Krainick Dairy, Rep. Schrier stump for whole fat, 2% milk to go back in schools

Leann Krainick, a local dairy farmer, recently voiced support for the District 8 Congresswoman’s bill.

Local dairy farmer Leann Krainick met with Rep. Kim Schrier (D-8) to promote a bill that would bring 2% fat and whole milk back into public schools.

The Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act, or H.R. 1147, passed the U.S. House with 330 “yes” votes to 99 “no” votes on Dec. 12, 2023; the Senate’s companion bill, S. 1957, is currently in the Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry.

If approved by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden, the Whole Milk for Healthy Kids Act would replace a portion of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which, among several provisions that aimed to reduce child obesity and various other health risks overall, only allowed 1% fat milk in schools.

According to Schrier, 2% fat and whole milk (which is 3.25% fat by weight) are clearly not one of the major contributors to child obesity, which has risen from under 5% in the mid-1960s to close to 20% in in 2020.

“As a pediatrician, I address this all the time,” Schrier said at Krainick Dairy, which has been operating in Enumclaw for the last century. “… Milk is not the bad guy in kids’ nutrition these days.”

In fact, she continued, offering more filling and better tasting milk may even encourage students to decide against drinking something with far more sugar and less nutritional value.

Schrier said that since the 2010 Act took effect, there’s been a “precipitous drop” of students who drink milk in school; according to the United States Department of Agriculture, it went from almost 1 cup-equivalent of milk as a beverage per day in 2012 to just under 0.8 cup-equivalent in 2018 for children. Additionally, teenagers went from drinking three-quarters cup-equivalent daily to 0.4 cup-equivalent in the same time frame. This does not include milk used with cereal or with other beverages.

While per-person milk consumption has been trending down across the country for the last 70 years, the USDA noted that consumption decreased at a faster rate since 2010 than the previous six decades.

However, the department also notes that there appears to be “little evidence that consumption of [milk] was offset by consumption of another” like soft drinks, coffee, tea, and 100% juices. Instead, the USDA says its an generational issue, as younger generations has consumed less milk in average than the last.

Whatever the reason, there are benefits that 2% and whole milk have over 1%, according to Schrier. For example, the additional fat content helps release the sugar in milk slower, giving students more energy throughout the day after lunch than a “spike” in energy, followed by a crash.

Additionally, milk is fortified with Vitamin D — a vitamin that many people across America (and Washingtonians specifically) are deficient in — and one of the only regularly-consumed product that contains it (outside of some fish), she continued. Schrier hopes that by bringing back what she thinks is a more popular milk option will increase the vitamin intake for kids.

“I would also add that milk has been shown to provide multiple benefits of lower risk of heart attack and Type 2 Diabetes, lower blood pressure, and, of course, better bone health,” Schrier said in a prepared statement after the interview.


Leann Krainick is a third-generation dairy farmer at Krainick Dairy, which started 112 years ago on the Plateau. Currently, the dairy has about 3,600 heads of cattle.

Krainick said this bill’s passage would have no immediate benefit to her operation or milk dairies in general, but an increase in milk consumers now could help encourage more to get on the proverbial wagon in the future.

“We hope to perpetuate milk drinkers that go from school to home… so we have lifelong milk drinkers,” she said.

Additionally, her farm is a part of Darigold, a co-op of Pacific Northwest dairies — so while the milk you buy at local grocery stores might not come from her farm specifically, it indirectly supports Krainick Dairy.

In turn, it helps Krainick pump around $5 million into the local economy, she said, which includes Enumclaw and the rest of the 98022 ZIP code area, as she hires locals to work at her farm and uses local companies for her equipment and repairs.

Leann Krainick being interviewed by King 5 while her cows chow down. Photo by Ray Miller-Still

Leann Krainick being interviewed by King 5 while her cows chow down. Photo by Ray Miller-Still