STRIVING TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE
ALLIED MILK PRODUCERS’ COOPERATIVE, INC.
Organized by dairy farmers for farmers in 1950, Allied has valued the opinions of those they represent and work to wisely administer the dairy farmers’ checkoff dollars. How do they do this?
Meeting monthly, the Board of ‘farmer’ Directors consider proposals (some of which come from contributors), and then vote on what they judge to be advertising, promotions, and research that encourage consumers to drink more whole milk and use real dairy products.
Billboards and radio remain a valuable tool in advertising, earning continued support from the farming communities that Allied serves. Updated creative images and scripts promote key messages of milk’s nutritional value, local availability, and highlight the variety of dairy choices for meal planning.
A talented production company has provided a rotation of seasonal television commercials that are timely and informational. These are being aired currently on six stations in various parts of Pennsylvania.
Realizing a shift in media used by consumers, Allied has an established website, revised as needed, and has added Face Book to publish pertinent articles, share dairy recipes, provide dairy resources, inform the public of promotional events, and encourage feedback from consumers.
EDUCATION – KEY TO INFORMING YOUNG AND OLD
For many years, Allied Milk Producers’ Cooperative has supported school programs through printing and free distribution of educational two pocket folders, providing dairy farming information, activities, and kid designed recipes. This program has been expanded to all elementary schools in ten counties, with additional requests coming from teachers and county dairy princesses and promotion groups outside the coverage area. Total folder count from last school year was over 65,000 with that number likely to be exceeded this current school year.
Two life sized ‘Incredible Milking Cows’, purchased for their educational potential, are paying for themselves. One is located in the Lancaster area and makes it way to a number of festivals and parades throughout the year. The second is housed in Western PA and has been on the road to an increasing number of school districts and farm events where students -and adults -experience ‘milking the cow’ and learning more about where their dairy products come from.
Teachers attending the PA Friends of Agriculture Ag Institute at Penn State each summer, qualify for Allied sponsorship. These educators are provided a wide range of information and activities on PA agriculture to share with their students. This year’s Teacher of the Year was an Allied sponsored teacher from last year’s class and used many of our dairy resources in her classroom.
Partnering with a local radio station, a teacher and his/her classroom are selected for an ice cream party each month. A hands-on dairy activity, based on age appropriateness, is part of the classroom visitation.
GRASSROOTS EVENTS AND PROMOTIONS
The Allied Board of Directors have become selective at funding promotions and events. Thoughtful investments are made in venues that provide the most ‘bang for the buck’. Examples of these are WITF, Harrisburg Public Media Center’s Get
Ready, Set, Go Kindergarten at which hundreds of young children and their parents engage in hands-on activities, Women’s Expos drawing family consumers to educational exhibits, and Dairy Day events that highlight the dairy industry at amusement parks, race tracks, and stadiums.
Allied contributors have an opportunity to request funding for dairy products at events they are hosting/attending. In providing product, dairy consumption is encouraged, and the dairy farmers have a return on their checkoff dollars.
Sponsorship at the All American Dairy Show in Harrisburg, and various other dairy organization shows and events, demonstrates the commitment to current and future farmers.
The Pennsylvania Dairy Princess Program continues to be a valuable resource. Allied board members recognize the impact the county committees and dairy princesses have on promoting the dairy industry throughout the state. Sponsorship of this organization is money well spent!
INVESTMENT IN RESEARCH
Allied Milk Producers’ has been working with our producers in Texas and Dairy Innovations to increase the demand and sales of milk. The spore research in Texas continues, but there is a way for standard pasteurization to compete with Ultra High Temperature
pasteurization. The powerful tool of microfiltration has been found to have significant quality benefits without losing the flavor of milk. Micro-filtrated milk’s superior flavor profile, extended shelf life, and natural process technology allow it to be used in expanded markets and increase demand and sales.
DO WE MEASURE UP?
Allied Milk Producers’ Cooperative may have fewer contributors than other qualified checkoff organizations but, the Allied board, along with a part-time staff of three in a relatively small office, have been able to accomplish a significant amount of advertising with the dollars allocated, remaining grassroots and attentive to our member dairy farmers. Allied’s responsible board members remain focused on their objectives:
- to increase milk consumption through a variety of advertising media, promotions, and research
- provide ‘visible’ advertising so member farmers can recognize their hard-earned dollars at work
- follow the guidelines established by USDA for qualified check off organizations.
Allied Milk Producers’ Cooperative, Inc. – striving to use the dairy farmer’s checkoff investment by sending dairy messages and information to an ever-changing consumer base.