Skip to main content
Cows grazing in a field.

2023 Annual Report

We Pledge to make every drop count

Throughout 2023, Midwest Dairy worked hard on behalf of dairy farmers. We pledge to Make Every Drop Count by investing your 15-cent checkoff contribution into efficient and effective ways to grow trust and sales in dairy regionally, nationally, and globally.

You can learn more about the projects and activations checkoff dollars supported throughout the 10-state region in the 2023 Annual Report stories below. These activations highlight how Midwest Dairy grew trust, increased sales, invested in research, and developed leaders.

A Note from Molly Pelzer, Midwest Dairy CEO

A Note from Charles Krause, Midwest Dairy Chair

Explore the Report

1. By the Numbers

Jump to This Section

2. Building Trust

Jump to This Section

3. Driving Dairy Demand & Sales

Jump to This Section

4. Fueling Innovation & Research

Jump to This Section

5. Developing Tomorrow’s Dairy Leaders

Jump to This Section

6. Where Your Checkoff Goes

Jump to This Section

8. Resources

Jump to This Section
dairy cows grazing

1. By the Numbers

Expanding Your Checkoff Investment

Over 630 Dairy Farmers and Other Groups

ordered materials from the Midwest Dairy Promo Center, reaching more than one million consumers.

K-state students standing next to milk and cookies table

149 Undeniably Dairy Grants

totaling $348,000, were awarded to dairy farmers, dairy farmer groups, and ag partners reaching more than 612,000 consumers.

sioux falls river fest 2023

Over 24.2 Million

consumers reached in 2023 through hundreds of partner activations.

Two children holding milk related props for photo
influencers in milking barn

2. Building Trust

Growing Trust in Dairy

Midwest Dairy knows positive consumer perception of dairy leads to increased trust and sales. We collaborate with partners to share dairy’s farm-to-table story in out-of-the-box ways, creating experiences that help bring dairy to life beyond the grocery store. Midwest Dairy strives to meet the consumers where they are, especially generation Z, to grow trust in dairy.

Reaching Consumers with Dairy’s Story

Growing consumer trust is central to Midwest Dairy’s strategic plan. We achieve this by working with and through partners to reach millions of consumers across our 10-state region. Our partners range from trusted thought leaders like Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), to influencers, colleges and universities, and more. Through these partners, Midwest Dairy shares dairy’s sustainable nutrition story and how dairy farmers care for their cows, land, communities, and planet – to grow trust in dairy.

Learn more about some of the many activations Midwest Dairy completed throughout the year!

Explore Articles

previous slide
next slide
Influencers on dairy farm in 2023.

Influencer retreat gets the conversation started online

Ready to roll up your sleeves and dive headfirst into the world of sustainable dairy farming? This was a question checkoff recently asked as we…
Doctor Showing to Father Medical Results on Tablet

Checkoff supports WIC with dairy nutrition programming

Healthcare providers, such as pediatricians and pediatric registered dietitians, are a primary audience for sharing dairy resources, serving as trusted advisors to parents. This is…
children standing in front of tractor

Farmers utilize Undeniably Dairy grants in 2023

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…
STEM header

STEM continued to build in 2023 with a positive outlook in 2024

Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programming continues to be a significant focus of dairy checkoffs and is highly valued by Midwest Dairy as we…
Graphic of cartoon children sitting at picnic table

Offering rural healthcare providers resources

Midwest Dairy was proud to offer a new essential resource for rural healthcare providers in the Fall of 2023. Rural health providers understand the importance…
Baseball fans kneeling next to calf in pen.

Utilizing university campuses to share dairy’s farm-to-table story

College campuses are full of Generation Z (Gen Z) students, which research shows are the least trusting consumer segment. Midwest Dairy knows a positive consumer…
Esports students holding up chocolate milk cartons.

Checkoff continues to see the benefits of supporting gamers with dairy content

Research shows that 96 percent of Generation Z (Gen Z) enjoy video games and identify as gamers, motivating Midwest Dairy to continue finding ways to…
IGHSA Students in dairy barn.

Partnering with school associations to reach Gen Z

Engaging the next generation of influential buyers is crucial for the industry’s success. Checkoff is committed to ensuring the longevity of dairy demand in the…
Dairy farmer TV interview

Kansas dairy farm featured in PBS-distributed program, tasteMAKERS

The dairy checkoff is eager for the viewers to learn from a Midwest dairy farmer who was featured on a popular public television program. Emmy…
Person dancing with person in cow costume

Partnering with Ag Coalitions to reach more consumers

Midwest Dairy partners with Ag Coalitions across the 10-state region to connect with consumers through a trusted voice. These coalitions celebrate farm families and help consumers…
cheese case

3. Driving Dairy Demand & Sales

Increasing Demand in Dairy

Midwest Dairy pursues opportunities with retail and foodservice partners who are dedicated to growing dairy sales and highlighting the dairy case. We know consumers love dairy products, and Midwest Dairy works with partners to promote nutritious recipes and to inspire consumers to use the dairy products they love in innovative ways.

Growing Sales Throughout our 10-State Region

Midwest Dairy is dedicated to giving consumers an excellent dairy experience by working with and through our retail and food service partners. Highlighting a variety of dairy products, their nutritional benefits, and dairy’s unique sustainability story increases incremental milk sales year-round.

Learn more about our efforts to grow demand in dairy throughout 2023 by reading our success stories below!

Explore Articles

previous slide
next slide
Dollar General logo

Checkoff welcomed a new partner in 2023, Dollar General

Midwest Dairy connected with shoppers as checkoff promoted fluid milk through a new 2023 sales partner, Dollar General. Dollar General is the number two grocery…
Freddy's Burgers offers

Working towards menu innovation with Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers

Midwest Dairy partnered with Freddy’s Frozen Custard and Steakburgers (Freddy’s) to promote different dairy-based limited-time offer (LTO) programs in their restaurants throughout 2023. Together, we…
Cub Instagram post featuring Kennedy Youngrin

Utilizing dairy voices in partner retail campaigns

Checkoff consumer research suggests that most consumers in the 10-state region trust dairy farmers and look to them to help understand on-farm sustainability and animal…
Chicory logo

Capitalizing on the importance of recipe promotions

Midwest Dairy continuously explores ways to drive dairy sales through online recipe promotions. Research shows that 88 percent of consumers use online recipes, with 17…
grocery ad featuring quiche

Grocery partnerships drive dairy sales

Checkoff seeks opportunities to drive dairy product sales, starting with partners eager to work with checkoff to spotlight the dairy case. In 2023, two grocery…
dairy researchers

4. Fueling Innovation & Research

Advancing the Dairy Industry

Midwest Dairy invests checkoff resources into research designed to support the dairy industry, innovate dairy technologies, and create regional and global opportunities for Midwest Dairy farmers throughout our 10-state region.

Advancing Research in Dairy

Advancing dairy research is a key strategy for Midwest Dairy. By showcasing dairy’s health benefits and emphasizing dairy’s healthy sustainability story to partners and consumers, we can grow trust in dairy. We offer our partners a variety of resources, including valuable research, to help drive demand in dairy.

Learn more about how we advanced research in dairy in 2023 below.

Explore Articles

previous slide
next slide
2023 Hatchery winners and judges

Midwest Dairy and The Hatchery Chicago Partner for the second year

Midwest Dairy and The Hatchery Chicago have partnered again to fuel dairy innovation in 2023. Advancing dairy research is a key strategy of dairy checkoff,…
Women in lab coat researching dairy

Welcoming a new 2023/2024 Midwest Dairy Foods Research Strategic Plan

In 2023, the Midwest Dairy Foods Research Center (MDFRC) underwent significant changes, welcoming many new members to its team and identifying areas for enhancement. These…
Woman gesturing to research poster

Remarks from Executive Director of MDFRC, Dr. Jayendra Amamcharla

The year 2023 was unique and fruitful for the Midwest Dairy Foods Research Center (MDFRC). The new Strategic Plan was a rewarding process and has…
Dairy milk graph

Partners learn more during consumer insights webinars

In an increasingly complex, fast-moving world, Midwest Dairy shares impactful market intelligence through webinars that help checkoff partners effectively target today’s consumers. By investing in…
dairy farmer giving tour

5. Developing Tomorrow’s Dairy Leaders

Helping Farmers Share Their Dairy Story

Midwest Dairy offers dairy farmers within our 10-state region opportunities and resources to successfully tell their dairy story within their community. These opportunities include connecting with consumers on shared values, preparing for a crisis, how to conduct media interviews and more. Midwest Dairy is a great resource for farmers who want to become more active and shine a spotlight on their farm. Discover how dairy farmers utilized these resources, including items from the Promo Center, to reach consumers locally.

Developing Farm and Community Leaders

Dairy farmers are trusted sources of information among consumers. This is why Midwest Dairy invests checkoff resources into grants, training programs, and materials that help dairy farmers become champions of dairy both locally and regionally. Midwest Dairy also supports the next generation of dairy leaders through various programs, scholarships and internships, paving the way for continued success in the dairy industry.

Discover how we developed dairy farm and community leaders throughout 2023.

Explore Articles

previous slide
next slide
Dairy farmers gathering

Thirteen farmers graduate from DEAL Class 2

The Dairy Experience and Agricultural Leadership Program (DEAL) members met this summer for the final phase of the 18-month leadership opportunity, focusing on leadership opportunities…
Group of dairy farmers listening to speaker

Breaking Through the Noise training is now available to farmers

In 2023, Midwest Dairy partnered with Janice Person, founder, and CEO of Grounded Communications, to offer a new training to dairy farmers called Breaking Through…
Iowa dairy ambassador playing spinning game with child

Celebrating another successful year for the Dairy Ambassador program

The Dairy Ambassador program is an educational and leadership opportunity for high school and college students passionate about the dairy industry. This program allows individuals…
jersey calf in straw

6. Where Your Checkoff Goes

Dairy Farmer’s CHeckoff Investment

Midwest Dairy is thoughtful and purposeful of where dairy farmer’s checkoff investment goes. Learn more about these investments below.

Dairy Experience (43%)

Consumer focused programming and implementation of key components of the dairy checkoff’s nationwide Unified Marketing Plan. This includes:

  • Sales – Demand (14.5%) – Building dairy sales through retail and food service.
  • Sales – Youth (3%) – Drive dairy sales including work with targeted school districts.
  • Global Positioning (6%) – Relationship building with credentialed health professionals to create dairy advocates.
  • Trust – Adult (10%) – The Undeniably Dairy platform and other marketing communication using third-party influencers to reach consumers.
  • Trust – Youth (8.5%) – Ag literacy programs to drive awareness of sustainable nutrition through programs to grow trust among youth and their parents.
  • Strategic Insights (1%) – Evaluating consumer attitude and behavior to measure trends in consumer trust.

Partnership & Research (27%)

The 2.5 cent funding sent to Dairy Management, Inc. for research and promotion and the United Dairy Industry Association fee, both part of our membership commitment.

Ag Affairs (15%)

Work building coalitions with ag groups focused on reaching consumers, dairy ambassadors, farmer leadership development programs, and work in environmental sustainability.

Administration (6%)

Includes the cost of our accounting and network infrastructure, as well as our governance of board costs.

Research & Innovation (3%)

Product research through Midwest Dairy Food Research Center and efforts focused on nutrition research and consumer insights.

Corporate Communications (4%)

Positioning with stakeholders and internal audiences through a variety of communications channels.

Farmer Communication (2%)

Communicating with farmer investors and board members. Issue and crisis preparedness and response.

Revenue By Division

Minnesota (42.1%)

Iowa (23%)

South Dakota (18.2%)

Nebraska (5.2%)

Illinois (3.1%)

Mo-Kan Division (2.8%)

Ozarks (2%)

North Dakota (1.3%)

Interest and Other Income (2.3%)

Couple looking at yogurt

7. Partners

Working with and through partners

Midwest Dairy works with and through partners to drive trust and demand in dairy. This includes foodservice, retail, thought leaders, universities, and more. Below are a sample of the many partners we work with on behalf of dairy farmers.

Instacart Logo
Kansas State University logo
University of Nebraska Lincoln logo
previous slide
next slide
promo center resources

8. Resources

Preview of 2023 scorecard

Review the 2023 Scorecard

The Midwest Dairy scorecard is designed to inform dairy farmers of our growth across several goals, including dairy sales, trust in dairy, and more. Review the 2023 Midwest Dairy Year-end Scorecard by clicking below.

Learn More

Additional Resources

Want to learn more about your dairy checkoff, Midwest Dairy, or resources available to you to help tell your dairy story? Check out our helpful links below, including links to our Board Leadership and 2023 financial documents!