Find comfort with dairy products, celebrate June Dairy Month
By Jennifer Whittaker
In this time of unrest, we could all use something to celebrate that’s wholesome and brings comfort. So, pour a cold glass of milk, dish up a bowl of ice cream or yogurt, put a slice of cheese on your sandwich, and join Georgia’s 130 dairy farms in celebrating June Dairy Month.
“June Dairy Month has always been a special month to honor the hard-working dairy farm families who produce nutritious milk and dairy foods,” said Paul Johnson, chairman of the Georgia Agricultural Commodity Commission for Milk (GACCM) Board of Directors. “Now, more than ever, we are proud to celebrate the resiliency of our dairy farmers and look forward to all the promotion efforts this month.”
The tradition of celebrating June Dairy Month traces its roots back to 1937 when grocer organizations sponsored “National Milk Month” as a way to distribute extra milk produced during the summer, according to The Dairy Alliance, a farmer-funded organization that promotes dairy products to consumers across the Southeast. By 1939, June became the official “dairy month.”
Macon, Sumter, Brooks, Burke and Morgan counties were Georgia’s top five milk producing counties in 2019 according to USDA data. Georgia is home to about 82,000 dairy cows that produced about 206 million gallons of milk last year. In 2019, 87.6% of all milk produced in Georgia was used and consumed as fluid milk.
Georgia, regional and national dairy organizations are celebrating dairy farmers and their contributions to America’s diet in a variety of ways.
The GACCM, which is a commission funded by Georgia dairy farmers to promote dairy products to consumers with programs such as the Mobile Dairy Classroom, is partnering with Kroger to celebrate June Dairy Month.
“Georgia’s dairy farmers are proud of our partnership with Kroger and that they are declaring June Dairy Month,” said Johnson. “Our ‘Milk Makes Amazing’ marketing materials are going up in stores this month, now that our state is opening back up after the wake of the coronavirus.”
Visit www.milkonmymind.com to virtually meet some of Georgia’s dairy families and learn how they’re caring for their herds and how they produce milk.
On June 1, The Dairy Alliance launched a two-month digital campaign aimed at Southeast consumers to increase awareness, purchasing and consumption of fluid milk.
“Based off current data, consumers are cooking at home now more than ever, purchasing groceries online and craving nostalgic recipes that they take comfort in,” said Rebecca Egsieker, The Dairy Alliance director of communications & farmer relations. “Our message that nothing compares to real dairy that’s real delicious is being shared with our target audience of at-home cooks, online shoppers, viewers of cooking programming, and adults with kids in households.
Visit www.thedairyalliance.com to access delicious recipes and educational materials for kids.
Dairy Farmers of America (DFA), a national, farmer-owned dairy cooperative, through which about 65% of the milk produced in Georgia is marketed, kicked off its dairy month celebration with a #GallonsOfGood initiative. For every post shared on a social media platform during June that mentions what you’re grateful for using #GallonsOfGood, DFA will donate $1 to help local food banks purchase milk through its Farmers Feeding Families Fund.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted the food supply chain in mid-March, DFA has donated the equivalent of more than 625,000 gallons of milk to the many families faced with hunger who rely on school meals and community meal services over the past few months. Through the creation of its Farmers Feeding Families Fund, DFA and its farmer-owners are raising money to help provide essential support and deliver much-needed dairy products to community food banks across the country. As of June 1, DFA has raised more than $500,000. Throughout June Dairy Month, DFA family farmers across the country will deliver more than 10,000 gallons of milk to local communities through milk giveaways, food drives and donations to local food banks. Follow along throughout the month on @dfamilk on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Nationally, Georgia ranked 22nd in the nation for its milk production in 2019, 26th in the nation for number of licensed dairy farms (140 last year) and 23rd in the U.S. for number of dairy cows, per USDA data.
Recognizing that dairy farmers are experiencing uncertain times as never before, the Georgia Milk Producers Inc. spearheaded an effort with other dairy groups to create the Farmer to Farmer Support Program for Southeast dairy farmers. Visit www.gfb.ag/GAMilkfarmertofarmersupport to access a list of dairy farmers and industry employees who have volunteered their time to talk with members of the dairy community who may need a sounding board. The website also offers tips and suggestions for dealing with stress.