Dairy farmers started the checkoff to increase demand for dairy. One population that needs it most has the hardest time getting it: the needy and hungry who must turn to food banks, where milk has traditionally been in short supply despite a high demand.

In fact, the average food pantry client has access to just 1 gallon of milk per year. One gallon of milk. For an entire year.

Enter the checkoff, represented by the National Dairy Council (NDC) and your state and regional checkoff staffs, in conjunction with MilkPEP representing America’s fluid milk processors and Feeding America with its network of food banks.

In April 2014, we teamed up to create the Great American Milk Drive (GAMD) to find ways to increase the availability of fluid milk for our country’s most vulnerable citizens, primarily through a model that encourages consumers to donate dollars that are turned into vouchers food bank clients can use to purchase milk at local retailers.

To date, more than 700,000 gallons of milk have been donated to food banks through GAMD, meaning 11 million more servings of milk to hungry families with more and more to come.


National and local checkoff staffs partner and work with retailers and many other groups to reach out to those who can connect consumers with milk.

This includes the development of tools, resources, education and training of food bank staff and community members, grants to purchase refrigerators and refrigerated trucks, and other opportunities. NDC and Feeding America also are looking at efficient ways to have food banks purchase milk from processors directly.

Schools get into the act as well, often through Fuel Up to Play 60, the dairy checkoff’s landmark in-school nutrition and physical activity initiative in partnership with the NFL. When students, schools and districts mobilize to make a difference for the needy, it builds a bridge between the school, the community and dairy farmers, and helps your next generation of consumers connect with agriculture.

This is just one way the checkoff is working with others to turn around decades upon decades of decreases in fluid milk consumption.

Active participation in GAMD reinforces dairy farmers’ role in feeding the world and your position as a valued community member, which helps protect your license to operate. All while moving more dairy.  PD

Your Dairy Checkoff in Action – The following update is provided by Dairy Management Inc. (DMI), which manages the national dairy checkoff program on behalf of America’s dairy farmers and dairy importers. DMI is the domestic and international planning and management organization responsible for increasing sales of and demand for dairy products and ingredients.