On behalf of the 55,000 American farm families who fund Dairy Management, Inc., it is incumbent upon me to set the record straight regarding serious inaccuracies in the February 9 opinion piece, “Obesity, cheese politics and the USDA.”
First, the United States Department of Agriculture absolutely does not fund Dairy Management, Inc. or its marketing programs. USDA’s role in dairy promotion is strictly that of financial oversight, including auditing the collection and disbursement of the dairy promotion program funds. America’s dairy farmers reimburse USDA for the agency’s expenses in carrying out its oversight function, so there is no cost to the government or taxpayers.
America’s dairy farmers created DMI in 1995 to unify national and local promotion efforts. Only a limited amount of our budget goes to working with foodservice partners on elevating the presence of cheese and other dairy foods on their menus. More than half of DMI’s budget funds health and wellness efforts, including Fuel Up to Play 60, our partnership with the National Football League that brings youth-directed programming to encourage healthy eating and physical activity into our schools.
Cheese plays a critical role in the American diet, supplying essential nutrients such as calcium, high quality protein and phosphorous. Cheese provides only 5 percent of the calories in the U.S. diet, yet 21 percent of the calcium.
I understand that Ms. Siegel and Dr. Narayan’s piece was their opinion. However, the public counts on newspapers such as the Atlanta Journal-Constitution to ensure that opinions expressed in their publications, at the very least, do not distort the facts; facts that are easily obtained through public information.
Truelove Dairy, Inc.
6161 Elmer Truelove Rd.
Clermont, GA 30527
Jerry Truelove is a dairy farmer and a member of the American Dairy Association of Georgia , the Georgia Milk Producers Association and the Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commission for Milk.