Do you want to eat an ice cream cone? Celebrate National Dairy Month

June is National Dairy Month and what better way to celebrate than by enjoying delicious dairy products and visiting a local dairy farm through the Michigan State University Extension Breakfast on the Farm program.

June is right around the corner – school will soon be out, the weather is getting warmer, and summer is upon us. What better way to enjoy the fun and sun than with ice cream, frozen yogurt, or your other favorite dairy treat to celebrate National Dairy Month. June is the month that honors and allows us to indulge in all those delicious, wholesome dairy products, many of which are made right here in Michigan.

There are around 2,000 dairy farms that house about 375,000 dairy cows in Michigan, most of which are family-owned farms. In the United States, Michigan ranks seventh in milk production in 2013, up one space from eighth in 2012. The dairy industry contributes $14.7 billion to the state’s economy through farming, processing, and retailing. Dairy is the number one agricultural product in Michigan and generates almost 40,000 jobs though out the state. Not only are humans hard at work in the dairy industry, but so are the cows. Each Michigan cow, on average, produces over 23,000 pounds of milk per year, which is equall to more than eight gallons of milk every day.

Milk is an important part of our diet, providing calcium for strong bones, along with eight other essential nutrients that contribute to maintaining a healthy weight and heart. Milk and related dairy products are rich in protein, which is vital for everyone, especially athletes looking to recharge after a workout. Low-fat chocolate milk is one of the best ways to refuel after a workout because of the unique balance of carbohydrates, protein, electrolytes, and calcium. Who knew the best sports drink available was locally made at the dairy farm down the road?

Dairy farms are all over Michigan, but have you ever had the chance to visit one of these amazing agricultural adventures? If not, Michigan State University Extension invites you to attend Breakfast on the Farm this summer! Since 2009, farmers from across the state have opened their barn doors and invited everyone to see where the food on their table every day comes from. More than 53,000 adults and children have participated in a breakfast since the event started five years ago. Farmers, volunteers, and communities come together to share their knowledge and excitement about Michigan agriculture with those who may not have the opportunity to work in this rewarding field every day. This year, Breakfast on the Farm programs will be hosted by two dairy farms: Crandall Dairy Farms LLC in Calhoun County on July 19th and De Grins Oer Dairy Farm in Mecosta County on August 16th. The breakfasts are free and open to everyone, but be sure to reserve your tickets ahead of time to make sure there are enough pancakes! Tickets are available four weeks prior to the programs and ticket location sites will be listed on the website at www.breakfastonthefarm.com.

So, do you want to eat that ice cream cone? Go ahead and celebrate National Dairy Month. Be sure to enjoy your favorite dairy foods during June and see where your milk comes from with a visit to a Breakfast on the Farm!

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