The American Farm Bureau Federation is celebrating county Farm Bureaus for their unique, volunteer-driven programming through its annual County Activities of Excellence Awards.

There are 12 counties recognized for their programs and activities in 2019 and 2020. The programs featured here focus on county Farm Bureau efforts to help address the huge increase in families in need during the pandemic.

In a bid to harp on the importance of keeping milk in kids’ diets as schools switched to virtual learning in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Tuscarawas County Farm Bureau and the county Dairy Farmers Committee created the Cows 2 Kids project, which has resulted in 7,000 gallons of milk donated to 2,200 families in eight schools, plus homeless shelters and a food pantry. The dairy farmers, all Farm Bureau members, planned the project, solicited sponsorships, sourced the milk, and transported and delivered the product to the schools and facilities for distribution.

Within a week of the program launch, volunteers raised $7,000 to purchase the milk while Walmart agreed to purchase the milk from the processor for the price the company usually pays – $1.89 –and sell it to the Cows 2 Kids project for 89 cents – the same loss-leader price it sells for in the store. This amounted to a $7,000 donation from Walmart and allowed Cows 2 Kids to double the number of gallons of milk they could distribute.

The processing plant delivered 2,300 gallons of milk to Walmart once a week for three weeks. The milk was transferred to a refrigerated truck owned by dairy farmers. Farm Bureau volunteers with coolers picked up the milk and distributed it to the schools and food pantries. The volunteers at some schools, helped hand out the milk while the families also received nutritional information with their gallon of milk.

The Cow 2 Kids program has not only helped families in need by providing them with 3 gallons of milk (1 gallon per week for three weeks) but gave dairy farmers an outlet for their milk, which they very much needed after schools and restaurants abruptly closed at the onset of the pandemic.

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