Midwest Dairy Association has scheduled two South Dakota Division District Meetings so that dairy producers can hear from their board representatives and staff, and ask questions about the $.15 per hundredweight dairy checkoff. Producers from farms north of Highway 14 are invited to the meeting on Wednesday, Jan. 30, at the Best Western Ramkota Inn in Watertown. Producers from farms south of Highway 14 are invited to the meeting on Thursday, Jan. 31, at the Royal Fork in Sioux Falls, behind Empire Mall. Both meetings begin at 11 a.m. and include lunch. Current dairy producers are eligible to attend. Reservations can be made by calling 1-800-642-3895 by Jan. 24. Midwest Dairy's meeting report will focus on how dairy demand grew in 2012.

Midwest Dairy Associaton logoAmong the tactics contributing to the increase were the checkoff's work with partners like Domino's and McDonald's, that made plans for extra promotion spotlighting farmers in the face of the severe drought. New partnerships with Taco Bell and Quaker Oats are also being outlined. Two subjects that have generated recent discussion – fluid milk consumption and the new school meal guidelines – are also on the agenda. The national checkoff's board has recently approved $14 million in funding to address fluid consumption.

The checkoff funds will be paired with more than $80 million in partner investments. New school meal guidelines have triggered additional focus on expanding dairy opportunities in schools, even as milk remains a key component of each school meal. In addition to national efforts, the report will explain how Midwest Dairy programs are carried out in South Dakota. Examples included partnerships with South Dakota State University and the University of South Dakota, promotion of chocolate milk at marathons, school funding and State Fair activities.

Midwest Dairy Association is a non-profit organization funded by dairy producers to help build sales and demand for dairy products through integrated marketing, nutrition education and research. Midwest Dairy is funded by checkoff dollars from dairy producers in a 10-state region, including Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas and eastern Oklahoma. For more information, visit www.midwestdairycheckoff.com