As calendar pages turn to July, Michigan State University Extension encourages readers to keep the June Dairy Month celebration going!
Dairy farmers work 365 days a year to provide wholesome and nutritious dairy products so consumers can enjoy them all year long!
National Milk Month started out in 1937 as a way to encourage drinking milk and two years later, June became the official “dairy month”. National Dairy Month was initially created to stabilize the demand of dairy products when production was at a surplus. Now it is an annual celebration of the contributions dairy farmers and the dairy industry make in our everyday lives.
Milk is important to Michigan. The mitten state has nearly 1,400 dairy farms and 97% of them are family owned. Michigan farmers care for more than 400,000 cows and in 2018, Michigan ranked 6th in the nation for milk production. The dairy industry has an annual economic impact of $15.7 billion dollars.
Michigan milk is local. Milk travels from the farm to the store dairy case in less than 48 hours. Michigan sourced milk can be identified by the state code #26 in the printed code that is located near the top of the jug or carton. Dairy farmers in Michigan produce more than enough milk to supply the entire state. Any excess milk produced helps meet the dairy demand in other states.
Milk is safe. The U.S. Department on Agriculture (USDA) and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulate milk production in the United States. As one of the most regulated products, farmers, processors and government agencies team up to provide consumers with milk that is safe to drink and of the highest quality.
Milk is nutritious. Milk is one of the best sources of calcium available. While milk contains natural sugars, there are no added sugars in fat-free, low-fat, reduced-fat or whole unflavored milk. Milk, whether flavored or unflavored, contains nine essential nutrients including potassium, phosphorus, protein, vitamin A, D, B12, riboflavin, niacin and of course, calcium.
Dairy farmers care. Transparency is important to dairy farmers who enjoy sharing and showing how they take care of their animals and protect the environment while producing safe, nutritious milk. On-farm tours, such as MSU Extension’s Breakfast on the Farm events (www.breakfastonthefarm.com) and school classroom tours; “meet the farmer” videos; print and electronic testimonials; displays at fairs and festivals and social media posts are just a few ways dairy farmers tell their stories.
So whether it is June, July or any other month, consumers can raise a glass of milk in celebration of Michigan’s hard-working, dedicated and responsible dairy farm families and the supportive dairy industry.
For more information, contact Mary Dunckel, agriculture literacy educator at (989)354-9875 or firstname.lastname@example.org.