Skip to main content

The Role of Checkoff

The History of Checkoff

Dairy foods are part of a complex and integrated global food supply, and have a long history of being a sustainable part of a nutritious diet around the world. Beginning in 1915, dairy farmers and processors took the first steps in forming the dairy checkoff by creating the National Dairy Council. Over the years, additional associations, councils, and acts were created, ultimately leading to the dairy checkoff program as we know it today. Ultimately, the dairy checkoff was created by dairy farmers to build trust and sales of dairy through product promotion, research, and nutrition education.

Learn More about Checkoff History

Dairy Promotion Focus

We’re glad you’re interested in learning more about the role and impact of dairy promotion (checkoff), a national producer and importer program for dairy product promotion, research and nutrition education.

Funded by dairy farmers as well as dairy importers, dairy checkoff drives programs aimed at promoting dairy consumption and protecting and enhancing the positive image of dairy farmers, dairy products and the dairy industry. Dairy farmers fund this program through a mandatory 15-cents-per hundred-weight of milk, and dairy importers pay 7.5 cents per hundred-weight on dairy products imported into the United States.

While the dairy checkoff is dedicated to growing trust and demand in dairy, there are several things the dairy checkoff cannot do, including set retail milk prices or impact dairy farmers’ milk checks. See what dairy checkoff can and can’t do according to the authorizing statutes.



Statistics show that checkoff programs have continued to achieve what dairy farmers set out to do in 1983: build demand. In collaboration with the national promotional organization, Midwest Dairy’s work with retail and thought leader partners, the dairy farmer-funded research and the focus on providing leadership development to dairy farmer leaders continues to have impact.

More Questions About Dairy Promotion?

We have answers! Find some of the most commonly asked questions that dairy farmers have about the role of dairy checkoff. 

Find Answers

Collaborating Organizations

Milk Processor Education Program

Funded by a checkoff for fluid milk processors, the Milk Processor Education Program (MilkPep) is dedicated to educating consumers and promoting fluid milk consumption.

Dairy Management Inc.

Funded by America’s 41,000-plus dairy farmers as well as dairy importers, DMI manages the National Dairy Council and the American Dairy Association, and founded the U.S. Dairy Export Council and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.

U.S. Dairy Export Council

The mission of the U.S. Dairy Export Council is to enhance demand for U.S. dairy products and ingredients by securing access and assisting suppliers to meet market needs that facilitate sales.