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DEAL Class 3 meets for the first time in Nashville

March 27, 2024


3 minute read

Class 3 of the Dairy Experience and Agricultural Leadership Program (DEAL) held its Phase 1 meeting in Nashville, Tennessee, this past February. New this year, the 19 dairy farmers who make up the program come from Midwest Dairy and the Dairy Alliance regions. The Dairy Alliance was excited to host the first meeting to kick off DEAL Class 3, where participants learned more about each other, networked among peers, and took a deeper dive into the dairy checkoff. 

Phase 1 began with a four-color leadership training led by professional trainer Tracy Bowe. Attendees learned about their personality strengths and how to use those when working with others. The next day, attendees took a deeper dive into the dairy checkoff. Midwest Dairy staff led a discussion about Midwest Dairy’s history, mission, and strategic plan, and Dairy Alliance staff also shared more about the Dairy Alliance and their work to build trust and sales for dairy. The morning ended with a presentation from Stan Erwine, Senior Vice President of Farmer Relations for DMI, who spoke about the history and purpose of both dairy promotion and DMI. He also discussed DMI’s collaborative relationship with Midwest Dairy and the Dairy Alliance and why this collaboration is important to making the checkoff dollar go farther.

During Phase 1, the group ventured to Chapel Hill, Tennessee, for a farm tour at Nash Family Creamery. They ended the tour with ice cream from the creamery. The group also enjoyed a fun trolley ride on the Soul of Music City Tour to learn more about Nashville’s musical roots.

The third and final day was spent learning more about each other. Each DEAL member provided a presentation to share more about themselves, their families, and their farm. Post-survey results indicate that being able to learn more about each other and network with each other was the highlight of the meeting for many participants. One farmer commented, “My favorite part was getting to know the other farmers in attendance and how open and honest everyone is. I feel I was able to take home a lot of different tips and tricks from other people. I also really enjoyed the farm introductions.”

The farmers were also asked to rate the meeting, and Midwest Dairy is pleased that Phase 1 received a 4.9 out of 5-star rating. Additionally, one farmer said, “I enjoyed all the sessions, the farm tour, learning and getting to know the other DEAL participants. I had a great time and felt it was a great opportunity and use of my time.” The group will reconvene later this year for Phase 2, during which we will focus on engaging with consumers.