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Seven local dairy farmers recently helped 1,120 students from 78 schools in 48 school districts connect with dairy farming through seven virtual Fuel Up to Play 60 fall kickoff events hosted by American Dairy Association North East. Each farmer was joined by current or former National Football League (NFL) players and dairy advocates from the seven teams in the region.

Fuel Up to Play 60, a partnership between the National Dairy Council and the National Football League, is the national in-school youth development program funded by dairy farmers that encourages kids to eat a healthy diet that includes milk and dairy foods while getting at least 60 minutes of exercise each day.

“With many schools not holding in-person extracurricular activities, we’re helping students stay connected with Fuel Up to Play 60 through these virtual events featuring their favorite NFL teams,” said ADA North East CEO Rick Naczi. “We’re fortunate to work with the seven NFL partners in our region to amplify our dairy messages with hundreds of thousands of fans. It’s a win-win for everyone.”

The local dairy farmers played critical roles in the kickoff event to help students make the connection of where the milk comes from that is the “fuel” in Fuel Up to Play 60. By presenting live from the farm, students got a real-time look at an operating dairy farm.

“I enjoyed being able to share right from our barn the role dairy farmers play in bringing nutritious dairy products to the students and to their families,” said Jenna Lenhart, who milks 30 cows in Frederick County, Md.

Participating dairy farmers and NFL players included:

  • Jenna Lenhart of Dialed-In Dairy, Thurmont, Md., with current Baltimore Ravens punter Sam Koch and former Ravens wide receiver Qadry Ismail
  • Jennifer Mapes of Mapes View Farm, Mifflinburg, Pa., with former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Arthur Moats
  • Adam Bates of Stauffer Farms, LLC, North Lawrence, N.Y., with former Washington Football Team linebacker Dion Foxx
  • Curt Bisbort of Birch Creek Farms, Henderson, N.Y., with New York Jets linebacker Avery Williamson and former Jets safety Erik Coleman
  • Jed Barnes of CoBard Dairy, Mt. Upton, N.Y., with former New York Giants wide receiver Amani Toomer
  • Joshua DeBoover of DeBoover Family Farms, LLC, Phelps, N.Y., Buffalo Bills defensive tackle Harrison Phillips
  • Nathan Heim of Yippee! Farms in Cochranville and Mt. Joy, Pa., former Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jason Avant

“I love sharing what we do, and it’s only going to get more important to connect with consumers moving forward,” said Adam Bates, who milks 3,300 cows in St. Lawrence County, N.Y. “This was a great way to show the students what we do on the farm.”

Each NFL team’s community outreach director joined the farmers and players, who reinforced the need for good nutrition and activity. In addition, “Chefanie,” of Teen Battle Chef, a nation-wide culinary skills and nutrition education program for adolescents, shared a recipe for a no-bake breakfast tart that includes Greek yogurt.