June is National Dairy Month
National Dairy Month is an annual tradition celebrated every June that began back in 1937. Originally known as National Milk Month, it originated as a way for grocers to promote and distribute more milk during a time of surplus. By 1939, the National Dairy Council embraced the occasion to celebrate the contributions of the dairy industry and changed the name to National Dairy Month. Farm tours, fairs, and festivals make National Dairy Month a fun way to show support for dairy workers and try delicious dairy products.
The Origins of Dairy Farming
Since ancient times, people have been drinking milk. Dairy farming was a part of the cultures of Anatolia in 7000 BC, Neolithic Britain in 4000 BC, Egypt and Sumeria in 3000 BC, and India in 2000 BC. The archeological evidence supporting early dairy farming ranges from artwork depicting cows being milked to milk protein residues found inside ancient vessels. These early civilizations didn’t only produce milk; they were also adept at making dairy products such as cheese and yogurt.
Modern-Day Dairy Farming
The invention of pasteurization gave rise to modern-day dairy farming. This game-changing technology was adopted by the dairy industry in the early 1900s, creating a safer product that could also be shipped farther due to its longer shelf life. Today the U.S. produces more than 218 billion pounds of milk per year, with three states accounting for nearly 40% of production.1 These top milk-producing states are California at 40.6 billion pounds, Wisconsin at 30.6 billion pounds, and Idaho at 15.6 billion pounds.2