Moo. Michigan’s dairy cows produce more than 11.2 billion pounds of milk annually, making our dairy industry the nation’s 6th largest.
“Michigan’s dairy industry is one of the largest agricultural industries in our state with an annual economic impact of $15.7 billion,” says Governor Gretchen Whitmer. “Ninety-seven percent of Michigan’s dairy farms are family owned, many by multiple generations of the same family, and our farmers take pride in producing safe, wholesome, nutritious and delicious products for Michigan residents and dairy lovers across the nation and world.”
Today, the state is celebrating our 1,359 dairy farmers and 40,000 dairy-related workers on the steps of the capital at Dairy Foods Awareness Day. The event, hosted by the Michigan Dairy Foods Association, United Dairy Industry of Michigan and the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD), is a taste fest of sorts with free sampling of locally-produced dairy foods.
Milk ambassador Earl Cureton, former NBA player, WNBA assistant coach and current community ambassador for the Detroit Pistons is providing tips and tricks to parents and caregivers to help improve kids’ eating habits.
Drinking calcium and nutrient-rich milk and other dairy products help meet our daily nutritional requirements, according to Michigan Dairy Foods Association, the advocacy organization which represents Michigan’s dairy farmers.
Fortified milk contains significant levels of Vitamins D and B12, calcium, riboflavin and phosphorus.
Today’s dairy farms are high tech operations, according to MDARD Director Gary McDowell (see TheHUB’s “A look inside a dairy farm that supports Michigan’s fifth largest industry”)
“Michigan has seen remarkable expansion in new dairy businesses and technologies, from large dairy processors and automated ‘robotic’ milking systems, to smaller on-farm artisanal cheese makers,” says McDowell. “Increasing the capacity for dairy processing in our state provides a stable market for the high-quality milk our dairy farmers produce, which in turns supports our farm families and communities across the state and keeps healthy, nutritious dairy products affordable for all Michigan residents.”
Country Fresh (Dean Foods), Prairie Farms, Kroger/Michigan Dairy, Ashby’s Sterling Ice Cream, Michigan Milk Producers Association, MSU Dairy Store, Dairy Farmers of America, Country Dairy, Domino’s Pizza, LaColombe, McDonald’s, and Guernsey Farms Dairy are distributing free dairy product samples, ranging from cheese and sour cream dips, to butter cookies, pizza, yogurt, milk, and ice cream at the day-long celebration.
“I just love National Dairy Month and especially look forward to Dairy Day because we get to share many of the great dairy products made from milk produced right here in Michigan,” said Sharon Toth, chief operating officer, United Dairy Industry of Michigan. “With most Americans not getting enough calcium in their diets to promote bone health, featuring the many ways that dairy makes it easy is fun. From delicious cold milk to the cheese on your pizza to get-you-going lattes, the dairy farmers and processors provide what Michiganders need.”
For more information about Michigan’s dairy industry, visit www.milkmeansmore.org.