By Governor Dave Heineman
June is Dairy Month in Nebraska which gives us the opportunity to honor the producers of Nebraska’s dairy industry. Their daily work and dedication contributes to our citizen’s health and prosperity by providing milk, yogurt or cheese.
Dairy farmers are committed to producing real, fresh and natural dairy foods that help feed our nation while using fewer resources. Nebraska’s dairy families take pride in the role they play in preserving our natural resources, caring for the land, protecting the air and water, and providing quality care for their animals.
The dairy industry actively supports and strengthens Nebraska’s economy by contributing more than $250 million annually. They have a century-long heritage in their dedication to child nutrition, health and wellness, and the dairy industry is intent on making sure future generations are well nourished.
For some, however, access to dairy foods might not be that simple. Nebraska dairy farmers, dairy processors, and communities are coming together to make a difference.
Many Americans rely on food banks for nutrition assistance, including more than 12 million families and more than 16 million children who are missing out on the important nutrients found in milk. Nebraskans are generous with donations of canned and dry goods to community food banks.
Fresh milk is much harder to donate because it’s perishable. Food bank directors explain that milk is one of the products their clients request most often, but they cannot always meet the demand. The average person relying on a food bank only receives about one gallon of fresh milk a year. Milk is one of the top five most in-demand items at food banks.
That’s why the National Dairy Council and Nebraska’s Midwest Dairy Council are partnering with Feeding America and our local Nebraska Feeding America Food Banks to launch The Great American Milk Drive. This national campaign is being used to help bring gallons of nutrient-rich milk to millions of families all across America.
With a small donation, our citizens can help bring milk to families in need in our local communities through the Food Bank for the Heartland or the Lincoln Food Bank. Donations will provide a food bank client with a voucher that they can redeem at their local grocery retailer for a gallon of white milk.
We know the power that Nebraska has when we come together to help each other. More information on this program can be found at www.milklife.com/give.