June Dairy Month Highlights Dairy Industry
As the month of June approaches, dairy leaders, farmers and communities are preparing to celebrate dairy’s month long celebration: June Dairy Month. The June Dairy Month tradition began in 1937 as a way to help distribute extra milk when cows started on pasture in the summer. Now 74 years later the rich tradition of June Dairy Month continues with communities, companies and people from all over the United States participating. Although it has evolved over the years, June Dairy Month continues to be a celebration between farmers and communities.
In many areas, dairy farms and families often open their gates to visitors at breakfasts and tours, while stores and other businesses feature dairy products. According to Sherry Newell, Director of Communications with the Midwest Dairy Association (MDA), the MDA is there to help dairy producers, families and businesses share the dairy story with the general public. The association, which represents more than 11,000 dairy farm families to 38 million consumers, works on behalf of dairy producers to increase dairy sales, foster innovation and inspire consumer confidence in dairy products and practices.
Newell says, “June Dairy Month is actually a celebration of what is going on in the dairy industry throughout the year. At Midwest Dairy, we provide assistance and support throughout our 10-state region (Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, eastern Oklahoma and South Dakota). With June Dairy Month, for instance, we are there to help individuals and groups with promotional ideas.”
Promotional ideas can range from a simple positive greeting promoting June Dairy Month on an answering machine to an invitation to the community to come to the farm for a “Breakfast on the Farm” or a “Lunch and Learn.” Newell says, “Events take place in every state, and the activities come in a variety of shapes and sizes. At some of the larger events, there might be several thousand visitors in attendance.”
Throughout the United States, state governors begin the monthly celebration with a special proclamation ceremony during which they have declared June to be Dairy Month.
Newell also noted that Midwest Dairy Association has developed “Speak Out,” a program in which producers will speak about various aspects of dairy life to local groups. “We have had 150 dairy producers complete training for the Speak Out program,” notes Newell. “Over 18,000 community leaders have been audience to this program throughout the past couple of years. June Dairy Month is a great time for the Speak Out program participants to reach out to their community.”
A Look Back
June Dairy Month, which dates back to 1937, was originally called National Milk Month. In that first year, it was sponsored by chain stores with the theme of “Keep Youthful – Drink Milk.” At that time, the National Dairy Council supported the effort that was established to help stabilize dairy demand during periods of peak production.
By 1939, “June Dairy Month” became the official title of the promotion with a greater focus placed on the use of dairy products.
However, when World War II arrived, the focus became more one of surviving the war and less on promotion. During that difficult time, retailers helped customers receive an adequate supply of dairy products and provided information to help consumers use them properly.
After the war, efforts returned to the promotion of the dairy industry and its products. By 1950, retailers, producers and processors all worked together to promote June Dairy Month.
Then, in 1955 the American Dairy Association (ADA) became the national leader for the June Dairy Month campaigns. Public relations programs were enhanced to include sales promotion programs for dairy products, while advertising and merchandising programs were added.
June Dairy Month continued to change and evolve over the years. As the years progressed, entire communities across the country, both rural and urban became involved in June Dairy Month in a variety of ways. Today, special events are organized, dairy princesses are crowned, parades are organized, floats are built and high school marching bands perform. In addition, widely publicized visits to local dairy farms, processing plants and creameries are developed.
All this for the purpose of celebrating June Dairy Month.
Looking for ideas?
For dairy producers looking for ways to promote June Dairy Month, Midwest Dairy has developed a list of possibilities. Newell says, “This is just a list of possible tips. If you have an idea but need suggestions for organizing, just contact us.”
You can visit the Midwest Dairy Association website at www.midwestdairy.com, go to Twitter (@MidwestDairy) or look on Facebook at Midwest Dairy.
• Jewelry parties, scrapbook parties – how about an old fashion recipe party on the farm? Pick a theme like desserts or salads, and make it a potluck. Invite your friends over along with their potluck and plenty of copies of their recipe to share. Then be sure to show them where they can find more dairy delicious recipes online at dairymakessense.com or midwestdairy.com.
• Carry a stash of “I Met a Dairy Farmer Stickers” in your wallet. As you go through the month of June, every time you see a kid eating a dairy product or drinking milk, introduce yourself and place a sticker on their shirt.
• Provide yogurt, cheese sticks or milk and cookies for church with a note – “Compliments of your local dairy farm family who is very blest with a job we love – producing wholesome food for you!”
• Host movie night on the farm or in the city park. Invite your friends and neighbors over for “Build your own sundaes;” pick out your favorite family oriented movie; and at dusk, project it on the side of a building.
• Offer to host a farm tour for the summer student care service at school. That group loves field trips.
• Do you have a Facebook page? Include a dairy trivia question every couple of days and then invite your friends to comment with the correct answer. Look on www.midwestdairy.com for trivia question ideas.
• Invite your local newspaper to do a “Day in the Life” of a dairy farmer as a feature.
• Bundle a basket of dairy products along with information materials and deliver to the local radio station. Radio announcers love food and they will likely talk about June Dairy Month as a result of your gift.
• Host a chocolate milk break after the little league soft ball team practice in town.
• Host your neighbors, elected officials and local businesses on your farm for lunch or dinner, then offer them a tour of your farm. Be sure to introduce all family members and employees involved with the farm.
• Did you miss sending Christmas cards out? Why not send a card to family and friends during June Dairy Month and remind them what happens on the farm?
• Meet and greet at the local grocery store for a day. Ask the store to offer free cheese, milk or yogurt samples.
• Enter your family and employees in the local parade. You can decorate a trailer, pickup or tractor using plastic sheeting from the Producer Service Center. You could also handout frozen go-gurts or cheese sticks.
• Change your greeting on your mobile phone and your signature on your e-mail to say – “It’s June Dairy Month – drink a glass of milk and get 30% of your daily calcium needs too.” Or “I can’t take your call right now. I’m caring for my cows and the land we call home. I’ll call you later. Drink a glass of milk while you wait for my call.”
• Contact your Producer Service Center for resources to help support your efforts – 877-360-FARM (3276)
June Dairy Month spotlights the positive impact that the dairy industry has on communities across the country. Check with your local media or the Midwest Dairy Association to find out what’s going on in your area.