June means the start of summer, backyard picnics and more time with family and friends – and it’s also June Dairy Month, the perfect time to appreciate the fresh, wholesome milk produced on dairy farms across the state. With more than 98% of Michigan dairy farms being family owned and operated, dairy farming is a true Michigan tradition. What’s more, milk is local. Michigan’s 2,030 dairy farms produce more than enough milk to supply our state. The average Michigan cow produces approximately 24,638 pounds of milk each year. That translates to 2,865 gallons of milk per cow.
Michigan’s dairy farms are home to 390,000 dairy cows whose milk is made into cheese, yogurt, and other dairy products, which are by far the lowest cost food source of calcium available to consumers. Michigan’s dairy industry ranks 7th in milk production in the U.S., producing 4.7% of the U.S. milk supply.
And milk doesn’t have far to travel from the farm to your table: it takes just 48 hours for milk to travel from the farm to the processing plant to grocery store shelves. You can confirm that the milk you buy is local by looking for the state code “26” on the gallon or carton.
“Milk is a locally-made, American-made product,” said Sharon Toth, CEO of United Dairy Industry of Michigan and registered dietitian. “Michigan’s dairy farm families are proud to provide the public with protein-packed milk, cheese and yogurt to build healthy bodies. Not only do their farms contribute to our state’s economy, the multiple generations of Michigan’s farm families enrich our communities.”
As part of the June Dairy Month festivities, the National Dairy Council (NDC) celebrates its Centennial year as a leader of health and wellness and the intersection of nutrition and sustainability through sustainable food systems. For 100 years, on behalf of dairy farmers and the dairy community, NDC has been committed to nutrition research and education helping people live healthier lives by communicating the nutrient-rich value of dairy foods like milk, cheese and yogurt in an overall balanced diet.
For more information on Michigan’s dairy farmers and dairy products visit http://milkmeansmore.org/june-dairy-month.