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CLAYTON RYE

By Staff | May 27, 2016

As it is the end of May, then next month is June, which is dairy month.

I was wondering why June is dairy month and thought it might be something to do with the dairy cows feasting on rich, fresh, new green pasture.

So I did what anyone would do, I googled “dairy month” and learned some interesting facts in my search.

A blog from the U.S. Department of Agriculture stated that, among animal industries, the value of dairy production is second only to beef and is equal in value to corn.

Wow.

It also said that dairy farms are “overwhelmingly family-owned and managed.”

Those families are members of producer-owned cooperatives.

I have no experience in dairy barns. I have visited dairy farms and saw what a commitment being in milk production is.

Milking is done two or three times a day, every day, with no exception for weekends, holidays, or if the dairy people are busy, having health problems, or anything else.

As far as those dairy cattle are concerned, it is “No excuses.”

It seems to be partnership between the cows and the dairy operation. They seem to have an understanding based on “You take good care of me and I will take good care of you.”

Because of that we can enjoy a wide range of dairy products, be it refrigerated products such as milk, butter, cheese, and more or frozen products that will include ice cream and all its many variations.

Most of my mornings start with a splash of half and half in my coffee and meals during the day will have cheese as one of the ingredients or maybe just a satisfyingly simple toasted cheese sandwich.

Then an evening no bowl of popcorn is complete without adding the butter.

My wife, the Minnesota native who grew up supporting the dairy industry, would serve a bowl of popcorn many evenings when we were first married almost 23 years ago.

One evening I said I would make the popcorn. When I gave each of us a bowl of popcorn with salt and butter, it tasted awful.

What did I do wrong?

My wife asked if I used margarine for the popcorn, which I did. That was the problem.

She had been using butter when she made the popcorn and I thought margarine was the same thing. It isn’t. I had gotten accustomed to the taste of butter and after that there was no substitute.

That was probably the last time margarine was in our refrigerator.

Years ago, I made a list that on it had asparagus, mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, corn on the cob, peas and string beans from the garden, popcorn, and other food items. The list was titled “Ways to Eat Melted Butter.”

Feel free to add to my list.

Now back to where I started on why June is dairy month.

The USDA blog said June was picked for dairy month because it was a time of year when milk supplies were in surplus and it was a way to increase consumption of dairy products.

That was in 1937.

So my guess of consuming fresh pasture grass was not exactly why June was picked, but that delicious new grass certainly must have helped increase the supply of milk.

Doesn’t a glass of cold refreshing milk sound good right now? It does to me.

Rye is a Farm News staff writer and farmer from Hanlontown. Reach him by e-mail at crye@wctatel.net.

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