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Published June 11, 2015, 09:34 AM

Dairy Focus: June is dairy month

June is Dairy Month. It is a chance to learn about a dairy farm month, as well. Dairy has a rich tradition in North Dakota and the Midwest, and here is a chance for you to become better acquainted with this time-honored event.

By: J.W. Schroeder, North Dakota State University Extension Service

June is Dairy Month. It is a chance to learn about a dairy farm month, as well.

Dairy has a rich tradition in North Dakota and the Midwest, and here is a chance for you to become better acquainted with this time-honored event.

The annual tradition was started in 1937 to celebrate the dairy industry and its many contributions to our society. 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." It had a purpose as well.

Originally supported by the National Dairy Council (NDC), June as Dairy Month was established to help stabilize dairy demand during periods of peak production when cows were turned out to pasture. To assist in that effort, the NDC provided promotional materials to the 6,300 participating stores.

"June Dairy Month" became the official title of the promotion in 1939 and focused on greater use of dairy products. Campaign material, prepared by the NDC, was offered to producers, processors and dairy product distributors. June Dairy Month initially was funded by a 1-cent-per-pound butterfat assessment in June.

During the war years, less emphasis was placed on promotion and more was on surviving the war. The retailers helped customers receive an adequate supply of dairy products and provided information to help use them properly.

After the war, efforts focused on resuming dairy product usage and regaining "lost" butter sales. In 1947, the slogan was "30 Days for ADA in June." ADA was the American Dairy Association, and the goal was "sales, not surplus." By 1950, retailers, producers and processors all worked together to promote June Dairy Month.

In 1955, the ADA became the national leader for June Dairy Month campaigns. The

emphasis changed to sales promotion programs for dairy products, and advertising

and merchandising programs were added to an already-effective public relations

program.

The June promotion became a month-by-month merchandising event in which one or

more foods made from milk were highlighted nationwide on a monthly basis. This

advertising was visible evidence of dairy farmers' dollars at work.

June Dairy Month continued to evolve through the years, and entire communities

across the country, rural and urban, have embraced it and become involved in

many ways. On-farm events such as breakfasts and open houses are popular in

June, with dairy farmers throwing open their doors so people can learn more

about how they take care of cows and produce the milk that people depend on for good health.

One such event is LegenDAIRY. Yes, you read that right.

LegenDAIRY is the effort of one of our North Dakota dairy farms. This effort,

also called Breakfast on the Farm, is a model that has been used by several

other dairy farms in the state. These folks have gone the extra mile to welcome

the public to their farms to show how milk is collected and distributed while

continuing the dairy month tradition and spreading the word about dairy

nutrition, their stewardship of the environment and their care for animal

welfare.

LegenDAIRY is an opportunity for the public to see a North Dakota dairy in operation firsthand and meet our newest dairy family, the VanBedafs. On Sunday, June 14, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the public is invited to tour the dairy, see it in operation, and enjoy free food and fresh dairy products. The event also will have fun and games for the kids.

Just a few moments after you walk into the VanBedafs' office and see the photos, you will know beyond a doubt that the dairy is not only a tradition but also a passion for them. The VanBedaf Dairy is at 170 70th Ave. N.E, Carrington. It is three miles east of Carrington on North Dakota Highway 200, then 1 1/2 miles south.

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