June is National Dairy Month and there are so many delicious ways to celebrate. Obviously, a scoop of ice cream is a wonderful treat on a hot summer day. How about a grilled cheese sandwich, a protein rich yogurt paired with local strawberries and blueberries, or a chilled glass of milk?
There are approximately 34,000 dairy farms in the United States with 9.33 million dairy cows. Ohio, with its 252,000 dairy cows, is a very important contributor to the dairy industry and ranks nationally in the following categories:
• 1st in Swiss cheese production and sour cream production
• 2nd in lowfat cottage cheese production
• 4th in hard ice cream production
• 5th in the total number of dairy manufacturing plants
• 10th in all cheese production
• 11th in milk production
• 11th in number of dairy cows
Pretty impressive! Ohio’s average herd size is 148 cows per farm. The most common breed is the black and white Holstein with Jersey, Guernsey, Ayrshire, brown Swiss, milking shorthorns, and red and White Holsteins completing the list of the seven major breeds.
Dairy foods provide a wide variety of nutrients including calcium, protein, vitamin D, phosphorus, vitamin A, riboflavin, vitamin B12, pantothenic acid, niacin, zinc, selenium, iodine and potassium. According to the International Dairy Foods Association, the average American consumed 653 pounds of dairy products in 2019. On average, a cow will produce six to 10 gallons of milk each day. To produce this, a cow needs to consume about 100 pounds of feed and drink 30 to 50 gallons of water each day.
Those of us of a certain age will remember Elsie the Cow, the iconic brand mascot for Borden Dairy. Some of us even remember when Borden was located in Columbus. Back in the 1930s, there were dairy price wars between farmers and dairy processors, which portrayed larger dairies unfavorably in the news. Elsie was created as part of a marketing campaign to help make the Borden brand more friendly and approachable to the public. Elsie’s smiling face and daisy necklace became so popular that in the 1940s, 98% of the American public recognized her. She was on par with Santa and the president!
Soon, a real “Elsie” (a Jersey cow) came along to quench her adoring fans’ desire for all things Elsie, traveling nationwide and making public appearances. She was showcased at the New York World’s Fair and the Rose Bowl parade, and actually delivered her calf, Beauregard, behind temporary drapes in a Macy’s store window during a guest appearance. After World War II, as television became more popular, an animated Elsie began appearing in television commercials. Today, Elsie can still be found on the front of the can of Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk.
About one-third of all milk produced in the U.S. annually goes toward making cheese and 9% is used to make ice cream. The most popular cheese recipe in America is macaroni and cheese, and the top two ice cream flavors are chocolate and vanilla. You can find many “udderly” delectable recipes using dairy ingredients at drink-milk.com and milklife.com.
Why not celebrate National Dairy Month with this simple, fun Squeeze and Freeze Ice Cream at www.drink-milk.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/Squeeze-Freeze-Ice-Cream.pdf?
For information about our conservation programs, visit the Delaware Soil and Water Conservation District at soilandwater.co.delaware.oh.us.
Bonnie Dailey is deputy director of the Delaware Soil & Water Conservation District. For information, go to https://soilandwater.co.delaware.oh.us/.