How much dairy do you drink or eat every day? Do you take it for granted?
Consider that a lot of milk produced on farms doesn’t hit supermarket shelves as fresh milk. In fact, a whopping 9% of milk collected on American dairy farms goes solely toward producing ice cream. A very minuscule percentage of fresh milk sold after the farm ends up on food bank shelves, despite it being one of the most requested items.
Food banks often serve families with young children. Kids up to age two need the fat from fatty foods like whole milk for proper nerve and brain development, and they’re not getting enough of it if they are relying on a large portion of food bank-provided meals at home.
Enter the Great American Milk Drive, which partners with Feeding America to bring awareness to the lack of fresh milk in food banks and collects donations to provide that milk to Feeding America food banks nationwide. The Drive has delivered more than 1.8 million gallons of milk or over 28 million servings to food banks since its inception in 2014. Companies in the dairy industry have taken notice of the Great American Milk Drive’s cause and stepped up to support it with some light public outreach.
Cargill, for example, is a manufacturer of nutrition products for dairy farms. They are debuting their HerdFirst line of nutrition for calves and heifers, so to drum up awareness and support the Great American Milk Drive with up to 80,000 servings of milk, they’re turning to Facebook.
Up until October 31, 2018, dairy-farming Facebook users can choose the special HerdFirst profile picture frame and use the hashtag #putyourherdfirst to talk about caring for the dairy animals in their farming operation. For everyone who participates, Cargill has pledged to donate to the Milk Drive.
Dairy farmers like Katie Dotterer-Pyle are confident in the campaign’s ability to facilitate conversation about both the importance of well-rounded nutrition for kids and the strides toward healthy care for dairy animals that farmers are making.
“This campaign is genius and very thoughtful… It’s a great way to show the public that we do indeed put our herds first. If a good number of farmers participate, I think it will make a positive impact on consumers,” says Dotterer-Pyle.
If you’re interested in hearing what dairy farmers have to say about their herds, check out the #putyourherdfirst conversation on Facebook. You don’t need to be a dairy farmer to support food banks or the Great American Milk Drive. Donate to The Great American Milk Drive or look into supporting your local food bank.