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Farmers utilize Undeniably Dairy grants in 2023

April 1, 2024


8 minute read

Undeniably Dairy grants are available to farmers to locally promote dairy’s benefits for people, the planet, and local communities. Midwest Dairy proudly offers grants that provide farmers with support to interact and connect positively with their community, especially Generation Z (Gen Z). Undeniably Dairy Grants allow us to bring dairy to unexpected places!  

In 2023, 149 grants totaling over $348,000 were awarded. Midwest Dairy is currently tallying the number of consumers reached through these programs/events, but we are proud to say that over 612,000 people had the opportunity to interact with dairy because of these grants so far. Checkoff is always blown away by the creativity farmers bring to the table when applying for these grants. Below are just a few recipients who promoted dairy in fun and impactful ways.  


In 2022, the Eden Valley – Watkins Athletic Program used Undeniably Dairy grant money to promote the benefits of chocolate milk to their junior and senior high school athletes during their summer workout program. In 2023, a farmer used another Undeniably Dairy grant to assist their athletic program again, but this time to provide a bulk milk machine for their student-athletes. The bulk milk machine was put in the school’s weight room to always be available for the student-athletes to consume dairy products after their workouts. This grant benefits more than 100 student-athletes weekly, from 7th- 12th grade. The farmer applauded the grant program, saying, “It is easy and rewarding, especially when you get to physically see checkoff dollars making such an impact.” The school’s athletic director also commented, “The kids love the fresh milk, and it helps get more students into the weight room!”  

Students holding chocolate milk.


In June 2023, Berning Acres used an Undeniably Dairy grant to host an on-farm farm camp for children ages seven to twelve. Berning Acres, located in Menominee, Illinois, has operated since 1973 and milks over 400 cows. Owners Matt and Natalie often open their farm for various activities. At the Farm Camp, kids could explore the inner workings of a farm by participating in farm chores, learning how to milk a cow, handle farm animals, and bottle-feed a calf. Kids could explore the parlor, interact with the technology behind automatic calf feeders, and even ride a pony! The group also enjoyed dairy snacks throughout the day.  

This marks Berning Acres’ third year hosting the Farm Camp, and kids are enthusiastic to participate in a small piece of farm life. In addition to Farm Camp, Berning Acres hosts other events on the farm tailored to different age groups. From “Night on the Farm: Cows, Beers, and Cheese Curds” to “Day at the Farm: Picnic and Play,” there is something for everyone.  

South Dakota 

Dairy Fest is an annual event coordinated by the Dairy Fest Steering Committee, comprised of dairy farmers, dairy industry leaders, and academic members that aim to bring the community together through conversation and learning opportunities about the dairy industry. The festival’s mission is to offer a free, family-friendly event that engages consumers about the dairy industry from farm to table, focusing on sustainability and the nutritional value of dairy products. In 2023, Dairy Fest used an Undeniably Dairy grant to help fund the event.  

Many events are offered throughout the festival. It kicked off with the Got Milk Gala, allowing influential people in the community to interact with dairy producers and dairy industry representatives, learn about the dairy industry, and enjoy a delicious dairy-based meal. The Picowsca art contest is also on the agenda and enables students from third grade through college to showcase on canvas how they view the dairy industry outside their backdoor. The festival’s final day features the Dairy Fest Farm Tour and Dairy Plant Tour. Additionally, tours at a locally owned dairy farm allow consumers to learn first-hand how milk is produced and harvested. Lastly, participants were given a tour of the local South Dakota State University Davis Dairy Plant to learn how milk is turned into dairy products such as ice cream, cheese, butter, yogurt, and more. All of these events featured locally made dairy products and were facilitated by more than 40 dairy volunteers, including producers, students, dairy ambassadors, academic and industry professionals, and academia, helping people put a face to the entire industry. 

Guests attending dairy fest in South Dakota


At the Shelby County Fair, over 10,000 consumers had the opportunity to interact with an expanded “Little Hands on the Farm” exhibit, made possible by an Undeniably Dairy grant awarded to the Shelby County Fair Board. This hands-on, educational-based agricultural exhibit focused on young families and children. With the grant money received, they enhanced the learning experience for kids by incorporating a mechanical dairy cow along with several flip-ups/questionnaires providing valuable learning points and information about the dairy industry. This exhibit emphasized the importance of dairy products and that their consumption is vital to everyone’s well-being. Their “Little Hands on the Farm” exhibit engaged kids who have no idea where their food comes from through educational programs and exhibits. The organizers reported outstanding attendance at the 2023 exhibit and continue to hear positive comments from attendees. They hope to grow the exhibit more in years to come. 

North Dakota 

The Legendairy event is hosted every two years at VanBedaf farm. This farm used an Undeniably Dairy grant to host a farm tour and open house event that welcomed over 900 people from the local community and across the state to enjoy a working farm. The event featured an informative farm tour that included refurbished tractors pulling participants through the barns and around the farm, as they learned about different areas of a farm and had their questions about the dairy industry answered. Several farm employees served as tour guides, using their industry knowledge to connect with participants. These tour guides included other dairy farmers, farm nutritionists, feed reps, and the farm family themselves. Educational signage filled the farm, and participants took home cow hats, coloring books, and other materials displaying the Undeniably Dairy brand. 


The 14th Annual Celebration of Unity event, held in early July at Hartville City Park in Missouri, reached over 3,500 consumers. This community draws people from more than 60 miles away, making it an excellent opportunity for an Undeniably Dairy grant to connect dairy to a broad audience. The event was free thanks to local community groups who donated their time and funds to put the event on. There were many dairy touchpoints, including live cows brought by the local FFA for the community to interact with and a fiberglass cow provided by the local Farm Bureau group, making for great photo opportunities. New this year was a mechanical milking cow. It was a great experience for kids of all ages to learn about the milking process and get to milk by hand. Food was also served, including hamburgers, hotdogs, pulled pork, and lots of ice cream. The serving line for the ice cream was long and a big hit! The focus was on all things dairy, whether it is something to eat, recipes to try at home, or information about dairy farming and dairy foods, proving dairy was a big part of the community event.  


Thanks to an Undeniably Dairy grant, Rottinghaus Holstein Farm shared sustainability efforts with students of all ages. The Earth Day Farm Field Trip was a fun success, consisting of two sessions: a farm tour and education stations in the shop. Around 50 students and their parents learned about on-farm processes, specifically how farmers and cows recycle nutrients. Students were from the local private school with parent chaperones and teachers present, many of whom were removed from the dairy and agriculture industries. Kids were excited to see how cows turn food waste into milk humans can consume. Many students had family members who worked at the local cabinet factory, where the farm receives wood shavings for animal bedding—a fun connection for all. At the education stations, students had hands-on experiences with nutrient recycling, such as planting a seed into a composted cow manure pot and playing with the different feed byproducts used on the farm. Undeniably, Dairy graphics and informational signs were placed at the stations for parents to read to the students. Students also had fun petting a baby calf and learning about calf welfare. At the end of the event, participants received an Undeniably Dairy bag with Undeniably Dairy goodies and their planted cow pot to take home. 


The Ag in the Classroom program provides student teachers from seven colleges across fifteen courses in Nebraska with hands-on and engaging activities that integrate agriculture into lessons that support Nebraska State Educational Standards in language arts, math, social studies, and science. These teachers will reach thousands of students throughout their careers, and these workshops provide a foundation for building their resource portfolio. Each year, the program delivers dairy messaging to over 200 Generation Z students. Many of these students have no connection to the farm. Students learn about dairy through hands-on activities showcasing milk’s journey with lessons highlighting dairy-specific content from the National Agriculture in the Classroom Curriculum Matrix. This messaging helps the teachers learn and form their own opinions about how dairy farming is good for people, the planet, and communities and sets the framework for the messages they will share with their future students. Undeniably, Dairy grants support funding content for these future teachers, and Midwest Dairy provides most of the resources to ensure science-based dairy content is shared with students.