During June, we often celebrate many things: National Homeownership Month, the end of the school year and graduations, Father’s Day, and being able to watch our favorite teams duke it on the baseball diamond. But at USDA we have another favorite June celebration – National Dairy Month. The National Dairy Month celebration actually began in 1937 as National Milk Month, a way to encourage Americans to include milk as part of their daily diet. A few years later, the event was renamed National Dairy Month, incorporating other dairy products into the celebration.
When it comes to dairy products, our country has a rich history. Cheese has been a part of American diets since the Pilgrims first landed and some historians trace its origins back 4,000 years. The versatility of dairy products makes it easy to participate in this month-long celebration. The National Dairy Council has some great recipes for dairy-based foods.
Whether you’re throwing a wine and cheese party or simply starting off each morning with your favorite yogurt, you are not only supporting our country’s dairy farmers, you’re also getting several nutritional benefits. Countless studies have demonstrated the positive impact milk plays in children’s development. But drinking milk also provides important protein for adults to help rebuild their muscles after a workout, reduces the risk of bone disease and fractures, and may help reduce the risk of getting cavities.
Here at USDA’s Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS), we do our part to make sure you can enjoy dairy products in June and throughout the rest of the year. AMS graders use internationally recognized standards to ensure that quality cheese and other dairy products are sold in retail establishments. Our market news specialists create reports that offer valuable information to help dairy producers and businesses make informed buying and selling decisions.
We also work with the National Dairy Council, who with the help of several other partners, teaches children about the importance of healthy eating habits and regular exercise in its Fuel Up to Play 60 program. The national Dairy Promotion and Research Program, which AMS oversees, offers great data and finds fun ways to get people excited about eating dairy products.
As the end of the month approaches, we are glad to announce that the dairy celebration will continue during National Ice Cream Month in July. We encourage you to visit the International Dairy Foods Association site for more information on this celebration and its history.