National Dairy Month has been celebrated every June throughout the United States since 1937. This month-long commitment celebrates the dairy industry’s contributions for over 85 years. Family farms across the Midwest Dairy region celebrate in special ways with their community. Whether you host an on-farm event, post your favorite dairy recipe on social media, or donate ice cream to the local kid’s club in your area, we hope our Midwest dairy farmers feel celebrated this June.
The beginning of National Dairy Month in South Dakota kicked off with the 10th annual Dairy Fest Gala on June 1. This event celebrates South Dakota’s dairy farmers and showcases the thriving dairy industry in the state. Attendees were treated to a five-course dinner including dairy-infused ingredients throughout all courses. The always popular first-course appetizer includes six cheese varieties, each produced in South Dakota.
The Gala celebration begins the festivities at an on-farm open house held this year at Hammink Dairy. Over 800 people were estimated to attend this year’s farm event, which included a youth activity tent featuring information on dairy farming, cow and calf care, dairy food nutrition, and fun dairy promotional items available for all participants. Also included at the farm were information stations on animal nutrition, veterinary care, and a food tent featuring grilled cheese.
The checkoff helps make Dairy Fest possible with Undeniably Dairy grant funding, South Dakota Dairy Ambassador and Intern support, and promotional items from the Midwest Dairy Promo Center. We look forward to this event every year as it provides an important opportunity to connect with consumers eager to learn more.
Earlier in June, the Ohlde Family Farms of Morrowbille, Kansas, also hosted an open house at their new Stateline Dairy facility. More than 300 neighbors and friends from the surrounding communities visited the 600-cow robotic dairy farm to learn more about the operation and industry. Guests left the farm tour amazed at how technology has helped advance the dairy industry. The Ohlde’ s utilized an Undeniably Dairy grant to help host this event.
The Ohlde family was excited about National Dairy Month as it allowed them to shine a spotlight on the growing dairy industry in the state. Kansas has one of the fastest-growing dairy industries in the nation. Over the past 30 years, the state’s dairy cow herd has doubled, and milk production has nearly quadrupled. Kansas is home to almost 175,000 milk cows and more than 193 dairy farms producing 1.14 billion pounds of milk annually.
Jones Dairy of Spencer, Iowa, also utilized an Undeniably Dairy grant to host an on-farm event where 2,000 community guests visited their farm to celebrate and learn about the dairy industry. During the breakfast event, the family works hard to show their passion and commitment to healthy cows, healthy soil, and high-quality milk. Other topics highlighted to guests include cover crops, reusing and recycling on the farm, and a farm tour highlighting the newly built 64-stall rotary parlor with a lower and upper viewing area for visitors. The lakes area brings many urban families eager to see a real, working farm. Besides this event, Jones Dairy opens its doors to different tours throughout the year. Generation Z is in attendance on those tours, including high school and college ag classes and clubs, preschool and grade school aids and teachers, and those who are with their families from throughout the Midwest and beyond. Click here to watch the Breakfast on the Farm recap video.
Lastly, an event in Minnesota brought dairy to an unexpected place, where a Dairy Night with the Rochester Honkers, a local baseball team, was hosted on June 17. For over two decades, Olmsted County American Dairy Association has partnered with the Rochester Honkers Baseball Team to offer a Dairy Night promotion at the baseball park. This year, the group utilized an Undeniably Dairy Grant to market an event to Generation Z baseball players and their families, who are typically urban families disconnected from the dairy community. They partner directly with youth baseball contacts within the Rochester community to offer free tickets to the ballpark to local baseball teams. The Rochester Honkers were a great partner who promoted Dairy Night on their social media pages. They also used this grant to fund sponsorship fees for the rights to be the lead promoter for the evening, admission tickets to be given to the community, fees associated with bringing in two live cows for a cow milking contest, banners/signage, Dairy Princess appearance fees, and dairy swag giveaways. This event was successful in promoting dairy education in the heart of downtown Rochester during National Dairy Month.