We have several family birthdays that are celebrated in May, starting with the patriarch of our farmstead on May 1. I follow Duane just a few days later, and there are Hershey birthdays that trickle throughout the month.
Birthdays are not the only reason to celebrate. When I look up special days during this month, there are more than 300 days to honor. Gazing over the list of special days in May, the majority are days that I never noticed.
Did you know that May 10 is Clean Your Room Day? When I was a kid, I would let that chore go until absolutely necessary. Barn chores always trumped house chores, and when I heard hints of house cleaning on the horizon, I did everything I could to make sure there was a task for me in the barn.
Then there is May 11, which happens to be Root Canal Appreciation Day. I have had a few of those. Although I am grateful that I do not need to live with tooth pain, honoring a day of grinding, pulling, and twisting nerves out of the depths of my body is not necessarily something that makes me celebratory.
Something that deserves a second glance is the fact that May is designated as Lyme disease awareness month. Unfortunately, we know plenty about Lyme disease in this part of the country. Our county, Chester County, is overrun by those tiny, annoying deer ticks. I have had Lyme disease twice, the last diagnosis resulted in a three-year treatment plan. I hate those little creatures, and I go to great lengths to keep them off of me.
We have been forewarned that this year will be a bad one because of the mild winter we had in Pennsylvania. There were not enough days under a freezing temperature to kill off the current population. Although they designate a month to recognize, I take this precaution seriously every month of the year.
Don’t worry, I am not going to go through the entire list of recognizable days in May. Instead, I am going to jump ahead to the next month, to one of the most notable times of the year for dairy farmers. June is Dairy Month.
June 1 is designated World Milk Day, and a few years ago, Land O Lakes, Dairy Farmers of America, the Global Dairy Platform, Dairy Management Inc., and many other dairy industry cooperatives and businesses took this to a new level, pushing promotions out on social media channels around the world. We were blasting World Milk Day messages for a 24-hour time period over all time zones and continents.
Positive, consistent, and informative dairy messages went across the globe that day. It was an amazing effort, and the same was done last year. I anticipate this year to be even more effective.
World Milk Day is a super way to start June because, for as long as I can remember, we have celebrated June as Dairy Month.
When I served as our County Dairy Princess, June was the month that many promotions were handled. From grocery store visits, parades, ice cream socials, and you name it, we had a lot of dairy events going on.
There are still many events and promotion efforts that remind people of the numerous reasons to reach for milk, ice cream, milk shakes or another favorite dairy foods.
Designating June as Dairy Month gives us a great excuse to celebrate, recognize, and honor the nutritious, delicious, and irreplaceable pillar in our food system, milk.
However, with everything that recently happened, one begins to realize that we do not need to wait for a special day of the month or the year to announce the value of dairy. Yes, it is nice to have a particular time that recognition is given, but we have a wonderful and healthy opportunity in each glass of milk, and we do not need to wait until June to tell people.
Social media allows us the privilege to put positive messages out every day, sometimes several times a day. Seriously, every day is cow day when you live on a dairy farm.
I have had an idea brewing in my head for quite some time, and I feel like the timing is right now. Cows are the center of our farms, and I would like to start a daily social media recognition of this great animal.
I am starting a “Cow of the Day,” a photo of a dairy cow, calf, or heifer, that will start our day. With the help of technology, I hope to post this at the same time every day. I also envision bringing special photos in from fellow dairy farmers.
If you have a cow or calf photo that you would like to contribute to Cow of the Day (COWOTD), please email the photo and your social media handles to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am sure that we can all agree that the dairy cow deserves recognition, honor, and cause to pause every day.
The author and her husband, Duane, own and operate a 550-cow dairy in Cochranville, Pa.