Ag Secretary: Support bill to return whole milk to schools

Arden Tewksbury
U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue enjoys a milk toast with Sugar Creek Elementary students Jameson, left, Elliot and dairy farmer Marilyn Hershey, right, on Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2019 in Verona, Wis.

After years of fighting to get whole milk back in our schools, it’s rewarding to see the various efforts being put forth by individual dairy farmers and the welcomed support from consumers. However, the best information that has ever been alluded to was made by US Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue at a US Senate Ag Hearing when the Secretary said twice, that obesity has gotten worse since we took whole milk out of our schools.

A few years ago, I heard former US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack say that he had the final authority to allow whole milk back in our schools.

As a person who has worked on this problem for years, I say, what the heck are we waiting for? Allegedly, Vilsack has been quoted as saying that the evidence points to low-fat or a fat-free life style. Now we can understand why whole milk was allowed to be taken out of our schools.

I don’t know who Vilsack has been talking to, but after we’ve spoken with thousands of consumers, it’s evident that the large majority of people strongly favor whole milk back in our schools.

If Perdue feels that obesity has gotten worse since whole milk was taken out of school, I strongly suggest that the Secretary of Agriculture throw his whole weight behind House Bill HR832, in an attempt to get whole milk back in our schools. Our dairy farmers have been messed up long enough with this low-fat problem, and the Secretary of Agriculture must be encouraged to take action to get whole milk back in our schools.

I want to remind everyone that Bill’s Shop-rite store in Daleville, PA still has twenty rows of milk in his coolers.

At a ball game at Elk Lake School in February, Pro-Ag will be passing out hundreds of cartons of whole chocolate milk.

Arden Tewksbury

Tewksbury is manager of Pro-Ag