National Dairy Checkoff
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The national dairy checkoff started in 1983 as an optional program for dairy farmers to contribute to increase demand for dairy products. Now as the dairy checkoff changes with times all dairy producers must contribute to the program. Fifteen cents per hundredweight of milk is taken from the producers' milk check. Ten cents of this goes to the regional checkoff, and the other five cents goes to the national checkoff. The regional checkoff is within their state or very close to the state.
The money can only be used in three ways. The money is used for generic promotion of dairy products, new product development, and nutrition education. Some examples of generic promotions are partnerships with NFL teams, Got Milk?, and 3-A-Day of dairy. New product development involves research to find new products that people will enjoy, and increase the consumption of dairy products. Nutrition education is mostly targeted to elementary and junior high students; students learn where the products come from, how they are made, and are sometimes given samples of the different products.
From 1983 to 2004 milk consumption increased from 122.4 billion pounds to 176.3 billion pounds. Some of the ideas that have come from the dairy checkoff are dairy products in vending machines, cheese cubes, and plastic bottles instead of cartons in schools.