School Nutrition Professionals Virtually Visit New York Dairy Farm to Learn How School Milk is Produced, Encourage Dairy as Main Menu Ingredient

SYRACUSE, N.Y. –To help create excitement and build trust around school meals that include milk and dairy, American Dairy Association North East recently facilitated a live farm tour hosted by Sarah Colby of Colby Homestead Farm, Spencerport, N.Y., for more than 100 school nutrition professionals from Monroe County, N.Y.

The tour was part of New York Thursdays, the statewide program to educate students about locally sourced foods like milk and dairy.

“Creating more opportunities for dairy items to be included in school menus while growing school breakfast and school meal participation is a primary dairy checkoff goal,” said ADA North East CEO Rick Naczi. “Our staff provides school food service decision makers with resources and educational programs like the farm tour to keep dairy as a main ingredient in students’ meals.”

Colby helped make the connection about how on-farm practices translate to the safe, wholesome milk the students drink, supplied by her cooperative Upstate Niagara Cooperative, at school.

“School nutrition professionals work so hard to keep our children nourished and fueled for success,” said Colby. “The virtual farm tour was a great opportunity to show them that the local milk and dairy products they’re serving to students every day come from a good place.”

Viewers asked Colby questions in real time, inquiring about the farm’s robot milkers and conventional milking parlor; cows’ lifespans; the robotic manure scraper; and what’s included in cows’ and calves’ diets, among others.

“I know the enormous effort it takes to put milk and other dairy products on our tables and in our lunch bags,” said Monroe County School Nutrition Association president and school nutrition director Nicole VanDerMeid. “New York Thursdays gives us the perfect opportunity to share with students, parents and school staff all the local farmers we support, and it’s important to know where their food comes from and the people producing it.”

For more information about dairy checkoff school meals programs, visit, or call 315.472.9143.


About American Dairy Association North East

American Dairy Association North East (ADA North East) is the dairy farmer-funded organization funded by participating dairy farmer’s checkoff investment to build demand and sales for milk and dairy foods throughout the local region. Representing nearly 10,000 dairy farm families in Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and northern Virginia, ADA North East develops and implements local programs to drive milk and dairy sales at retail outlets and in schools. The organization also conducts consumer education about dairy through events, traditional and social media, and in collaboration with health professionals through National Dairy Council®. ADA North East works closely with Dairy Management Inc.™, the national dairy checkoff organization, to support nutrition research, national partnerships and developing export markets for dairy to bring a fully integrated promotion program to the region. For more information, visit