The Mark of Quality for Over 50 Years
For decades the phrases “Jersey milk” and “All-Jersey®” have been synonymous with quality. Consumers have placed a confidence and trust in Jersey branded products that hold producers to a higher standard of quality. Now, the All-Jersey® program continues to guarantee consumers a quality All-Jersey® product. Since the inception of National All-Jersey Inc., the “Queen of Quality® ” mark has appeared on All-Jersey® products, asserting a claim to the high nutritional standards and premium product consumers could expect.
The Beginning of Jersey-Branded Milk
At the January 1926 AJCC Board Meeting, questions were brought forth on how to raise awareness of the valuable components of Jersey milk. “There is no doubt that, speaking from the broad standpoint, Jersey milk is the best that can be had, purely on the basis of its food value,” said AJCC President M. D. Munn of Minnesota. John E. Jones, an AJCC Director from Kansas City, Mo., added to that thought, “Nearly every dairyman in our section would take up the production of Jersey milk if they had the market for it.”
Thus began the first charge of the Board of Directors to gather information on Jersey milk and its superior quality to the average milk supply and form the first milk marketing plan for the Jersey breed. At the May 31, 1927, board meeting, a marketing committee offered the word “Creamline” for the use in Jersey branding. On May 29, 1928, it was adopted and the phrase “Jersey Creamline®” was registered and patented by the U.S. Patent Office, beginning the first Jersey-branded marketing campaign.
The first license was issued on March 7, 1929, to Mason Garfield, Concord, Mass. Growth was slow with only 65 licenses issued by 1933. After Jersey Creamline, Inc., was established as a separate entity by the AJCC in 1939, the licensing program increased in popularity. By 1941, there were 434 distributor-herds.
However, acceptance of homogenized milk and wartime milk production subsidies eventually caused the downfall of the Jersey Creamline® products. Production plants began to favor “low test, higher production breeds.” By the 1953-1954 Annual Report, there were only 32 active Jersey Creamline® milk licenses in the United States.
Guys M. Crews, National All-Jersey Inc. Assistant Secretary (1962-1985), would later editorialize in the AJCC’s centennial history volume: “Thus ended an important era in the history of Jersey in the United States: An era in which milk had been judged primarily on its quantity of butterfat as manifested by a deep creamline seen through the glass bottle; an era when Jerseys were in active demand because of their ability to produce a milk that was visibly more appealing as well as nutritionally superior.”
Answering the Call from the West
Beginning in the 1940s, several Jersey breeders in the West, foreseeing the demise of Jersey Creamline®, set about creating their own Jersey milk program. In December 1948, AJCC Director Peter J. Henning of Washington informed the board of the name All-Jersey®, owned by Frederick E. Baker, an advertising mogul in the west. The Oregon Jersey Cattle Club (OJCC) contacted Baker and Associates in 1950 and by spring of 1951, had purchased exclusive rights of the All-Jersey® name for the state of Oregon.
At first, there were several small distributors using the All-Jersey® brand, but it was not until November 24, 1952, that the first large distributor, Fred Meyers stores in Portland, Ore., began distributing the products with the mark of All-Jersey®. At the September 1954 Board of Directors meeting, an agreement was made that the AJCC would assume sole ownership of the All-Jersey® program, purchasing it from the Oregon and Washington associations.
Eventually, two marks were designed and registered by NAJ. The letters “A-J” and words “All-Jersey® ” were approved for use on fluid milk and cream. The Quality Mark of National All-Jersey Inc., better known as the “Queen of Quality® ” label, was also designed as a unique identifier for Jersey products. To consumers, these marks guaranteed a quality product associated with the Jersey cow.
By March 31, 1958, over nine million pounds of Jersey milk were being sold monthly through 57 plants located in 16 states, mostly concentrated in California, Oregon and Washington. Double-digit sales in the millions were recorded by 1962. In 1966-67, All-Jersey® sales and promotion increased, however, supply was becoming an issue.
Beginning in the early 1970’s, the dairy industry was changing as a whole: fewer farms, fewer producers, and fewer distributors. Cooperative consolidation made it nearly impossible for small producers to keep their Jersey milk separate from the national supply. There were just not economical ways for the All-Jersey® mark to be used as widely as before.
The “Queen of Quality® ” Makes a Comeback
For the next 35 years, availability of All-Jersey® products was very rare. But consumers have continued to demand the freshest, premium products that agriculture has to offer. And with the latest spark of “home-grown” campaigns, the All-Jersey® mark has once again become a key component for NAJ. In today’s fast-paced world, consumer demand for farm-fresh products is a trend that cannot and should not be ignored. Within the past several years, consumers have asked for more quality products straight from the farm. In return, producers have started to answer their request with niche markets offering these products and the popularity of the All-Jersey® mark has risen again.
Beginning in September 2004, Bush River Jerseys, Newberry, S.C., began bottling and marketing All-Jersey® milk on their 400-cow dairy. Today, there are 30 producers across the country using the All-Jersey® and Queen of Quality® trademarks on their 100% Jersey milk products.
Jersey-branded products have withstood the test of time. Through the past eight decades, the label and its popularity have come and gone but now as more and more consumers begin to ask the question of where their food comes from, Jersey breeders are answering their call. When Jersey Creamline® was first created 80 years ago, Jersey breeders knew their product spelled quality. Today, with more and more emphasis being placed on where a product comes from, NAJ feels the All-Jersey® label can make a strong comeback in the industry.