How now, dairy cow?

by Betty Wrenn Day - Posted on Jun 19, 2013 - 02:07 PM

Photo: From peaceful pastures comes our nation’s delicious, safe supply of milk, and from that milk, the dairy products celebrated during June, which is National Dairy Month. Metro photo

From peaceful pastures comes our nation’s delicious, safe supply of milk, and from that milk, the dairy products celebrated during June, which is National Dairy Month. Metro photo

June is National Dairy Month, a time to celebrate the rich history of dairy farming in this country since colonial days.

Dairy month originated in 1937 when it was called National Milk Month, running from June 12 through July 10. The National Chain of Drug Stores sponsored this milk promotion as a gesture of good will to dairy farmers. Starting 75 years ago, special sales by soda fountains helped to dispose of an existing milk surplus. "Keep Youthful—Drink Milk" was the theme.

In 1938 following the appearance of other chain stores such as groceries and restaurants, the theme became "Drink Milk—Benefit Yourself—Speed Recovery." By 1939 the name was changed to June Dairy Month when the National Dairy Council and the National Cooperative Milk Producers Federation became sponsors. Today National Dairy Month is sponsored by the American Dairy Association and its theme is "Dairy Packs Power."

By milking their cows twice a day, 365 days a year, dairy farmers have ensured there is an abundant supply of milk and all of its by-products. Milk is considered one of the best sources of calcium in the American diet and also provides protein and vitamins B-2 and D, among others.

There are several varieties of milk. Whole milk contains at least 3.5 percent milk fat and at least 8.25 percent milk solids that are not fat. Low-fat milk has had enough milkfat removed to produce milk with milk fat contents of 0.5 to 2 percent. Skim milk, also called nonfat milk, has had as much fat removed as possible. Chocolate milk is made by adding chocolate or cocoa and sweetener to whole or low-fat milk.