Happy June Dairy Month – a time we set aside to celebrate the dairy foods we love and the farmers who help bring them to the table. In California, Governor Jerry Brown has proclaimed June as “Real California Milk Month” in appreciation of the hard work of the more than 1300 dairy farm families who make California the number one milk-producing state and dairy the state’s number one agricultural commodity.
“In addition to the importance of dairy farm families to the fabric of their communities, dairy farming and dairy processing are an important part of the state’s economy, increasing employment opportunities and stimulating local and regional economies. California dairy adds approximately $21 billion to the state’s economy each year,” said John Talbot, CEO of the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB). “We are pleased to take the month of June to recognize the dedication of these multi-generational farming businesses to bringing such a nutritious food to the world.”
It’s hard to beat dairy for value, nutrition, diversity and taste. Just one glass of milk delivers nine essential nutrients – including calcium, potassium, phosphorus, protein, vitamins A, D and B12, riboflavin and niacin – all important for good health. And perennial favorites like cheese, ice cream and yogurt all make delicious additions to a healthy, balanced diet and fit well with the way we eat today.
Beyond a dedication to producing these healthy foods, California dairy families are dedicated to building healthy children and communities by supporting programs like Dairy Council of California (DCC), which helps bring farm-to-table to life for students through the Mobile Dairy Classroom and provides balanced nutrition education curriculum and resources to schools, health professionals and workplace wellness programs; Fuel Up to Play 60 (FUTP 60), a partnership with the National Football League that offers school grant funding in support of healthy eating and physical education programs; and the Great American Milk Drive, which provides nutrient-rich milk to food banks, food pantries and meal programs.
This month, the dairy industry is leveraging the June Dairy Month occasion to promote summer meals programs and bring attention to the nearly 2 million low-income California students who, starting in June with the end of the school year, miss out on free, balanced meals from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program, putting health and academic achievement at risk.
Dairy Council of California partnered with United Way, California Capital Region and the Sacramento Summer Meal Collaborative, to develop nutrition education materials and marketing resources for use statewide and will be collaborating with industry, community, and local, city and state organizations to help share information with communities in need.
The state’s fluid milk dairy processors have joined in with the “California Thrives on Milk” initiative providing free, educational wellness events in underserved communities throughout the month and partnerships local community non-profits including the Boys & Girls Club and Hands4Hope LA, to execute community improvement projects such as plantings at shared community gardens, fresh food fairs with healthful cooking demonstrations by a celebrity chef and fitness activities.
The industry is continuing its support for families in need by encouraging people throughout the month to “Help Feed a Childhood” by donating as little as $5 to provide a gallon of milk through the Great American Milk Drive, which has provided over 630,000 servings of milk in California communities since its launch in 2014.
Summer meals are open to all children 18 and under regardless of their school choice and no enrollment paperwork, identification or income verification is required. Three options are available to find a summer meals location: text FOOD (or COMIDA for Spanish) to 877-877, dial 2-1-1 for city directories or visit http://bit.ly/CASummerMeals. These resources are updated weekly.
The Great American Milk Drive provides milk to a network of food banks, food pantries and meal programs. Donations are made by zip code to guarantee they stay in local communities. To donate online, visit https://milklife.com/give.
Dairy products made with California milk can be identified by looking for the Real California Milk seal, which certifies that the products are made exclusively with milk produced on California dairy farms. Ninety-nine percent of California dairy farms are family-owned. California’s dairy families are a proud part of the community and wish you and your family a very happy dairy month.
California Dairy Stats & Facts
California produces 40.4 billion lbs. of fluid (raw) milk each year – 19 percent of the nation’s milk supply
California is responsible for 33 percent of all U.S. dairy exports
46 percent of California milk goes into cheese production
The state is the number one producer of fluid milk, butter, ice cream and nonfat dry milk and is the second largest producer of cheese and yogurt
Last year, California produced:
2.5 billion lbs. of cheese
563 million lbs. of butter
118 million gallons of ice cream
384 million lbs. of yogurt
112 million lbs. of cottage cheese
California Dairy Favorites
California Fresh Fig Butter: http://www.realcaliforniamilk.com/recipe/fresh-fig-butter
Honey Vanilla Overnight Oats: http://www.realcaliforniamilk.com/recipe/honey-vanilla-overnight-oats
Avocado Mango Salad with California Queso Blanco: http://www.realcaliforniamilk.com/recipe/avocado-mango-salad-california-queso-blanco
Hot Milk Cake with Creamy Yogurt Frosting: http://www.realcaliforniamilk.com/recipe/hot-milk-cake-creamy-yogurt-frosting
Central Valley Fruit Basket Sundae: http://www.realcaliforniamilk.com/recipe/central-valley-fruit-basket-sundae