Celebrate dairy throughout the summer
June is Dairy Month, but consumers attending a Michigan State University Extension Breakfast on the Farm program can celebrate dairy throughout the summer. Milk is Michigan’s number one locally-produced product.
Regardless of the month the Breakfast on the Farm educational program is held, participants can enjoy free milk, yogurt and ice cream at each of the events. When they visit dairy farms, attendees will also learn about Michigan’s dairy industry and how farmers are committed to producing wholesome and affordable food, protecting the environment and caring for their animals.
Adam Lock from the MSU Department of Animal Science has provided educational information and several key messages to share at the Breakfast on the Farm programs. Many of these topics help to answer questions that consumers may think about every time they stand in front of the dairy case at the grocery store.
Today’s consumers can choose from a wide variety of cow’s milk and milk products. Lock’s messages clarify that there are no known differences among milk labelled as “organic”, “rbST-free” or “regular” in terms of quality, safety and nutrition. The definition of these different milk types refers primarily to farm management practices, not to the milk itself. All milk contains the same combination of nutrients that make dairy foods an important part of a healthy diet, and consumers can choose the product they prefer. Whether people choose regular or organic, they should feel good about consuming all varieties of milk, cheese and yogurt as part of a healthy, balanced diet.
Lock’s other messages highlight dairy’s unique nutrient package. Milk and milk products are nutrient-rich foods, meaning they provide a higher level of essential nutrients compared to their calorie content. Did you know that flavored milk provides the same nine essential nutrients as unflavored milk? Milk is the number one source of calcium, riboflavin, phosphorus, potassium and magnesium in the American diet. It is one of the most nutrient-rich beverages that a consumer can enjoy, and is among the most economical sources of nutrition.
The dairy case has something for everyone – including low-fat and fat-free varieties as well as lactose free products. Families can choose from a variety of milk, cheese and yogurt products to meet their taste and nutritional goals. The Dietary Guidelines encourage Americans to enjoy three servings of low-fat or fat-free milk, cheese or yogurt every day.