Minnesota dairy farmers Michael and Margaret Johnson, owners of Trailside Holsteins in Fountain, Minnesota, utilized Undeniably Dairy Grants this past year by supporting their local youth athletes with these funds.
By partnering with the Fillmore Central High School, the Johnson’s designed a project to help high school athletes learn about and accomplish proper nutrition after an intense strength-building workout that the school already provided 7-weeks out of the year. To achieve this, they wanted to showcase chocolate milk as a great protein source after these at-school workout programs. The school already worked with a few community members to provide kids peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Because coaches felt dairy was a vital part of the athlete’s refuel process, the cost of milk was already part of the activity fee. Wanting to make the milk as accessible and refreshing as possible, the Johnsons used their funding to purchase a refrigeration unit located right next to the weight and locker rooms to house that milk. More than 150 students were enrolled in the strength-building program, and the high school athletes were encouraged to have milk daily, especially after the workout.
Margaret Johnson shared, “I feel this is a great way for dairy farmers to help within their communities because it encourages consuming dairy from a trusted source and includes it within their daily routine. Another perk is to connect these kids with a dairy farm in their local communities. I am so excited about the potential of this project!”
Currently, the program has funding to provide milk to half the kids participating. But even at half, the school has been purchasing 320 pints of milk per week. The refrigerator purchased with grant funds now allows staff only to have to fill it once a week while displaying the milk more attractively and conveniently. In addition to the cooler, decals were purchased to advertise the health benefits of refueling with dairy.
But it doesn’t stop there; the Johnsons have future goals for this program and plan to expand offerings to younger students and continue the “refueling refrigerator” throughout the entire school year for all athletic programs. In addition, they continue to work closely with the athletic department at their local school to promote the benefit of chocolate milk, and the program coordinators have been very receptive and are supporting milk as a part of a nutritious diet for the students.
“We are so excited for this opportunity to encourage the consumption of the delicious milk we dairy farmers work hard to produce. This is a great way to promote milk as a healthy habit in youths’ daily routine,” said Margaret Johnson.