June Dairy Month 2017

June Dairy Month 2017 – what a fun way to kick off the summer! June Dairy Month is highly important to the dairy industry and has been for decades in a variety of ways. Historically it has been a way to keep the industry thriving through times of war, and recently it has been a wonderful way to convey the industry’s commitment to product quality, and animal welfare.

History of June Dairy Month 2017

The history of June Dairy Month is rather fun! National Dairy Month was started in 1937, originally called National Milk Month, this tradition was created to celebrate the dairy industry and its many contributions to society.

In 1937 the original campaign slogan was “Keep Youthful – Drink Milk”! The National Dairy Council supported these events in an effort to help stabilize the dairy demand during times of overproduction. Later, in 1939 this holiday became known as June Dairy Month. During World War II, June Dairy Month focused less on promoting dairy products and more on helping customers receive a sufficient supply of dairy products and offering information on how to conserve them.

After the war, the National Dairy Council focused on increasing sales. By 1950, June Dairy Month was backed by grocery stores, dairy producers, and processors.

The American Dairy Association became the official leader for June Dairy Month starting in 1955. They emphasized campaign programs that promoted the sales of dairy products and added multiple levels of advertising and merchandising campaigns. Each month one or more food items that was produced from milk was highlighted throughout the country.

In some rural areas, June Dairy Month is celebrated in a variety of ways. Some communities have parades with floats and pageants. Some even celebrate with cow milking contests or free ice cream and milk giveaways.

How is June Dairy Month Funded?

For every 100 pounds of milk that is sold, 15 cents is taken out and used for promotion and marketing. 10 cents goes to promoting local dairy companies and 5 cents is given to Dairy Management Inc, a national organization charged with promoting the dairy industry. The organization receives its funding from money collected from over 12,000 dairy farms in the following states:

  • New York
  • New Jersey
  • Maryland
  • Delaware
  • Pennsylvania

Dairy Industry Prominent Locations in the United States

Each state generally produces its own milk. However, dairy manufacturers are most concentrated in the Great Lakes, the West, and the Mid-Atlantic Regions. California and Wisconsin lead the way as the states with the largest share of industry establishments, followed by New York and Idaho. These states have been crucial to the dairy industry even long before national commercialization and industrialization. Most are still considered small-scale operations.

A History of the Dairy Industry in the Two Largest Dairy Producing States

California

Before the gold rush, women were charged with tending and milking the cows and churning butter. They were the main suppliers of dairy products to the Wild West up until the Gold Rush in the 1850s. After gold was found and the surge of people poured into the state of California, the dairy industry began to mature to supply all the settlers.

California is the place where the very first branding of a dairy product took place. A dairy company started trademarking and stamping its butter to fight counterfeit imitations that were being sold under their name!

This is also when and where Montery Jack cheese was born, yum!

Wisconsin

The first thing that comes to mind when people think of Wisconsin is cheese. However, the first and most important crop of Wisconsin was actually wheat. Because wheat required very little upfront capital and was easy to grow, farmers could pay very little and have a field that yielded at least 2 crops a year. However, wheat is subject to weather patterns and depletes the soil very quickly making it a very unreliable crop.

Around the mid-1800s dairy farming emerged to be a great alternative to growing wheat. William Dempster Hoard is a prominent figure in the Wisconsin dairy industry. For over 50 years he worked tireless to promote the industry and its many benefits. Dairy farming in Wisconsin began to flourish for a very specific reason. Around that time, New York was the leading dairy provider in America. Funny enough, most farmers who settled in Wisconsin were actually dairy famers from New York! They were skilled in dairy farming, commercial dairy production, and knew how to manufacture butter and cheese. For that reason Wisconsin became a prominent state for the dairy industry!

Emerging Dairy Operations

Large scale, technologically advanced and automated dairy farms are emerging throughout regions of the West and the Southwest. The number of these operations is low but they own a large number of dairy cows. Because there are large tracts of land available in the Western and Southwestern states, these dairy companies are able to start large-scale farms much easier. This is why land leases are so important to small-scale dairy farms throughout the U.S. The amount of money it takes to purchase land to expand a dairy farm is a huge burden. With land leases, dairy farmers could expand their operations in an effort to compete with larger commercial companies.

For those of you who work in Agriculture, specifically in the dairy industry, we salute you! Thanks for making our ice cream creamy and toast buttered!