Undeniably Dairy grant making a difference in Minnesota

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Undeniably Dairy grants provide Midwest dairy farmers the opportunity to connect with their communities and share their story. These grants are used for local promotion efforts to showcase that dairy is good for people, the planet and families. Farmers can use the grants to bring dairy to unexpected places, host on-farm events, engage with Generation Z and so much more. No activity is the same, but one thing is for certain — allowing farmers to showcase what they do to those around them is always a win.

This year has blown me away as I have seen Undeniably Dairy grants used for amazing dairy promotion. I love the ability to brainstorm and work with Minnesota farmers as we create local activations across the state that truly impact their communities. I appreciate the dairy farmers’ commitment to this grant program and am happy to see many repeat applicants each year. I am proud to have helped award 72 grants of 76 applicants to Minnesota dairy farmers in 2023. 

I have enjoyed seeing the diverse project ideas farmers submit for grants and am very proud to have been working on the grant program since its creation. I have seen dairy promoted in impactful ways, from funding equipment for school milk programs, bringing chocolate milk to high school athletes, on-farm events and even local promotions by county farmer groups. Some past grants that have stood out to me include a farmer who purchased and supplied Undeniably Dairy branded sippy cups to county youth through the Women Infants and Children program and local day cares. This effort made milk consumption easier for these groups and promoted milk for growing kids. 

Another more recent project included funding Undeniably Dairy branded popcorn bags used in a high school concession stand to distribute the snack to attendees. The variety and scale of these projects always impress me as Minnesota dairy farmers rise to the challenge of reaching Gen Z with new and inventive ways. 

I have also seen Undeniably Dairy grants used to share dairy’s story in the classroom. Another featured project connected a farmer with a middle school science teacher hosting a career day on the farm. This allowed them to share the various partners working on a dairy farm (employees, veterinarians, nutritionists, A.I. industry representatives, welders, mechanics, etc.). Each partner was featured at stations around the farm. This event showcased the career opportunities involved and their connection back to science in the classroom. 

It is no secret how impactful the Gen Z audience is and how important it is we reach them with dairy messaging. Throughout the past few years, this group has become a massive target for checkoff, and Undeniably Dairy grants are a great way to reach them. 

Midwest Dairy is focused on Gen Z because we have an opportunity to make sizeable changes to grow sales and trust for dairy with this age group, making them high-impact consumers. Gen Z is on track to be the best-educated generation yet and to have approximately $360 billion in disposable income. This doesn’t include the influence they also have on their parents. Research also shows that trust in dairy nutrition and sustainability drops from young adolescents to young adults. If we don’t reach Gen Z where they are, they’ll turn to other foods and beverages that align with their wants, needs and values.

Undeniably Dairy grants are available to Midwest Dairy farmers, dairy groups and agricultural organizations to help turn great ideas for promoting the dairy community to consumers into reality.

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