2 June 2013 - Celebrate June Dairy Month

Since I grew up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, will you indulge me one more year as I say “Happy June Dairy Month!” I can’t even say the name of the month by itself; to me it is a three-word month, June Dairy Month.

It has an interesting history that I’d like to share with you. It started back in 1937, and that makes it the longest continuous national food promotion event in the country. That year a group of chain stores staged June Milk Month to celebrate the dairy industry; the theme for that first event - “Keep Youthful - Drink Milk” still works for me today.

June Dairy Month became the official title in 1939 supported by the National Dairy Council and funded by a one-cent per pound butterfat assessment that was assessed only in the month of June. It changed from milk-month to dairy-month to include all of the great dairy products coming from that magnificent animal, the dairy cow.

In 1955, the American Dairy Association became the national leader for June Dairy Month. The emphasis then changed to sales promotion programs for dairy products, along with advertising and merchandising programs that were added to the already successful public relations activities.

June Dairy Month is now in its 76th year and still going strong.

Many communities hold special events to salute that great animal, the dairy cow and all of the fine products that come from that cow, thanks to the efforts of those dairy farm families. I’ll be spending the first weekend of June Dairy Month in Harvard, Illinois celebrating Harvard Milk Days, a three-day celebration saluting the dairy industry in McHenry County. At one time the county, located 65 miles Northwest of Chicago on the Wisconsin border, was a major milk producing and processing center. It still is a factor today, but many farms have been lost to urbanization. It is the longest-running commodity festival in Illinois and this year’s theme is “We’re 72 and still farming, too”.

Many areas hold similar June Dairy Month events and one of the more popular activities is Breakfast on Dairy Farm where as many as 4,000 people, many from towns and cities, get up early to watch cows being milked and other farm activities first-hand, and then enjoy a great dairy farm breakfast. If you have one of those events in your area, by all means, go out and enjoy seeing where milk really comes from and the work and dedication of committed farm families to get it to your table.

So, here’s my salute to the dairy cow and the dairy farmers of America during June Dairy Month.

My thoughts on Samuelson Sez.