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OPINION: Local milk for local schools


md_productsweb-9308121-6656673By Jennifer Olsen

I appreciated (Siobhan) McAndrews’ article (Reno Gazette-Journal, December 11, 2013) regarding the decision of the school board to keep the school milk contract with Model Dairy. In these times it is good to look local and to look beyond the bottom line.

When Ms. Ruggerio asks, “Where is the local support?” we need to look at the minutes of the last meeting. Out of respect for the trustees’ time and agenda the local dairy community chose not to rally a group but instead, asked one of the dairy farmers from Fallon to present on behalf of the local industry.

This took place at the meeting in November and established the impact the loss of the contract would have on the local dairy farmers. All of the fluid milk that is provided to the schools in Washoe County is from dairy farms located in Fallon, Nevada. Although Model Dairy, a longtime family held business, was sold to Dean Foods 10 years ago, they remain committed to providing local milk to the schools and being a part of the local community.

The other issue that is overlooked in the article and perhaps in the whole discussion, is the community support provided by Model Dairy. Not an event in the summer goes by without one or two of the big refrigerated trucks owned by Model on site to keep all kinds of products safe and wholesome and cold. Model donates the trucks, the fuel and the time it takes to deliver and pick up.

Model provides countless gallons of milk and ice cream to the shelters and food pantries to feed those who do not have the resources to purchase food. In the last few years Model has provided chocolate milk to our high school athletes to refuel after competitions. How many schools have fund raisers and events that go better with donated milk or ice cream?

The value of Model Dairy and the school contract goes far beyond the dollars. Add up all they do for the community, the jobs they provide and continued support of the local dairy farmers and it is apparent the decision by the school board was the correct one.

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