Nutrient-rich dairy foods are one of the most requested and least donated items within the food bank system. To help address this need, the dairy community has partnered with Feeding South Dakota in multiple ways, to help ensure all South Dakotans have access to dairy foods throughout the year.

During June National Dairy Month, $1,296 was raised at two dairy farm open house events. These funds were presented to Feeding South Dakota today at the Agriculture United for South Dakota’s annual meeting that took place at Feeding South Dakota’s Distribution Center in Sioux Falls.

Local dairy farmers are passionate about opening their doors to the public so that consumers can experience dairy’s journey from farm to fridge and learn more about where their milk comes from. Along with a tour of the farm, the open houses included a free meal where donations were collected for Feeding South Dakota. The dairy community recognizes the elevated importance of nutrient-rich foods, including dairy, for local families in need during the summer months when school is not in session and when school meals aren’t available.

“Dairy farmers are committed to working with food bank partners to help bring nutrient-rich dairy foods to our friends and neighbors in need. We believe that everyone should have access to the great benefits that dairy has to offer. By opening up our farm to the public, more people have the opportunity to learn about where their milk comes from, and every dollar donated goes back to our local food bank partners right here in South Dakota,” Doug Ode, Dairy Farmer, Royalwood Farms, Brandon SD.

Beyond open houses, a unique partnership between Feeding South Dakota, The Wellmark Foundation, Wells Fargo, and Midwest Dairy has formed to fund and create a brand new “clean room” in Feeding South Dakota’s Distribution Center located in Sioux Falls.

This clean room is dedicated to repackaging bulk food items and has been designed to meet the highest standards of sanitation. Wellmark and Wells Fargo generously provided a grant to Feeding South Dakota to build the new clean room at the distribution center.

The first bulk product that the organization will repackage is cheese, generously donated by Valley Queen Cheese in Milbank, South Dakota. Valley Queen Cheese has been a donor for nearly 10 years, providing over 10,000 pounds of cheese annually in the form of 40-pound blocks.

The clean room allows Feeding South Dakota the ability to slice and repackage this cheese into usable, family-sized portions.

South Dakota dairy farmers and Midwest Dairy have provided funding for the equipment needed to slice and package the cheese which will save Feeding South Dakota thousands of dollars annually.

In addition, Midwest Dairy has provided funding to support refrigeration which will help store the cheese at local agency partners throughout the state.

“Feeding South Dakota is grateful to Ag United and the entire dairy community for their continued support of the work being done in South Dakota to end hunger,” says Jennifer Stensaas, Communications Coordinator.

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