Beautiful weather has arrived just in time to celebrate Dairy Month! “June is National Dairy Month and what a perfect time to enjoy delicious, nutritious dairy treats!” says Wayne Dykshorn, President of the Iowa State Dairy Association (ISDA). “June is also a great time to think about all the hard work that goes into making those products,” he continues, “Iowa’s dairy farmers are committed to producing the highest quality, most nutritious dairy products possible. They are dedicated to caring for their animals and making sure they are comfortable, especially in the summer heat. Dairy farmers also strive to care for the environment and take good care of our natural resources.”
Dairy farming is important to Iowa’s economy. It is estimated that more than 26,000 jobs are provided by dairy industry – including jobs on dairy farms, by dairy processors and other services that benefit and aid the dairy industry—resulting in more than $1.5 billion contributed annually to Iowa’s economy. “Iowa is home to 1,922 dairy farms and 209,000 dairy cows,” says Jessica Bloomberg, Industry Relations Manager for the ISDA. “Those cows produced 4.34 billion pounds of milk in 2010 making Iowa the 12th largest milk producing state.” Iowa also has 214 dairy goat farms and even a dairy sheep farm.
In addition to being an important part of Iowa’s economy, dairy is also an important part of a healthy diet. Milk naturally has nine essential nutrients making dairy products delicious and nutritious. Recent studies have shown that consuming dairy products as part of a balanced diet has many health benefits including helping maintain a healthy body weight, assisting in controlling high blood pressure and limiting the risk of osteoporosis. Studies also show that drinking low-fat or fat-free milk or chocolate milk after an endurance or resistance workout is a great alternative to sports drinks because the protein in milk helps build and refuel muscles, the carbohydrates replenish energy, and fluid and electrolytes replace what is lost in sweat to rehydrate the body.
“So while you are enjoying a glass of cold chocolate milk after a tough workout or having ice cream on a warm summer night, remember all the hard work that went into making those treats, and maybe thank a dairy farmer for his or her dedication,” says Bloomberg.
If you would like to learn more about Iowa’s dairy industry, plan a visit to one of the open houses being held in honor of June Dairy Month:
Saturday, June 11: Dairy Breakfast on the Farm, 8 a.m.—noon at The Dairy Center, 1527 Hwy 150 S., Calmar, Iowa.
Breakfast includes pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs, cubed cheese, milk, coffee and juice. This family-oriented event includes a tour of the 250-cow dairy farm at The Dairy Center, a farm animal petting zoo and interactive activities with NICC Dairy Science Club members.
Friday, June 17: ISU Dairy Farm Tour, 6—11 a.m. at the Iowa State University dairy farm, 52470 260th St., Ames, Iowa.
This is a free event for all ages! Enjoy a guided riding tour of the dairy farm and learn about animal care and comfort, product quality and environmental stewardship. Tours will run from 6:30 to 10:30 a.m. Visit the Ag Discovery Center between 7 and 11 a.m. to learn more about Iowa agriculture and participate in fun activities for kids and adults. Guests will also enjoy delicious dairy treats!
Wednesday, June 29: VanEss Dairy Open House, 4:30—6:30 p.m. at the VanEss Dairy Farm, 2996 Sorrel Ave., Sanborn, Iowa.
Bring the whole family and learn about modern dairy production, enjoy a free meal, and learn about the importance of dairy products in a healthy diet. As part of the dairy industry’s partnership with the Fuel Up to Play 60 program, plans are being finalized for a special guest.
We hope to see you there!
The Iowa State Dairy Association is a non-profit organization directed by the dairy producers and dairy industries of Iowa.