This June marks the 80th anniversary of National Dairy Month, a celebration of everything the U.S. dairy community brings to the table.
Stepping out of the barn and into the spotlight, farmers across the country this month will give consumers an inside look at the people, processes, and passion behind their favorite dairy goods.
National Dairy Month, which kicked off June 1 with World Milk Day, features ice cream festivals, cheese-making demonstrations, and farm breakfasts that mix educational opportunities with family-friendly activities.
“June is a time when we can show our appreciation for the 7,400 dairy farm families in the Midwest,” Midwest Dairy Association CEO Lucas Lentsch said in a statement. MDA represents farmers across 10 states, including Nebraska, where this weekend’s Moo at the Zoo event let visitors get up close and personal with dairy cows of varying breeds.
The Southeast United Dairy Industry Association and its partners have similar events on the calendar, including the Virginia Cheese Festival on June 9 and South Carolina’s Ag + Art Tour, which spans most of the month.
Consumer Outreach at Its Finest
Although most of June’s events put the focus on fun, National Dairy Month serves deeper purposes: challenging misconceptions about the dairy industry and forging vital ties between farmers and the communities that surround them.
While active dairy farms can be found in all 50 states, only 1-in-10 people has visited a farm, according to a statement from the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. The center also reports that nearly half of U.S. consumers mistakenly think eggs are a dairy product.
In a multiyear effort to reintroduce and familiarize America to dairy, the center—in partnership with America’s Dairy Farm Families and Importers—is launching the Undeniably Dairy campaign nationwide.
“Undeniably Dairy is about reestablishing the connection between the enjoyment of the product and the hard work and pride of the people who make it possible,” Beth Engelmann, chief marketing communications officer of the farmer-funded organization, said in a statement.
The campaign’s website features articles, videos, and infographics designed to separate fact from fiction—especially when it comes to animal welfare, sustainable development, and dairy’s nutritional value. Additional resources support the dairy industry’s communication and outreach efforts at a time when consumers are increasingly interested in learning where their food comes from and how it gets to the table.
By sharing stories of family-run farms, plus recipes for incorporating milk, cheese, butter, yogurt, and ice cream into everyday meals, the campaign will go a long way in extending June’s pro-dairy message throughout the year.