fun and unique way to highlight the significant role of farmers and to help inspire the next generation to consider a career in modern agriculture.”
    The event was certainly a lot of fun and generated a lot of positive press about farming. By pairing farmers with NFL players, Land O’Lakes was able to highlight the hard work and dedication that both farmers and football players bring to their professions.
    Plus, pairing up allowed Land O’Lakes to tap into the NFL’s broader audience base, which helped the Farm Bowl’s message reach far more consumers than it would have with just farmers competing.
    Pairing up with the NFL has been part of the dairy community’s strategy with Fuel Up to Play 60 for almost 10 years now.
    Hosting the Super Bowl in Minneapolis gave Minnesota dairy farmers an opportunity to highlight the Fuel Up to Play 60 program as part of the Super Bowl Experience at the Minneapolis Convention Center.
    Dozens of dairy farmers, with help from a dozen or so NFL football players, interacted with hundreds of students in the #FuelUpExperience.
    The #FuelUpExperience was the capstone of an entire year of increased publicity for Fuel Up to Play 60. During each of the 52 weeks leading up to Super Bowl LII, one school in Minnesota was provided with a Fuel Up to Play 60 Breakfast-in-the-Classroom grant. These Super School Breakfast grants were given by the Minnesota Super Bowl Host Committee (MNSBHC) Legacy Fund.
    There’s definitely power in pairing up, especially for the dairy community. It helps us reach a larger audience with positive stories about dairy farming and dairy foods.
    I hope the Land O’Lakes Farm Bowl and Fuel Up to Play 60 will become part of a long list of pairings that benefit dairy farmers by bringing agricultural awareness and appetite for dairy to a whole new level.
    Sadie and her husband, Glen, milk 100 cows near Melrose, Minn. They have three children – Dan, 11, Monika, 8, and Daphne, 5. Sadie also writes a blog at www.dairygoodlife.com. She can be reached at sadiefrericks@gmail.com