Indiana Dairy Farmers Donate 40 Milk Coolers to Boys and Girls Clubs

In order to keep milk and other nutritious foods at the top of young people’s minds, 40 milk coolers have been donated to Boys & Girls Clubs across the state of Indiana.

Dairy Farmers John and Cynthia Adam with one of the donated coolers

About 30 percent of kids ages four to eight don’t get the recommended amount of calcium in their diets. More than 90 percent of preteen girls (ages 9 to 13) and 70 percent of preteen boys do not meet current calcium recommendations. During the adolescent years, experts estimate that at least 40 percent of all bone is formed. This is a critical time for calcium, and by far the most common source of calcium is milk and dairy products. Our experience with school age children is that when you provide milk to kids served ice-cold, in a variety of flavers and in packaging they like, they will choose it in place of beverages that may offer very little nutrition.

 Indiana dairy farmers feel that teaching children about eating nutritiously and being physically active as young people are habits that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives. With childhood obesity reaching an all time high, making healthy choices is vital for our children’s current and future health.  Drinking low-fat or fat-free white or flavored milk helps kids consume the 3 daily servings of milk and other dairy products recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, and provides three of the five “nutrients of concern” that children do not get enough of—calcium, potassium and magnesium as well as Vitamin D. 

Boys & Girls Clubs make a difference in communities by giving young people a safe place to learn and grow.  They inspire and enable kids to realize their full potential as productive, responsible and caring citizens.

2010 Fuel Up to Play 60 Champion!

Lisa Ozimek, Mike Pryor, Colts Fitness Camps leader, & Marian Danko.

Recently there has been a national focus on eliminating childhood obesity throughout the country, and in Indiana, Bailly Elementary (Chesterton) has shown that focusing on small, realistic improvements can be the first step toward that goal. Out of the 1,353 schools participating in Fuel Up to Play 60, Bailly Elementary was selected as the statewide winner of the Fuel Up to Play 60 nationwide online competition. Fuel Up to Play 60 is a national program developed by the National Dairy Council, Dairy & Nutrition Council Inc., and the National Football League that centers on helping youth make their schools a healthier environment.

Bailly Elementary will be rewarded with a special Fuel Up to Play 60 prize worth $1,000 including fitness equipment for the gym, a Fuel Up to Play 60 menu board, and a Fuel Up to Play 60 banner to help showcase their progress toward having a healthier school environment. Cafeteria Manager, Lisa Ozimek, started a walking club after breakfast to help energize the students while also making their way toward 60 minutes of physical activity a day. School Nurse, Marian Danko, helped with the program as well. In March, Bailly Elementary was also rewarded with Colts Fitness Camps for the entire school.

Through their involvement with the Fuel Up to Play 60 program and by making school-wide changes, Bailly students earned points by tracking their healthy eating and physical activity behaviors every day. Thus, they were at the top of the leader board as the highest-scoring school from Indiana in the competition.

 “Bailly was thrilled to be part of Fuel Up to Play 60 and give our students the opportunities to make their own decisions on how they will make themselves and the school a healthier place,” said Lisa Ozimek, Cafeteria Manager. By being recognized as the top school in our state, our students were eager to continue with their efforts and excited to join the program next school year to make even more healthy changes at our school!”

Bailly Elementary has started a program to get kids moving in the mornings before school by way of NFL Play 60 and local volunteers. It costs the school nothing and benefits the kids in many ways, including: better grades, better behavior, the building of a healthy habit that will last a lifetime, and most importantly to the kids, FUN!

The program is simple with lots of room for creativity. They trick the kids into fitness by playing games or doing simple obstacle courses consisting of running, jumping, rolling on mats, and even adding Martial Arts moves into the mix. Then they move to the game of the day, such as tag, and if you get tagged you’re out of the game until you do 15 jumping jacks.

The best part is seeing the kids going to class with big smiles on their faces after having a chance to wake up their bodies in preparation for learning. Everyone knows that you will be more receptive to learning if you’re not sleepy or groggy. The kids are so alert and full of renewed vigor without being disruptive to the class.

Need Fiber? Dairy Can Help!

Michelle Plummer, RD

Think about the part of your body that gets you into trouble almost every day!  For most of us, it is the 6 inches between our eyebrows and chin.  Yes, we need our senses to activate those juices to get us to eat, but is chocolate cake with frosting the best choice?  As Americans, the American Dietetic Association states that we need between 25-30 grams of fiber daily (about 1 ounce), and only about 20% of us actually get that much.  I am not an advocate for “no sweet treats” or “all twigs and sticks”, but I have had a recent revelation. Going to yoga practice and eating better (adding more fiber to precise) actually makes me feel better!  So how can I get you on board?

First, there are two types of fiber, soluble (digestible) and insoluble (non-digestible).  Soluble means in water which means it can blend with water to form a gel.  Soluble fiber provides a feeling of fullness or satiety.  Also, it helps lower Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL) blood-cholesterol (also known as the “bad cholesterol”) levels and regulate blood sugar levels.  Some food examples are psyllium (like OTC mix with water), oat bran, apples, pears, legumes, and barley.  Insoluble means not soluble or does not dissolve in water.  Acting like a sponge, this fiber swells in size, absorbing up to 15 times its own weight in water, often referred to as “roughage”.  It also speeds up the movement of food through the digestive system, helping to promote regularity and reduce the incidence of constipation.  Some examples of foods that contain insoluble fiber include wheat bran and bran cereals, corn bran, some whole-wheat foods, vegetables, and fruit.  

A medium size apple gives you 5 grams of fiber.  What a treat!  Many cereals cannot make that claim!  Fiber can be very tasty, colorful, and appealing to the senses!   Start by substituting brown rice for white, using whole grain pasta, and choosing whole wheat bread and tortillas.  Zonya Foco, RD, a leader in nutrition health seminars stated that when she has a snack she has what she wants, but also adds a vegetable or fruit serving.  Still enjoy the snack you wish, but eat a fruit or vegetable first.  The Mayo Clinic provides a delicious list of the top 25 high fiber foods that are pleasing to the 6 inches above your neck, but also fulfilling to the 21 feet of intestine inside your belly that craves nutrients to keep you satisfied and content! 

So how do you get dairy foods to have fiber?  Cereal with seasonal fruit and MILK, fresh veggies with a YOGURT dill dip, and my personal favorite, a gooey grilled CHEESE on whole wheat bread and fresh sliced tomatoes!  Now that I have shared some of my “fiber in your diet” tips with you, tell me what your favorite fiber and dairy combinations are.

Celebrate Earth Day with Indiana Farmers

Indiana’s Family of Farmers are exhibiting at Earth Day Indiana 2010 on Saturday, April 24, 2010, from 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at White River State Park at 801 W. Washington St., Indianapolis.

“As stewards of our environment, we have always been aware that nurturing and protecting our farms and the products we grow is in the best interests of all our families and the communities in which we live,” said Heather Hill, a farmer from Greenfield, Ind.

The first Earth Day was held in 1970. It began as a way to position environmental concerns at the forefront of American policy discussions. Enthusiasm has grown over the years as more people search for ways to become everyday environmentalists.

“Earth Day is a great way to remind everyone that being environmentally conscious and tending to the earth respectfully is the best way to provide sustainable methods of growing healthy food for our future,” added Lynn Teel, a farmer from Chalmers, Ind.

Among the many exhibits on display on behalf of Indiana’s Family of Farmers is an activity your youngsters will not want to miss! Thanks to the Marion County Young Farmers, your kids will learn how to grow sweet corn in CowPots – manure-fiber based seed starter pots that allow for unrestricted root growth – resulting in stronger, healthier plants. You sow the seeds, plant the pots and harvest the crop.

In addition to the kids’ activities, farmers – Indiana’s everyday environmentalists – will sponsor informational booths about the sustainability of Indiana agriculture as well as offer information about Indiana agricultural products. The Biofuels Mobile Learning Center will be there courtesy of Indiana soybean and corn farmers.

For more information about the free Earth Day Indiana 2010 event on April 24, visit

For more information about the organizations represented by Indiana’s Family of Farmers, visit

Following are some Fun Facts from Indiana’s Family of Farmers about sustainability and environmental stewardship practices accomplished right here in Indiana:

«  Pork producers have worked with state and federal regulatory agencies to develop and present environmental workshops for more than 5,000 producers throughout the nation. These cooperative and educational efforts have improved operational efficiency while protecting the environment for future generations.

«  Cattlemen also are recyclers, raising their animals on the abundant source of grains available in this country and then turning the manure into natural fertilizers

«  Between 1987 and 2007, corn farmers have reduced soil loss per bushel of corn by 69 percent and land use per bushel of corn by 37 percent.

«  Soybean farmers are planting biotech crops like soybeans that are resistant to herbicides. This allows farmers to come close to eliminating plowing on their fields. The resulting environmental benefits include better soil health and conservation, improved water retention, decreased soil erosion and decreased herbicide runoff.

«  Indiana farmers using biotech crops have contributed to the elimination of 379 million pounds of pesticide applications globally.

«  Of the 65,000 dairy farms in America today, most are smaller farms with less than 200 cows. The vast majority of U.S. farms – big and small – are family owned and operated.

«  One benefit of fertilizing the soil with cow manure is to help conserve water. When manure is used as a soil treatment, the water-holding capacity of soil is increased by 20 percent, resulting in reduced groundwater needed to grow crops.

Indiana’s Family of Farmers includes the following organizations:

Indiana State Department of Agriculture

Indiana Farm Bureau

Indiana Pork

Indiana Soybean Alliance

Indiana Corn Marketing Council

Indiana Beef Cattle Association

Milk Promotion Services of Indiana

Indiana Sheep Association

Indiana State Poultry Association

Additional Links:

For a link to the organizations above, visit

Are You Green? Dairy Farmers Are!

Dairy farmers work hard every day to bring you fresh, great tasting, wholesome milk products. Almost all dairies are family-owned, and as active members of their communities, farm families take pride in maintaining natural resources. That means preserving the land where they live and work, protecting the air and water they share with neighbors, and providing the best care for their cows—the lifeblood of their business.

Being Green
There is an old adage among farmers, “We live as if we’ll die tomorrow, farm as if we’ll live forever.” Taking good care of the land helps ensure healthy cows…and a healthy business. Most importantly, it sustains quality of life and makes the world a better place for future generations.

Fresh Air for Everyone
Clean air is important to everyone, including farm families. Farmers protect air quality by keeping barns clean and using special manure storage facilities that help control odors. Research and development has inspired new practices and innovative technologies to improve manure and odor management. For example, dairy nutritionists can formulate diets for cows that reduce the odor of manure. Other technologies such as air filtration systems in barns, odor-reducing additives for manure storage facilities and even methane digesters, which use manure to produce electricity, are being incorporated in many dairy operations.

Recycling Has Lasting Effects
Recycling comes naturally to dairy farmers. Cow manure is used as an organic fertilizer for cropland and for compost, which is used by local nurseries and by neighbors for their gardens. This greatly reduces the use of commercial fertilizers, which are often made from fossil fuels.

The water used on farms is recycled several times a day to wash barn alleys and irrigate the fields. And, applying recycled manure to the crops helps increase the water-holding capacity of the soil, which reduces the need for irrigation in the first place.

Plentiful Clean Water
Dairy cows need to drink plenty of clean water to stay healthy and produce quality milk, so farmers take water protection and conservation practices seriously.

The proper recycling of cow manure plays a central role in protecting nearby lakes, rivers and streams. Farmers store manure and spread it on their crop fields according to a Nutrient Management Plan that takes into account the types of soil found on the farm, the terrain of the fields and the amount of nutrients needed by the crops. Other water protection measures include building fences along streams and planting trees along rivers.


Being Good Neighbors
Farm families are stakeholders in their communities, actively volunteering in service clubs, churches and youth programs. They serve on local government and school boards. They host school groups and community open houses on their farms and preserve open green space, often allowing neighbors recreational access to their land. Many farmers are the second or third generation to operate their dairies and feel a strong sense of responsibility to preserve their farms and communities for future generations.

To learn more about how farmers care for the land, visit Dairy Farming Today.

National Cheese Ball Day!

April 17th is National Cheese Ball Day!  WOW, a holiday to actually enjoy the wonderful world of cream cheese, goodies, and nuts all ready to have on the top of a cracker.  This may be too calorie laden for a whole day, but here are some great recipes for a variety of cheese balls.  Simply click here and type cheese ball into the search bar at the top of the page.  I would also like to share my favorite ways to serve cheese ball.  First, not in a ball, but stuffed in celery stalks, petite bell peppers, or lettuce leaves.  However, my all-time favorite ‘fooler’ is to pop out the center of hard boiled eggs and replace them with the cheese ball.  Then, I cover them with nuts or herbs.  To help fill the centers quickly, use a small cookie scoop.  I love putting these little surpriseshere  on an egg platter and watching the laughter begin!

Here are some other cheese ball creations that I like to make.  When I make a sweet cheese ball, I cut the tips of strawberries into stars.  Then, I open the tips gently and fill with cheese ball.  Yes, it is a bit labor intensive, but it’s well worth it.  You could also just do a few to show people how it’s done, then let them do the rest on their own.  Sometimes I also spread sweet cheese ball between two vanilla wafers to make them like sandwich cookies.  To make them even more delicious, gently roll the sandwich cookies in toasted nuts, dried fruit, or mini chocolate chips. 

Now that I’ve shared some of my favorite ways to make and serve cheese ball, I hope that you will share some of your own with me.  I always love trying new creations, so I can’t wait to see what your cheese ball tastes like…. Mmmm! 

Hope you all have a ball celebrating!

All Is A Day’s Work…


Heather Cupp, RD

Our guest blogger for the day is Heather Cupp, a Registered Dietitian working for Riley Hospital. She is also married with two young children (Ethan and Nora) who keep her very busy. We are thrilled to have Heather’s insight to help give you new, creative ways to keep your children active and healthy!

As my alarm blasts its 5:30am wake-up call, I simultaneously wish to go back to sleep and to have gotten up earlier to exercise.  After showering and dressing, the next priority is waking, dressing, and feeding the little ones.  Right on schedule, a second diaper change is in order just as we are walking out the door.  Then a quick stop at day care to unwrap little hands from my pant legs, all the while assuring them mommies always come back.  Next is the 30-minute commute.  Now is the time to collect my thoughts, sip my tea and listen to music.  Another busy work day complete, I head back to day care to find no one is running toward Mommy with open arms as they are too busy on the playground playing with friends.  Once we are home, a whirlwind game begins involving laundry and starting dinner while chasing little ones and yelling “tag – you’re it!”  After the nightly hopscotch over the debris from two toddlers’ dinner plates, clean up and tub time follows.  Snack time, book time and then bed time.  Wow, I made it through another day!  Considering this daily battle  of teaching them “right” from “wrong,” their A-B-C’s and 1-2-3’s, I also need to worry about what they’re eating, if they are watching too much television, and if they getting enough physical activity.  

So, why all the concern about how well we are feeding our children and their weight?   Obesity has been classified as a National Epidemic by the US Surgeon General. According to the 2008 National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ), 32.9% of Indiana children are overweight or obese as classified by BMI.  Alarmingly, the probability of childhood obesity persisting into adulthood is high.  Thinking our child may just ‘grow out of it’ is not likely.  Not only do they have to deal with possible harassment from their peers, but being overweight is also associated with several health problems including diabetes, high blood pressure, fatty liver disease, sleep apnea, depression and dyslipidemia.  These are no longer health problems exclusive to adulthood.

Having a healthy family does not have to be another chore added to your to-do list.  These can be simple changes that everyone enjoys and involves the entire family.  Here are some quick and easy ways for a busy parent to help their family have healthy habits:

  1. Make sure everyone eats breakfast – even if it is just a cereal bar and glass of low fat milk on the way to school.  Research shows skipping breakfast can affect school work and it can also increase likelihood of poor eating habits later in the day due to hunger. 
  2. Make sure there is a fruit or vegetable on their plate at each meal.  Fruits and vegetables provide fiber and a variety of nutrients that are important for heart health and the immune system.  A simple handful of carrots with that slice of take out pizza and having a dessert of bananas dipped in a little chocolate syrup is not only cost effective but an easy way to make a more complete meal.
  3. Change to low fat dairy products.  Using 1% or skim milk and low fat cheeses/yogurts can be a simple change for families to make if you have not done so already.  There is low to no cost difference in these products.
  4. Take the TV out of the bedroom.  A TV in the bedroom can encourage more screen time and can affect sleep habits.
  5. Limit screen time to two hours or less per day.  Many kids find their way to the couch or computer screen from the time they come home until the time they go to bed.  Decreased activity levels can affect weight and overall well being. 
  6. 60 minutes a day of play.  Just like we schedule homework time or dinner time, try scheduling an activity time.  Doing 15 or 30 minutes in addition to the activity they get at school can make a difference.

As parents, a few easy steps such as these can make for a healthy, happy family!