It is June, and that means that once again it is National Dairy Month.
According to the International Dairy Foods Association, National Dairy Month started out as National Milk Month in 1937. The holiday was created to stabilize the dairy demand when production was at a surplus. After the National Dairy Council stepped in to promote the cause the name changed to “Dairy Month,” and now it is an annual tradition that celebrates the contributions the dairy industry has made on the world.
All 50 U.S. states have dairy farms. Dairy is one of Arizona’s highest grossing agriculture sectors. Our dairy industry currently brings in close to $871 million annually. For milk production, Arizona ranks number 12 in the nation.
In honor of National Dairy Month, we have a list of 15 interesting facts about dairy.
- According to the 2014 Arizona Agriculture Contribution Analysis from the University of Arizona, Arizona has 102 dairy farms throughout the state and together these farms produce more than 1.5 million gallons of milk a day.
- Arizona’s has approximately 188,000 dairy cows provide us with the freshest milk, cheese and yogurt. Remember too, 97% of your milk in the grocery store is coming from our local Arizona Dairies.
- To make one gallon of ice cream you need 12 lbs. of whole milk.
- To make one pound of butter you need 21.2 lbs. of whole milk.
- To make one pound of cheese you need 10 lbs. of milk.
- Each day the average cow can produce enough milk to fill six one-gallon jugs, which is equal to around 55 lbs. of milk.
- The natural yellow color of butter comes mainly from the beta-carotene found in the grass cows eat.
- One dairy cow can produce around 200,000 glasses of milk in her lifetime. In order to make milk, cows need to drink a lot of water. Daily, cows drink up to 50 gallons of water. That is close to the amount of water needed to fill a bathtub.
- Though there are many types of cows there are two types of milk cows that are used “most” of the time for milk, Jerseys and Holsteins.
- Jerseys are the brown cows. They give less milk but more cream.
- Holsteins are the black and white cows. They give a lot of milk.
- Milk has 9 essential nutrients that our bodies need to stay healthy:
- Calcium, which is useful in the building of strong teeth and bones.
- Niacin, which is important for maintaining a healthy metabolism.
- Phosphorus, which aids in increasing energy and building strong bones.
- Potassium, to help maintain healthy blood pressure and muscles.
- Protein, which builds and repairs muscle tissue and increases energy.
- Riboflavin, helps to increase energy for exercising.
- Vitamin A, to help maintain healthy skin and eyes.
- Vitamin D, for helping to maintain strong bones.
- Vitamin B12, which aids in building red blood cells which strengthen lungs and muscles.
- According to the USDA, diets that provide 3 cups of milk (the recommended daily intake), or the equivalent of dairy products per day can improve bone mass.
- Milk/dairy products contain casein, which is a protein that can cleanse burning taste buds. Next time your mouth is burning after eating spicy foods, take a drink of milk to cool it off.
- The U.S. enjoys an average of 48 pints of ice cream per person, per year, more than any other country. Vanilla is the favorite flavor in the U.S.
- 99% of all U.S. households purchase milk. The average American consumes almost 25 gallons of milk a year … that’s 400 glasses!
- Milk can remain fresh for up to 7-10 days after the expiration date when refrigerated at 35-40°F. Because of bacteria growth, every 5° (F) rise in temperature will shorten the shelf life by 50%.
Shamrock Farms is, perhaps, Arizona’s most well-known dairy producer. Located in Stanfield, Arizona, it is the largest family owned and operated dairy in the Southwest. They keep 10,000 cows on 240 acres, and process 47,000 gallons of milk every day. You can meet some of the other families that own and operate the dairy farms of Arizona on the Dairy Council of Arizona website. Take some time this June to enjoy your favorite dairy products, and while you do, remember to send a quick thank you to a cow and their farmer for all they provide!
- Get Down with Dairy this Month (fillyourplate.org)
- June is Dairy Month: Let’s Celebrate with Gourmet Milkshakes!!! (juliesfreshair.com)
- Get Your Daily Dose of Dairy (fillyourplate.org)