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Dairy farmers, consumers, and anyone who says that dairy milk is good for your body received one of their biggest boosts lately when Mariano Rivera, a great pitcher for the New York Yankees, publicly announced that every day of a Yankee game, he always consumes a nice, big jar of chocolate milk. Yes, chocolate milk!  Yes, the drink that is so good for you.

Rivera is a 19-year professional baseball player and recently he became the only professional baseball player that was unanimously voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Rivera told a group of campers recently that “you need chocolate milk in your body.”  Rivera went on to tell the group that you should eat healthy food, not junk food, and be sure to drink chocolate milk.

How many times did Yankee fans hear this announcement? “Now, coming out of the bullpen is number 42, Mariano Rivera!”  And the crowd would go wild!

Man oh man, what a testimony Mariano Rivera has become. After visiting Lake Placid several years ago, I remember the trainer telling us, everyday when the athletes finish their workouts, they were given chocolate milk to drink.

This all makes me think about my own desire, which is chocolate milk. I remember I began to drink chocolate milk when I was four years old. This milk even came from the milk cans on my dad’s dairy farm. And I have continued to drink at least two big glasses of chocolate milk every day, and I have to admit that in three years I will be 90 years young.

I am proud to say that Mariano Rivera and I have two strong things in common, the Yankees and chocolate milk. Maybe this is why we have been leading the fight for many years to get whole milk back in our schools, both flavored and unflavored. 

It’s time our Secretaries of Agriculture live up to what they have said. For instance, former Sec. of Agriculture Vilsack said, “No matter what the guidelines are, I have the final say what goes into our school lunch program.”

Current Secretary of Agriculture Perdue said twice in a hearing last Spring, in front of the Senate Ag Committee:  "Obesity of our children has gotten a lot worse since whole milk was taken out of our school lunches."

Okay? Secretary Vilsack said he had the authority but did not do anything. Secretary Perdue basically said we need whole milk back in our schools. Okay, Mr. Sonny, help us get whole milk back into our schools and help us obtain a fair price for our dairy farmers.  Let’s see you move on these two items immediately.

Tewksbury is the manager of Pro-Ag comprised of U.S. farmers lobbying government for help, especially for dairy farmers.

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