By MAGGIE SCHUETTE-VOSS
Promotion, promotion, promotion. That's the main function of the American Dairy Association.
The ADA is a non-political organization, set up to promote and develop new dairy products. "A lot of people were disappointed we didn't take a stand on BST," said McLeod County Chair Jeff Fasching. But, he said, taking a political stand is not the ADA's role.
By far, the ADA's most successful campaign is the "Got milk?" ads. That idea came from California, he said, and has been a Clio award winner; advertising's equal of the Oscars.
Cheese consumption has also increased. Pizza, Fasching said, is the number one use of cheese in the country.
Money to fund the promotions comes from all dairy farmers. Of the price paid for milk, 15 cents per hundred weight is deducted from the milk check. Five cents goes to the national ADA and 10 cents goes to the state ADA.
In McLeod County, the ADA has several events during the year. In March during National Agricultural Week, ADA board members visited the metro schools as part of a program called "From the Cow to You." The program is focused on first through fifth grade.
This year, Edmund Novak of Silver Lake and Mike Hoernemann of Winsted went to the inner city schools.
"Some of the kids don't know the milk comes from cows," Fasching said. The program also tries to get the younger kids interested in using dairy products.
The dairy banquet and princess coronation is in April. Angie Otto of Winsted, Kellie Rusch of Hutch-inson, and Nicole Wendolek of Silver Lake were selected this years princesses.
On May 29-31, the ADA will have a fundraiser Cheeseburger Days in Hutchinson. This in cooperation with KDUZ radio. Hutchinson business people volunteer to help out during the three days to fry burgers, etc.
In June, dairy promotion goes into full swing with the June is Dairy Month promotions.
KARP radio and the princesses will visit all communities and have radio broadcasts from them. For this promotion, the princesses will make about 20 appearances.
For the next two years, the McLeod County ADA will host the regional dairy princess coronation and banquet. Princesses from McLeod, Hennepin, Wright, and Carver Counties will compete for the regional crown.
In August, the ADA sets up the malt wagon at the county fair.
During harvest, the pace slows down, but the princesses will continue to make appearances at area businesses.
Each year the ADA gives away three $500 scholarships to seniors majoring in an ag-related field.
Another recent promotion was a take on the Cheese to the Rescue theme. The ADA teamed up with a grocery store with the pitch of a portion of the sales from the promotional cheese production would be donated to March of Dimes, Toys for Kids, and McLeod County Alliance for Victims of Domestic Violence.
Fasching said the store sold 45 percent more of the promotional cheese than the amount of cheese normally sold. The ADA divided $1,000 among the three organizations.
In McLeod County, ADA board members are Fasching, Novak, Hoernemann, Shirley Wright, Mary Nelson, Roger Rolf, Donna Anderson, and Doug Benson.