New Year with Dairy

Guest blogger, Katerina Coffman, 2020-21 Pennsylvania Alternate Dairy Princess

Happy New Year!  As this year has come to a close many of us find ourselves questioning- What do I want out of 2021? To work out more? Quit a bad habit? Try something new? My New Year’s resolution is to support local small businesses and organizations that help those get back on their feet from the pandemic. I encourage you to buy real Pennsylvania dairy products and contribute to community organizations, including local food banks.

Why should you support the Pennsylvania dairy industry? The Pennsylvania dairy industry “supports 52,000 jobs and contributes 14.7 billion dollars to the state’s economy (PDA).” The Commonwealth is home to 5,730 dairy farms, which are 99% family owned and operated. Dairies support the economic well-being of rural America; every dollar spent locally by a dairy farmer creates a multiplier effect of more than 2 ½ times the original dollar spent. As the pandemic has taken a toll on all local businesses- how can you support local dairy farmers at the store? You can support local Pennsylvania dairy farmers by looking for Plant Code 42 or PA Preferred labels on all dairy packaging.

My second resolution is to support local charities, including the PA Dairymen’s partnership with Feeding Pennsylvania called Fill A Glass with Hope. This initiative enables participating food banks “to purchase fresh milk directly from local dairy plants in order to distribute to families in need. On average, $1 provides eight servings, or one half-gallon, of nutrient-rich fresh milk (Feeding Pennsylvania).” No child nor person deserves to go hungry. If you’re unable to donate a dollar, I encourage you to consider donating your time to help at your local food bank or community action event.

Above everything this year, I hope you continue to implement delicious dairy into your active lifestyle. Dairy foods provide 70 percent of the calcium in the nation’s food supply; and milk is the top source of potassium, phosphorus and vitamin D in the U.S. diet. Together, milk, cheese and yogurt play an important role in the diets of adults and children by providing nine essential nutrients, including calcium, vitamin B 12 and high-quality protein. As this new year dawns, I encourage you to invest in your local businesses, community and yourself. Happy New Year!