WUD Hires Nutrition Ace to Guard Dairy Products in the Capitol
– Anja Raudabaugh, Western United Dairies CEO
Western United Dairies (WUD) brought on a strategic partner to assist with nutrition advocacy inside the Sacramento legislature this week.It is critical that the dairy industry continues to ensure that better health and wellness are afforded through a variety of dairy products produced in California. California spends nearly $300 million annually on food purchasing and California’s school systems spend approximately $500– $700 million annually on direct food purchasing–totaling nearly $1 billion that the state could direct toward supporting California farmers, their employees, and our consumers by purchasing California–grown foods.
School meal programs helpimprove the nutritional status of children, especially children living in marginalized and disadvantaged communities. School meal programs that provide children with access to nutritious foods like milk and dairy, fruits and vegetables, protein, and whole grains are part of the solution to a broad range of issues: hunger reduction, assisting in closing the gender divide, health, and improving the ability to succeed in school and society. In fact, school meal programs are supported as a key solution to scale up within the United NationsFood System Summit as a way to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals targets by 2030 as a result of their positive impact in supporting the growth and development of school–aged children. The continued inclusion of milk, yogurt, cheese, andother dairy foods within these public systems and programs is important in ensuring our population can thrive.
Western United Dairies has had tremendous success in advancing initiatives to increase access to fresh and locally grown dairy products within the public policy debate about what is best to improve the lives of our children and adults. WUD plans to continue to leverage existing data and research programs that are afforded to the dairy industry–elevating those existing resources through ongoing and increased academic research, polling data, and heightening awareness and the need to increase access to fresh and locally grown nutrition through California–produced dairy products. This will lead efforts to compile data utilizing the variety of resources available and produce education and advocacy materials. These materials will provide substantial evidence that the inclusion of California-grown dairy products are critical to helping prepare school-aged children to learn and provide the nutrition and protein needed to maintain overall wellness.
WUD has been discussing the constant threat of plant-based legislation in the capitol for many years with our board and members. We need the assistance of a non–biased expert when speaking to Legislators and their staff in the capitol–and we’ve found just the right person.WUD has brought on Amy Mydral Miller, an award–winning Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist, farmer’s daughter, highly regarded public speaker, published author, and founder and president of Farmer’s Daughter® Consulting, Inc., a privately–held agriculture, food, and culinary communications firm. Amy is no stranger to public relations work and her expertise in nutrition will be an important complement to our government affairs program. Amy will begin walking the halls of Sacramento this week as part of our engagement strategy with the capitol. You can learn more about Amy herehttps://www.farmersdaughterconsulting.com/team.html#amy
The alliance of the Plant-Based Foods Association, the animal rights activist/anti–dairy groups, and the faux veganEnvironmental Justice groups must be addressed head–on with aggressive advocacy work. The work product aims to place WUD and the dairy industry on permanent offense in this space.We’ve played defense far too long, and if California really does lead the nation, our fight to secure dairy products over plant-based products in the school lunch program will play out nationally unless we stop it here for good.
We can look forward to Amy’s insights on developing a portfolio bolstered by valuable wisdom and expertise from our partners at the dairy checkoffs for our legislative affairs now and in the future.As a reminder–our checkoffs are not allowed lobby and WUD can, which is why this component is so critical to building success on both the policy and political sides. For more on this strategic hire, please check out our podcast, Seen and HerdHERE.