PRIMGHAR, Iowa — National Dairy Month started out as National Milk Month in 1937 as a way to promote drinking milk. The 1937 event, sponsored by chain stores, was given the theme “Keep Youthful – Drink Milk.” Originally supported by the National Dairy Council (NDC), June Dairy Month was established to help stabilize dairy demand during periods of peak production. To assist in that effort, NDC provided promotional materials to the 6,300 stores participating.
After the National Dairy Council stepped in to promote the cause, the name soon changed to “Dairy Month.”
In 1955, American Dairy Association (ADA) became the national leader for June Dairy Month campaigns. The celebration continued to evolve over the years and entire communities across the country, both rural and urban have become involved in many ways. Some celebrate with dairy food demonstrations. In others, dairy producers have distributed product samples at grocery stores and local banks, and many producers host tours of their dairies.
The Western Iowa Dairy Alliance annual open house is scheduled on Wednesday, June 9 from 4 to 8 p.m. After the hiatus during the pandemic, Perry Creek Dairy near Merrill will host the event. The event is free and requires no registration. It includes a farm tour, kids’ activities, educational displays plus a free meal of grilled cheese, ice Cream and milk.
Perry Creek Dairy is located at 20243 County Road K22, Merrill. The Feuerhelm family completed this second facility in May 2019. It features an 80-stall parlor, milking up to 3,600 cows three times per day. The dairy has 7.5 acres of under-roof freestall barns for cow comfort, safety, and environmental stewardship.
National Dairy Month is a great way to start the summer with nutrient-rich dairy foods. From calcium to potassium, dairy products like milk contain nine essential nutrients which may help to better manage your weight, and reduce your risk for high blood pressure, osteoporosis and certain cancers. Whether it’s protein to help build and repair the muscle tissue of active bodies or vitamin A to help maintain healthy skin, dairy products are a natural nutrient powerhouse.
Additionally, Iowa is home to over 900 dairy farms and over 227,000 cows making it the twelfth highest dairy state in the nation. The industry supports 15,580 jobs in Iowa with a total economic impact for Iowa communities of over $25,495 per cow.
Those are just a few of the reasons that you should celebrate dairy not just in June, but all year long.
— Fred Hall, Dairy Specialist
Iowa State University Extension and Outreach
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