We’re rapidly moving through spring, and June will be here before we know it. June holds many events, activities and even a few holidays, but for many of us in agriculture, June is known as “Dairy Month.”
I’ve written before about my love and involvement in the dairy industry, even without a direct connection to a working dairy farm. From some of my favorite animal science classes at North Dakota State University to showing dairy heifers every February for Little International to competing on the dairy judging team at World Dairy Expo, I’m still passionate about the industry.
While my involvement today is a little less hands-on, I still have the opportunity to visit dairy farms, connect with dairy farmers and see the occasional Holstein during my workday. But what can we all do to support dairy farmers?
Buy dairy products
The easiest way to support your local dairy farmers is by buying and enjoying the many products they produce, including fresh milk, cheese, ice cream, yogurt and even gelato. Buying direct from the farmer can cut out the grocery store middleman, but that’s not possible for everyone to do. Buying dairy products at the grocery store can still support your local dairy farms, and you can still benefit from the nutrition and taste these products give.
Aside from supporting dairy farmers financially by consuming dairy products, you’ll also receive many health benefits such as lowering your blood pressure and reducing the risk of heart disease. And each serving of milk offers 13 essential nutrients, according to Midwest Dairy. Yogurt and cheese also provide high-quality protein, calcium, vitamins A and B, and more to a healthy lifestyle. You can learn more about dairy nutrition from Midwest Dairy.
If you’re interested in supporting dairy in other ways, why not join one of the many organizations in place to help dairy farmers? North Dakota Livestock Alliance, Midwest Dairy and countless others all work to support new and existing dairy farms.
South Dakota Dairy Producers, Associated Milk Producers, Dairy Farmers of America, the North Dakota Dairy Coalition Board and more all exist to help and promote the dairy industry and its farmers. The events that are held during June can bring insight and new information to those who attend, so plan to bring a friend along, too!
Even for those of us who are involved in agriculture, the dairy industry can be full of new information and production practices that we should know about. From the industries overall commitment to animal welfare and sustainability, to learning how milk gets from the cow to your home, we can always learn more.
Did you know that one cow makes around 6.5 gallons of milk every day? Learning more about another key piece of our food system can only benefit ourselves and farmers. And when in doubt, ask a farmer about their operation and production practices.
My favorite way to support dairy is by making sure to eat my yogurt and cheese, and by having real milk in my coffee every day. How will you show your support this Dairy Month?