Over the years, June Dairy Month events have been a tradition in most communities. The annual celebration of the contributions of milk and the dairy industry to citizens and communities originated in 1937. During its first two years, 1937 and 1938, it was called National Milk Month and ran from June 10 to July 10.
The 1937 event, sponsored by chain stores, was given the theme “Keep Youthful – Drink Milk.” Originally supported by the National Dairy Council (NDC), June Dairy Month was established to help stabilize dairy demand during periods of peak production. To assist in that effort, NDC provided promotional materials to the 6,300 stores participating.
“June Dairy Month” became the official title of the promotion in 1939 and focused on greater use of dairy products. Campaign material, prepared by NDC, was offered to producers, processors and dairy product distributors and was initially funded by a one cent per pound butterfat assessment in June.
In 1955, American Dairy Association (ADA) became the national leader for June Dairy Month campaigns. The celebration continued to evolve over the years and entire communities across the country, both rural and urban have become involved in many ways. Some celebrate with dairy food demonstrations. In others, dairy producers have distributed product samples at grocery stores and local banks and many producers host tours of their dairies.
In Northwest Iowa, the Western Iowa Dairy Alliance (WIDA) and the Midwest Dairy Association (MDA) will host a dairy farm tour on Wednesday, June 28. The public is invited to a family-friendly event at Summit Dairy near Primghar. The tenth annual event will include a dairy farm tour, free food and kids’ activities from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Parking is available at the farm, located at 5564 390th St., Primghar (12 miles east of Hwy 60 on 390th St./B-40, or 3 miles west of Primghar on 390th St./B-40).
Visitors will have opportunities to see where cows are milked, where they are housed and fed, and learn about the role of milk and dairy products in a healthy diet. Veterinarians, dairy nutritionists, dairy farmers and other experts will be available to answer questions. There will also be information about crop production and conservation.
Following the tour, guests will enjoy a free meal of Mr. Rib sandwiches or hot dogs, as well as cheese curds provided by AMPI, Blue Bunny ice cream treats provided by Wells and milk provided by Dean Foods.
The open house will feature a Kid’s Fun Zone with games, activities and the chance to meet dairy calves. In addition to dairy, kids will have the opportunity to learn about beef cattle, soybeans, corn, and other agricultural products from representatives of Iowa State University Extension, 4-H, Iowa Food & Family Project, Sioux County Cattlemen, Iowa Corn and other groups. Katelyn Goldsmith, Iowa State Dairy Princess, will attend and kids can make their own crowns to be royalty for a day.
Iowa is home to over 1,400 dairy farms and over 200,000 cows making it the twelfth highest dairy state in the nation. There is one full time job created for every ten dairy cows in Iowa totaling over 22,000 jobs. The total economic impact for Iowa communities is over $23,440 per cow.