Raise a Glass (of Milk!)
Dairy and dairy farming offer a range of health benefitsBy Sarah Hester
These days, only 2% of the U.S. population holds farming as their main occupation. It is amazing to think that such a small portion of people quite literally feed our nation.
June is National Dairy Month and while we celebrate dairy every day, this month we are raising a glass to the hard-working dairy farmers that make delicious and nutritious dairy foods available.
Milk: A protein powerhouse
Did you know? A glass of milk contains 13 essential nutrients, including 8 grams of high-quality protein. Protein has been shown to help keep you full, aid in weight loss, improve muscle tone and composition, and enhance your workout and recovery.
Athlete or not, we all need to stay hydrated. Milk’s unique combination of protein, carbohydrates, fats, and electrolytes actually help to hydrate your body better than plain water. Drinking milk can help replace electrolytes like sodium and potassium that are lost in sweat. Make hydration fun this summer by whipping milk into a smoothie or freezing smoothies in popsicle molds. Cheers!
Dairy farmers: the original environmental stewards
Long before we were aware of carbon footprints or greenhouse gases, farmers understood that the health and productivity of their environment led to the sustainability of their own business. Dairy farmers’ desire to be sustainable and protect their natural resources has driven innovation and standard practices that can be found on dairy farms throughout our nation.
Take for example the practice of recycling or reusing water. The same gallon of water on some farms can be used to chill milk so that it is safe to drink, mist and cool down cows in the hot summer (a cool cow produces more milk), clean equipment and barns, and then finally used to irrigate crops. Dairy farmers try to make every drop count.
A public pledge
Today, a gallon of milk produced in the United States uses less land and water while contributing less of a carbon footprint than ever before. Dairy farmers and all those in between who work hard to bring delicious milk, cheese and yogurt to your plate understand just how important these foods are to our diets.
That’s why the U.S. dairy industry has committed to continue their efforts to optimize water use and has set a goal to be greenhouse gas neutral by 2050. If you’d like to learn more about the U.S. Dairy Net Zero Initiative, visit usdairy.com.
NC Dairy Facts
- North Carolina is home to 125 dairy farms.
- Most milk is produced within 300 miles of where it is sold.
- Each cow produces around 8.7 gallons of milk a day.
- Most milk from dairy farmers in the Southeast remains fluid (not processed into cheese or yogurt) — the best way to support a NC farmer is to purchase fluid milk!
- In the U.S., milk is usually on grocery store shelves within an average of 48 hours after leaving a dairy farm.
About the AuthorSarah Hester is a Registered Dietitian and Community Wellness Manager at The Dairy Alliance. The Dairy Alliance is a non-profit funded by the generosity of dairy farm families of the Southeast. She lives in beautiful North Carolina and is a wife and mom w
Carolina farm life