Dec. 18 2023 01:12 PM

UDIM continues to expand dairy’s connection with consumers to meet always-changing needs.

The information below has been supplied by dairy marketers and other industry organizations. It has not been edited, verified or endorsed by Hoard's Dairyman.

Attendees of the first-ever Dairy Nourishes Michigan Symposium visited Myers Dairy Farm, Scotts, Michigan, to learn how farmers care for their animals and resources.

As 2023 comes to a close, it’s a great time to showcase some of the many dairy checkoff promotion highlights achieved this year.

Never losing sight of the goal to help instill trust in dairy farmers and dairy foods and to increase sales, the United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM) team seeks new avenues to reach consumers in the ways they want and the places they live.

“Michigan farmers can rely on the checkoff to embrace the strong sense of community they have as we work to represent the dairy industry,” says Melissa Gerharter, UDIM Interim CEO. “Approaching consumers with the same passion and dedication as farmers helps us to truly align our team and gain trust in dairy across Michigan’s peninsulas,” she adds.

This consideration is at the forefront of dairy farmers’ efforts to ensure dairy foods are accessible to all generations in Michigan. UDIM supports this mission by sharing the benefits of dairy and the importance of the dairy community in consumers’ daily lives in the following ways:

  • eSports and social communications: UDIM worked with several partners to enter the eSports realm. These relationships enable farmers to reach gaming enthusiasts at the high school and collegiate levels using unique communication tools. Additionally, telling dairy’s story on social media is key to connecting with Gen Z and millennial parents, key target audiences. Creating trending videos, posting engaging content and working with online influencers led to 13.3 million impressions and 311,000 engagements in 2023 (how many people interacted with a post).
  • Community transformation program: Building upon grassroots community efforts in Detroit, the team took lessons learned to expand this work into Grand Rapids, Michigan’s second most populous city. Weight room renovations bring together partners in both cities to ensure students have a safe place after school and include a cooler for dairy foods. Three renovations were completed in Detroit and one in Grand Rapids.
  • STEM dairy experience: The On the Farm STEM Pilot immersed 24 STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) educators in a three-day dairy experience to visit dairy farms, as well as the dairy value chain, exposing teachers to different careers they can share with students as part of science curriculums.
  • Dietitian education: UDIM created a scholarship program in coordination with Wayne State University for up-and-coming registered dieticians. The goal of this program is to create the next generation of nutrition students who are also armed with dairy nutrition and dairy industry information.
  • University outreach: The UDIM team worked with Michigan universities to help build trust in the next generation of consumers. A robust partnership with the University of Michigan includes the athletics department, the School of Public Health, the Maize & Blue Cupboard food pantry, and the university’s dining services team. This summer a tour of a dairy processing plant and farm was hosted for those departments to introduce them to the entire dairy chain.
  • Food insecurity: Dairy farmers hosted the first-ever Dairy Nourishes Michigan Symposium. The event brought together food banks, processors and partners who support nutrition security in Michigan to collaborate on innovative ideas and solutions to increase access to the essential nutrients and protein provided by dairy foods.
  • Breakfast and a book: For the past three years, UDIM has joined elementary schools, local authors and partner athletes to fuel up with breakfast and dive into reading while learning about Michigan’s dairy community. This year the two events reached almost 8,000 students.

Watch this video for more details about these dairy promotion efforts.

Twenty-four STEM educators explored Michigan’s dairy value chain, including a visit to a dairy farm, to learn more about how science, technology, engineering and mathematics are incorporated into every facet of the industry.

Along with a myriad of additional activities, UDIM efforts help drive home the importance of dairy’s essential nutrients as part of a healthy diet and the value dairy farmers and industry partners bring to the state’s communities and economy.

“We are always evaluating our approaches to make sure we are reaching people with the right mix of marketing and education and in the ways that resonate with them as we share dairy’s message to increase understanding about its benefits,” concludes Gerharter. “The checkoff works diligently every day to ensure Michigan dairy farmers’ investment is generating the highest returns possible.”

To learn more about UDIM and how it’s reaching consumers on behalf of Michigan farmers, visit

About the United Dairy Industry of Michigan

The United Dairy Industry of Michigan (UDIM) is dedicated to serving Michigan’s hard-working dairy farm families and promoting Michigan’s locally produced dairy products. UDIM is the umbrella organization for the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council of Michigan. These non-profit organizations provide dairy product promotion and nutrition education services on behalf of their funding members.