By Steve Sternweis, WMMB Board Member - District 8
Here in Wisconsin we would like to consider every month dairy month, but nationally, June is officially recognized as National Dairy Month. June Dairy Month is a celebration of Wisconsin's hard-working dairy farmers and the artisans of all of our favorite award-winning cheeses and dairy. As a dairy farmer in central Wisconsin, June is an exciting and busy time on the farm. Not only is it a celebration of our industry but a busy time on the farm as we are putting in long hours cutting and chopping hay for our cows and tending the young crops.
It is easy for us to get lost in our busy lives and constantly look to what tomorrow will bring. We are looking at continued low milk prices, carefully watching the extended weather forecast and preparing family and employee varied work schedules. As busy as I'm sure we all are, I encourage you to try and find to not just celebrate June Dairy Month, but also reflect on what it took you to get where you are today and where you and your family are going in the future. The foundation of the dairy industry in Wisconsin is built on family farms. Whether you're centennial farm, first generation farmer or have had several generations involved as I have, you are an important part of what makes this such a vital industry.
Almost 80 years ago June Dairy Month began in the United States as "National Milk Month." A few years later, Wisconsin Governor, Julius Heil, signed the official proclamation for our state's first observance of June Dairy Month. Celebrating the dairy industry happens across the country, but here in Wisconsin, our county dairy leader groups, dairy farmers and industry professionals truly make June Dairy Month unique. There are over 80 dairy breakfasts held across Wisconsin allowing consumers to experience the Wisconsin dairy industry. On the internet, check out www.DairyDaysofSummer.com for a list of farm breakfasts and events that are happening all across the state that celebrate our industry – not just in June but all summer long!
Many of the dairy breakfasts across Wisconsin happen right on a farm. Opening up your farm and hosting a dairy breakfast can be one of the most rewarding opportunities you can do as a farmer. My family was one of the first dairy breakfasts on the farm hosts in our area back in 1981 in Marathon County. As the years go by, we have had the opportunity to host the breakfast a couple of times now and I have had the chance to not only share how the farm has changed, but share how we have built on our family's tradition of dairying for generations. If you are exploring the idea of hosting a dairy breakfast or getting involved with grassroots programs on a county level visit www.wmmb.com/county-dairy-leader-groups to learn more about ways you can get involved beyond June Dairy Month and reach consumers.