Dairy processors, producers and industry representatives were joined by more than 1,200 attendees and government officials at Dairy Day at the Capitol held June 12 at the State Capitol in Lansing, Michigan. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder proclaimed the day as Dairy Day in Michigan to officially celebrate the state’s $5.9 billion dairy industry and recognize its farmers’ and processors’ commitment to healthy people, healthy communities and a healthy planet.

Former Detroit Lions defensive tackle and two-time pro bowler Luther Elliss was on hand to convey the importance of participating in 60 minutes of physical activity each day and choosing nutrient-rich foods like low-fat and fat-free dairy foods.

Michigan’s dairy farmers and processors are staunch supporters of Governor Snyder's 4x4 Plan for Health and Wellness to help fight childhood obesity.

Elliss led a group of third grade to sixth grade students from the Oak Park YMCA Summer Camp program in a flash workout session to the “I Like to Move It, Move It!” soundtrack from Madagascar 2.


He was joined on the Capitol building steps by United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM) dietitians, the Detroit Lions mascot Roary and Gary Davis from Prairie Farms.


Government representatives included Sue Esser from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development, and Michigan Senators Judy Emmons and Joe Hune and Representatives Jim Ananich, Charles Brunner, Kevin Daley, Kevin Green, Ed McBroom and Phil Potvin.

Attendees, all equipped with stretch bands, took part in a second exercise activity to the song “Interlude” before being released to enjoy a number of free dairy food samples, including a wide variety of cheeses, flavored milk, ice cream and yogurt, distributed by various dairy organizations.

Dairy farming is the top ranking segment of Michigan’s second-largest industry, agriculture. In 2011, dairy cows in Michigan produced nearly 8.5 billion pounds of milk, which is the equivalent of 1.06 billion gallons of milk.

According to the USDA, 98 percent of Michigan dairy farms are family-owned and -operated, sometimes by multiple generations of a family.

Dairy Day at the Capitol has been sponsored and organized by the Michigan Dairy Foods Association, a trade and membership service organization representing all aspects of the dairy processing industry in Michigan, for more than 20 years. PD

—From Michigan Dairy Foods Association news release

TOP RIGHT: Rethink your drink: Roary, the Detroit Lions mascot, and Luther Elliss promote the health benefits of drinking chocolate milk.

TOP MIDDLE: Gary Davis, from Prairie Farms, welcomes attendees to Dairy Day at the Capitol in Lansing on June 12. Also pictured, left to right, are: Julia Rice, United Dairy Industry of Michigan dietitian; Roary, the Detroit Lions mascot; Luther Elliss, former Detroit Lions defensive tackle and two-time Pro Bowler; Representative Jim Ananich; Representative Charles Brunner; Senator Joe Hune; Representative Phil Potvin; Representative Kevin Green; Senator Judy Emmons (partially hidden); and Sue Esser, Dairy Division from the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development. Photos courtesy of the United Dairy Industry of Michigan.