Michigan Dairy Foods Association has sponsored Dairy Foods Awareness Day at the Capitol for more than 20 years. The association’s primary goal is to spread awareness of the health benefits of milk and dairy products.
To organize the event, the association pulls together a number of participants to distribute samples.
“We reach out to companies across the state and invite them to come to Dairy Day to ... promote their product,” Michigan Dairy Foods Association’s Vice President of Government Affairs Jason Wadaga said.
Former Detroit Lions kicker Jason Hanson, who officially retired in fall of 2013, spoke at the event, expressing the importance of a nutritional diet.
“Exercise and nutrition are crucial. What you put into you directly affects how you perform,” Hanson said.
Hanson went on to describe the difference a nutritional diet made for him and his teammates in the NFL.
“My experience from the very start was watching big football players start the day with milk and yogurt,” he said.
Following his speech, Hanson gave autographs and took pictures with fans.
Wadaga said it’s important to promote Michigan dairy because “most people don’t realize when they go to the grocery store what’s local and what’s not local.”
Wadaga added that there is a 5-digit code on each milk label, and if the first two numbers are 2 and 6, then it’s Michigan milk.
A number of Michigan dairy farmers also attended the event, including Michigan State Representative Ed McBroom, a dairy farmer from Dickinson County, and State Senator Judy Emmons, a dairy farmer from Montcalm County.
In addition to vendors and dairy farmers, many area residents came to take advantage of the free ice cream and other food.
“We stumbled upon (Dairy Month) two years ago when we were walking downtown to get some breakfast, and we had so much fun,” Lansing resident Courtney Huver said. “Last year we actually missed it because it was pretty early in the summer, but this year, I made sure to look it up, and found the date and we planned on going.”