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Hindsight is 2020: Looking Back on the Year in Review

As we leave 2020 in the rear view mirror, we look back at a year that was unpredictable and exasperating for many.  Time and time again, Oregon dairy farmers, processors and those in the dairy community proved to be resilient and rose to challenge after challenge. Among them; the pandemic, temporary supply chain disruptions, increased hunger, and historic wildfires. Throughout it all, Oregon dairy farmers proved they were there for their communities while working to provide nutritious dairy products – all without skipping a beat.

March abruptly impacted any previously made plans for the year. With the beginning of a statewide lockdown to control the spread of COVID-19, toilet paper made headlines as Oregonians began stocking up on supplies, but they also started to clean grocery shelves out of butter, cheese, milk and ice cream. Stores, and all those throughout the supply chain, quickly adjusted to meet the increased demand for milk and dairy foods.  As restaurants and retailers closed their brick and mortar locations to the public, people were advised by government officials and medical professionals to Stay Home, Stay Safe and Stay Healthy.

Fuel Up to Play 60 Ambassador and former NFL football player Anthony Newman helped by promoting good nutrition and health for kids quarantining at home with our ‘Stay Healthy’ series.  His advice on how to stay mentally and physically healthy still resonates months later. You can now catch part of the series on the national Fuel Up to Play 60 Homeroom.  

As the entire country shifted to working and staying at home, online learning and experiences took off. Farmers tuned in to industry professionals on our Lunch & Learn webinars.  Local farmers and the Oregon Dairy Princess assisted with videos for classrooms and online farm tours. Even cows got in on the action, assisting Liz Collman from Cloud Cap Farms as she read books from their farm’s pasture to kids staying at home.

As the shutdown continued, restaurant and retail closures unfortunately followed throughout the year, with notable Portland establishments like Toro Bravo, Beast and the much-loved Cheese Bar closing permanently. The closures impacted dairy and many other locally produced foods that supply restaurants and food service companies.

More people took to making their meals at home, using pantry staples like butter, milk, yogurt and cream.  Stacy Foster, from our own team, joined in with her daughter, creating a delicious recipe from Food Hero.

Although though most summer events, like the Oregon State Fair, were cancelled due to the coronavirus, ingenious solutions were created to keep traditions going. The Oregon Dairy Women celebrated the 51st year of their Red Barn Ice Cream event by taking it on the road with the help of Wilco. By the end of the summer, they had visited five cities in Oregon and served hundreds people their famous cones and shakes.

Hunger relief efforts also intensified as more people lost their jobs and businesses stayed closed. Safeway and Albertson’s Nourishing Neighbors program helped donate $450,000 in emergency grant funding to 159 local schools that aided school nutrition professionals in getting food to kids and families in need. Tillamook County Creamery Association, Rogue Creamery, Briar Rose Creamery and others also donated to food banks and their local communities.

Free summer meals were extended throughout Oregon through the year, resulting in nutritious food boxes and assistance programs that helped kids and families across the state. 

And some farmers gave to their communities personally, like Rickreall Dairy, which celebrated the farm’s 30th anniversary by donating several hundred grocery bags full of food and milk to neighbors in need in their community. Tillamook dairy farmer Derrick Josi (aka TDF Honest Farming) bought meals for linesmen following a severe windstorm and for first responders during the subsequent wildfires.

In September, wildfires swept through California and Oregon, creating orange skies filled with smoke and haze that covered most of the state.  Farmers kept their cattle hydrated and worked together to move livestock and supplies, while also helping their communities and supporting fire fighting efforts.

Despite the many challenges, bright spots appeared throughout the year. In October, Governor Kate Brown named October 18th Blue Cheese Day in Oregon, in celebration of Rogue Creamery’s historic win of “best cheese in the world” at the 2019-2020 World Cheese Awards in Bergamo, Italy.

Threemile Canyon Farms won the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award from the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy for its work demonstrating how growing crops and milking cows can complement one another in a regenerative, closed-loop system, resulting in zero waste. This recognition was a testament to the vision, leadership and commitment of the farm’s general manager, Marty Myers, and will serve as a lasting legacy following his untimely passing in early December.

Throughout it all, Oregon dairy farmers have been there, supporting their communities in ways too numerous to count, with delicious and nutritious food, helping their communities and caring for their animals and the earth. In 2020, dairy truly made everything better for a lot of people.

From our families to yours, we hope this next year is a safe, healthy and happy one.

Top Ten Stories of 2020:

OREGON’S THREEMILE CANYON FARMS WINS NATIONAL SUSTAINABILITY AWARD

IN MEMORIAM: MARTY MYERS

MEET SIX WOMEN MAKING A DIFFERENCE IN DAIRY FARMING

NINE REASONS TO ENJOY REAL MILK IN YOUR HANDCRAFTED COFFEE DRINK

“BLUE CHEESE DAY” CELEBRATES AMERICA’S FIRST GRAND CHAMPION CHEESE

OREGON ICE CREAM TRAIL

DASH DIET EATING PLAN

THROUGH THE FIRE: OREGON DAIRY COMMUNITY SHOWS RESILIENCY, GENEROSITY

GET CONNECTED WITH DAIRY EDUCATIONAL OPPORTUNITIES ONLINE

VIRTUAL TOURS BRING DAIRY FARMS TO THE CLASSROOM

How We Celebrated June Dairy Month

Since 1937, June has been designated as a special month to celebrate milk and all things dairy. National Dairy Month is an annual tradition that recognizes the contributions the dairy industry has made to health and happiness around the world.

Oregon has a lot to celebrate, and what better way to kick things off than World Milk Day? After all, milk is Oregon’s official state beverage. On every day of June, we served up some cheesy, dairy-themed jokes on social media. As an example, this was one of the crowd favorites: Why was the dairy farmer the slowest player on the baseball field? You’d be slow too if your jersey weighed 1,000 pounds!

Cloverdale dairy farmer Ron Hurliman served as Grand Marshal of the June Dairy Parade in Tillamook

June Dairy Parade Grand Marshal Ron Hurliman (right), with wife Vonnie. Courtesy of Tillamook Headlight Herald.

There were several dairy events and observances throughout the month as well. Cloverdale dairy farmer Ron Hurliman served as Grand Marshal of the June Dairy Parade in Tillamook. With more than 120 entries, the parade is a centerpiece of the June Dairy Festival alongside the Tillamook County YMCA Milk Run and the Tillamook County Rodeo. You can read all about the festivities in this special insert from the Tillamook Headlight Herald. Capital Press also had this special section for June Dairy Month with several great stories.

On Father’s Day, we shared a poetic tribute to dairy dads called “Until the Cows Come Home,” and on the first day of summer we shared a delicious recipe for Yogurt and Dill Smashed Potatoes. Our partner Food Hero made milk the featured food of the month and shared this great handout.

We sponsored the Milk Carton Boat Race in partnership with the Royal Rosarians, the Oregon Dairy Princess Ambassadors, Darigold and many others. A Rose Festival tradition since 1973, the family-friendly event features kids, adults and teams racing across a pond on boats that float atop empty milk cartons and milk jugs. KGW television’s Drew Carney highlighted the event on his Sunrise show and KATU’s Katherine Kisiel was an event announcer.

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At the national level, a running theme throughout the month involved dairy’s contributions to fighting food insecurity and child hunger. The “Real Love Convoy” brought Undeniably Dairy branded trucks to New York, Washington D.C., Detroit and Cleveland for media opportunities and public events featuring dairy. This included an appearance with spokeswoman Laila Ali and dairy farmer Katie Dotterer-Pyle on Good Morning America. Locally, we helped promote summer meals programs in Oregon with this special video featuring Oregon’s Fuel Up to Play 60 spokesperson Anthony Newman.

While National Dairy Month may be over, we’ll continue to celebrate dairy year round. Oh, and did we mention that July is National Ice Cream Month? Stay tuned for a fun announcement on National Ice Cream Day (July 21)!

Students Connect with School Nutrition Professionals (VIDEO)

When students from Armand Larive Middle School attended a Culinary Workshop in Umatilla, hosted by Oregon Department of Education and the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council, they saw their school nutrition professionals in action. This post debuts a great new video they created to share their experience.

The Culinary Workshop is one of six regional workshops offered to school nutrition professionals throughout Oregon to help improve child nutrition programs. “I want to make sure we have a variety of foods represented, because these folks help make the menus for schools,” said Chef and Registered Dietitian Garrett Berdan.

Many of the recipes used for this workshop are from Food Hero (www.foodhero.org) , an online resource with shopping hints, cooking tips and videos, to help Oregonians improve their health with affordable and healthy recipes.

While attending the workshop, Armand Larive Middle School students interviewed, taste-tested and even gave their feedback on the finished recipes to re-cap the day. This is one of many video projects they have done with video equipment provided through a Fuel Up to Play 60 Grant.

Fuel Up to Play 60 is a school nutrition and exercise program launched by the National Dairy Council and the NFL to improve health and encourage today’s youth to live healthier lives. Grants are available to qualified K-12 schools to jump start healthy changes in the school environment.

“The students worked really hard on editing this,” said Angie Treadwell, SNAP-Ed Program Coordinator. “There was lots of footage to sort through, and I think it was a really good experience for them in many ways, especially in gaining a deeper understanding of school food service.”

As one of the many examples showing how the experience is paying off, Armand Larive Middle School’s Ashley Treadwell received Honorable Mention in the National Scholastic Press Association Individual Award Contest for her video story titled “Cooking Class.”

RELATED LINKS:

Dairy Enlightening: Educational Leaders Tour Cloud Cap Farms

This summer, School nutrition directors, teachers, and administrators from Oregon and Idaho toured Cloud Cap Farms as a part of a special event called the “Fuel Up to Play 60 Pro Bowl.”

The Pro Bowl was a two-day event for school wellness champions to learn more about promoting healthy eating and physical activity through the Fuel Up to Play 60 program. The tour was organized by the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council and Dairy West.

“The primary purpose of these tours is to dispel myths. And there’s the opportunity to ask any of the questions that you might have,” said Jenifer Cruickshank from OSU’s Extension Service.

The farm tour was led by Melissa Collman, a fourth generation dairy farmer. Cloud Cap Farms is an organic dairy located outside of Portland in Boring, Oregon. They milk 200 cows twice a day, and the farm has been in operation for 94 years.

As one of the Oregon Dairy Farmer Association’s Young Dairy Leaders, Melissa is an active “agvocate.” She has participated in many events promoting youth health and wellness, advocating for agriculture, and boosting awareness and support for dairy. She also works for Organic Valley, helping innovate and educate in the organic food system.

With a goal to help Pro Bowl attendees learn firsthand about food systems, and the farms and farmers who provide nutritious food and ingredients to their schools, Melissa shared about the importance of cow care to provide quality milk. “The healthier [the cow] is, the healthier her milk is,” Melissa explained.

“It’s amazing to see the care that all these cows get to make sure that the milk we are getting is safe and healthy and good for us,” shared Anne Leavens, the Director of Food and Nutrition Services for Central Point School District. “Milk is a huge part of our meal program,” said Leavens. “You don’t think about how much work goes into the food that we are getting every day.”

The Pro Bowl participants all agreed they learned more about food systems, healthy eating and physical activity strategies to share with students and staff at their schools.

“Anytime questions about milk, or even dairy cattle, come up, they’ve got a nice firm basis now to answer questions for other people,” said Cruickshank. “Because they can say, ‘I’ve been on a dairy, and this is what I saw.’”

 

Former NFL Player Tackles Dairy Farming For a Day

Over his 12-year career in the National Football League, Anthony Newman regularly faced finely-tuned athletes weighing more than 300 pounds. But it wasn’t until he visited a dairy farm that he came eye to eye with a finely-tuned 1,300 pounder – a Holstein cow at Rickreall Dairy.

As a supporter of one of the nation’s largest in-school nutrition and physical activity programs, Fuel Up to Play 60, Newman regularly encourages kids to eat healthy, be active and make positive changes in their schools and communities. He’s a big fan of including milk and dairy products in a healthy diet, but he had never had the opportunity to visit a dairy farm.

Located outside of Oregon’s state capital of Salem, Rickreall Dairy was a 2017 U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award winner. Newman took an all-access tour of the farm, and he was impressed. After seeing how well the cows are treated, what they eat, how natural resources are protected and meeting the employees, he said he gained new appreciation for how much hard work and dedication it takes to keep a dairy farm running.

Since retiring from football, Newman has been a successful sports broadcaster and devotes his time to support youth through sports camps, coaching and speaking about the importance of health and wellness for the Fuel Up to Play 60 program. Inspired and led by youth, Fuel Up to Play 60 was created by the National Dairy Council and the NFL, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The program is administered in Oregon by the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council.

View the embedded video to hear Anthony Newman’s thoughts and observations after experiencing dairy farming for a day at Rickreall Dairy.

Oregon Celebrates National School Breakfast Week

National School Breakfast Week (March 5 to 9) is a weeklong celebration of the School Breakfast Program, which provides millions of children a nutritious morning meal each school day. Dairy is an important part of those balanced, nutritious breakfasts, so the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council helped organize events for Oregon schools.

On Monday, Independence Elementary Schools’ fourth and fifth grade students gathered in the gym for a special assembly with former NFL player Anthony Newman to learn about the importance of eating a healthy breakfast in order to fuel their day.

“When you start in the morning, you have to fuel your body,” said Newman, “and put something in your body so you can go all day long.”

On Tuesday morning, Oregon Dairy Princess Ambassador Stephanie Breazile joined Newman in celebrating healthy school breakfasts with students and the school nutrition team at Ash Creek Elementary School.

“When you come to school, it’s like a game. If you don’t take care of yourself you’re going to crash. You’re going to get tired,” Newman warned. “Fuel your body, and take care of your body with the proper foods.”

Both assemblies ended with encouragement for students to take a pledge to live a healthy lifestyle. Alongside Newman, students and staff signed a poster to commit to that declaration.

According to a survey of School Nutrition Association members, 96 percent say student participation increases during National School Breakfast Week. National School Breakfast Week appearances were made possible by the Fuel Up To Play 60 program – a school health and wellness program supported by dairy farmers in partnership with the USDA, the NFL and the National Dairy Council.

 

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Grant Helps Hermiston School Connect Technology, Nutrition

Armand-Larive-Middle-School_students

Fuel Up to Play 60 grant funding provided by local dairy farmers is making a difference in Oregon schools.

Armand Larive Middle School in Hermiston received a grant of $3,555 to purchase a computer, accessories and software for video production. The new computer equipment enables students to make Food Hero time lapse recipe videos to help educate students on healthy recipes.

For the application, the school teamed with Angie Treadwell, Family and Community Health Umatilla-Morrow SNAP-Ed Program Coordinator for Oregon State University Extension Center. “We are excited for the opportunity to help Armand Larive students gain additional experience in video production while educating and promoting healthy behaviors among their peers and perhaps, the community at large,” said Treadwell.

Additionally, with the new computer equipment purchased, students were able to compete at the Student Television Network Conference in Anaheim, California in March. Under the category of Middle School Anchor Team, Armand Larive took 2nd honorable mention.

At a special school assembly in April, the Food Hero videos were shown to the student body while they enjoyed tasting the ever-popular“Popeye Power Smoothie.” All of the videos created by the students are now on www.FoodHero.org.

Fuel Up to Play 60 is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program launched by the National Dairy Council and NFL, in collaboration with the USDA, to help encourage today’s youth to lead healthier lives. To learn more about the grant visit www.fueluptoplay60.com.

Starting the Day out Right with School Breakfast

Imlay students are Fueled Up

Students at Imlay Elementary in Hillsboro, Oregon are starting the day out right with school breakfast thanks to the support of Fuel Up to Play 60 and the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council.

Knowing the importance of breakfast for student success motivated the Fuel Up to Play 60 team at Imlay Elementary to apply for grant funding through the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council. Funds brought new life to the cafeteria space with a fresh coat of paint, new menu boards, sound system and posters.

Imlay held a special Fuel Up to Play 60 kick off assembly to highlight all their cafeteria improvements. Teachers encouraged hungry students to participate in “Grab and Go” breakfast and used breakfast time as an opportunity to teach students about “What is a Healthy Breakfast.”

Classes have been fueling their minds and bodies with a friendly competition for the highest breakfast participation. “The student wellness team is helping serve food and participating in taste testing, gathering breakfast participation data and making wellness announcements,” said first grade teacher Lisa Sagapolu.

Fuel Up to Play 60 is the largest school nutrition and physical activity program in the country. The program is administered locally by the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council, in partnership with the National Football League, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Dairy Council.

New Elk Meadow Students’ Video Highlights Healthy Habits

School milkStudents at Elk Meadow Elementary School in Bend have premiered a new video about integrating healthy habits into the school day. Complete with a catchy tune and local dairy products from Eberhard’s Dairy, the video was created for a national contest for Fuel Up to Play 60 – the largest in-school nutrition and physical activity program in the U.S.

“During a recent series of art workshops at Elk Meadow, where students sampled from a variety of different art forms, some took a peak into the art of movie making with retired Bend/La Pine music teacher, Peggy Frede,” said Grant Mattox, FUTP60 Program Advisor at Elk Meadow Elementary School in Bend. “Over the course of a few weeks, they put together this video which they have also entered into a little competition through Fuel Up to Play 60.

”Inspired and led by youth, Fuel Up to Play 60 was created by the National Dairy Council and the NFL, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to help encourage today’s youth to lead healthier lives. Funded by Oregon’s dairy farm families and managed by the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council, Fuel Up to Play 60 is active in more than 73,000 schools nationwide and hundreds of public schools in Oregon.

Having reached Touchdown Status as a school and with back-to-back student ambassadors representing Oregon at the last two national summits, Elk Meadow Elementary School has been a star performer in Oregon’s Fuel Up to Play 60 program. This is attributable in large part to their program advisor Grant Mattox and his student team of “Wellness Warriors.”

Grants Support Strengthening Oregon Schools and Students

Schools across Oregon have innovative projects underway focused on youth engagement, nutrition and physical activity, thanks to Fuel Up to Play 60 grants funded by Oregon dairy farmers. Fuel Up to Play 60 is the largest in-school health and wellness program in the country.

The Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council, in partnership with the National Football League, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Dairy Council, awarded grants to eight schools throughout the state last fall.

With grant funding, schools are purchasing blenders for yogurt smoothie classroom celebrations and carts for grab-and-go breakfast options. Brand new pans and salad bar inserts will be featuring fruits and vegetables from school gardens in cafeterias. Noise cancelling blankets are going up in one cafeteria to reduce noise and bring Smarter Lunch Room concepts to students. One school is using funding to create time lapse videos featuring Food Hero recipes highlighting whole grains, fruit and low fat dairy.

Physical activity goes hand in hand with nutrition for Oregon students. Students will be energized and ready to focus on learning throughout the day by participating in brain breaks in class. Students will be stretching out in yoga poses, checking their heart rates with monitors and counting steps with pedometers.

For more information on how you and your school can get in on the action contact the schools team:

Crista Hawkins, RDN, LD
Director of School Programs
chawkins@odncouncil.org
Direct: 971-673-2725

Erin Hirte, RDN, LD
Manager of School Programs
ehirte@odncouncil.org
Direct: 971-673-2729

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