Celebrating June as Dairy Month
By Eileen Jensen
Executive Director, NY Animal Agriculture Coalition
Milk Month was once a time dedicated to distributing extra milk during the warm summer months. Now known as National Dairy Month, it’s more of a celebration to promote the dairy industry and encourage dairy to be the beverage of choice among community members. For nearly two decades, the New York Animal Agriculture Coalition (NYAAC) has focused on showcasing the positive image of New York dairy farmers.
The New York dairy industry is the largest sector of New York’s agriculture industry, providing dairy products to millions of consumers. The more than 3,500 family dairy farms located throughout rural New York, are the largest producers of yogurt, cottage cheese, and sour cream. Combine that with the milk produced, ice cream consumed, and cheese purchased, and you’ll quickly understand the importance of dairy producers and processors.
As we welcome the month of June, we also welcome the opportunity to showcase the pride that we have in dairy farming and the importance of the products we produce. Dairy celebrations will be occurring all over the state throughout the summer, all providing the opportunity to celebrate dairy, but also to have transparent conversations about farming and agriculture. Promotion and outreach make a difference. It changes perspectives and June is the ideal time to celebrate and promote the NY dairy industry. There are many ways to celebrate Dairy Month on your farm and in your community. Here are just a few ideas to get you started.
Ideas to Celebrate Dairy Month
1.) Social media – Now is the perfect time to start a farm page on social media. If you already have a page, post content each day about life on the farm.
2.) Farm tours - Open your barn doors for local school children or schedule an open house for community members.
3.) Employees – You can’t forget your employees so provide t-shirts for your farm team to wear throughout the community.
4.) Sponsorship – Little league teams are the perfect sponsorship opportunity to share your farm name, banners at the field, and dairy products for the after-game celebrations.
5.) Parade – Organize a dairy parade in your local community and include other farms.
6.) Speaking – Ask to speak at your local town board or Board of Education meeting.
7.) Displays – Develop an educational display to put in the dairy aisle at the grocery store.
8.) Classroom collaboration – Find a local classroom that you can collaborate with and provide a learning opportunity. Bring a calf, too!
9.) Signage – Develop and post roadside signage around your farm for passerby’s.
10.) Dairy products – provide chocolate milk or ice cream to the summer youth pro-gram at the community park.
The list of celebration ideas is truly endless. They can be customized to your farm, to your interest, and to your budget. There was once a time when advocating for the dairy industry was left to the county dairy ambassadors or it was done once a year at the county fair. Those days are over. People demand full transparency in exchange for their trust, and while the thought of transparency can be uncomfortable for some, we need to try our best as an industry.
Dairy month is the prime opportunity to make that effort to celebrate dairy, share dairy products, find your voice, and share your story. If you don’t know where to start, ask for help. Reach out to us at NYAAC (firstname.lastname@example.org or ) and we’ll help you wherever we can to make your promotional efforts a reality. It’s time to celebrate together so cheers, with a tall glass of milk, to the 2022 Dairy Month celebration!
Eileen Jensen is the executive director of the New York Animal Agriculture Coalition (NYAAC) and has been a longtime active New York Farm Bureau member.