June Is National Dairy Month

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June is National Dairy Month, a time to honor the hard-working dairy farm families across the country. The June Dairy Month tradition began in 1937 as a way to help distribute extra milk when cows started on pasture in the summer. Now, 83 years later, the rich tradition of June Dairy Month continues with communities, companies, and people from all over the United States participating. It is very obvious from these statistics that dairy farmers work extremely hard for their returns. Dairy farming is a 24-hour a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year occupation working to produce the most wholesome product we enjoy. Dairy farmers have to be nutritionists, veterinarians, mechanics, agronomists, and businessmen to accomplish the tasks required day to day on a dairy farm.

  • The six major dairy breeds in the United States are: Holstein, Jersey, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Ayrshire, and Milking Shorthorn.
  • North Carolina is home to 45,000 milk cows, from the mountains to the coastal plain. Each of these cows produces over 21,000 pounds of milk every year, which translates into nearly 1 billion pounds.
  • When milk leaves a cow’s body it is 101 degrees Fahrenheit. The milk is then quickly chilled and stored at a temperature of 40 degrees F.
  • A cow will spend 6 to 8 hours a day chewing her cud. A cow has only one stomach but have four compartments: Rumen, Reticulum, Omasum, and Abomasum.
  • Each dairy cow in North Carolina produced an average of 2,625 gallons of milk per year.
  • Cows can detect odors up to five miles away. And they are able to hear lower and higher frequencies better than humans.
  • North Carolina dairy cows produced an average of 7 gallons of milk per day, or enough to make 5.6 pounds of cheese or 2.6 pounds of butter. To produce this much milk, an average cow consumes 50 gallons of water, 20 pounds of grain and feed concentrates, and 55 pounds of corn silage.
  • Milk offers more nutrients per penny than almost any other beverage option in the supermarket. Milk provides nine essential nutrients in an 8-ounce glass. It provides phosphorus, vitamin B12, potassium, riboflavin, vitamin A, vitamin D, calcium, protein, and niacin.

Please visit the NC State University CALS website and take a virtual tour of a dairy farm and learn more about the dairy industry in NC.

Unfortunately, dairy farming in NC is on the decline. It is more important than ever for us to know where our food comes from. Please take time to thank a dairy farmer for all he or she does so that we can enjoy those delicious dairy products. Support these farmers by consuming all these delicious products. Milk does do a body good!