Grassroots producer forums help drive 2004 dairy checkoff marketing plans

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ROSEMONT, Ill. – To ensure that national dairy checkoff programs stay focused on helping build demand on behalf of U.S. dairy producers, a series of five regional planning forums were held in March and April.

These programs aimed to obtain grassroots producer input into the checkoff’s 2004 Unified Marketing Plan.

More than 400 producers representing local dairy promotion boards nationwide participated in the forums.

Five platforms. Producers attending the forums reviewed five strategic platforms for driving dairy demand in 2004:

* Marketing channels, featuring key partnerships with retail grocery chains, national restaurant chains and food manufacturers, such as those participating in the 3-A-Day of Dairy campaign.

* Childhood nutrition, including the New Look of School Milk program, which aims to make “enhanced milk” (e.g., more flavors of milk in single-serve, plastic resealable containers available through the school feeding line, a’ la carte line and vending) pervasive in schools across the country.

* Innovation strategies, such as extended shelf life dairy products and other emerging technologies for dairy ingredients, including cheese, whey and dry milk.

* Dairy image programs, which help maintain and enhance consumer confidence in dairy products and dairy farming.

* Export marketing, including demand-building market development and expansion programs in Latin America, the Pacific Rim, Mexico, and other global markets.

Loud, clear. Two messages were heard loud and clear: make further strides in fixing school milk, and move forward with 3-A-Day of Dairy through additional partnerships with food manufacturers and food service companies.

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