Got milk? June is Dairy Month in the U.S., which means it’s the perfect time to take kids on a summer field trip to a local dairy farm. June Dairy Month originated in 1939. The tradition began as a way for farms to distribute extra milk during the summer months, encouraging people to make milk their beverage of choice due to its nutritional value. The first thing students learn on a field trip to the dairy farm is that being a successful dairy farmer is hard work, but that’s just one of the numerous takeaways. Without dairy farms we wouldn’t have cheese, yogurt, or ice cream, which means, well… no gooey grilled cheese sandwiches or soft serve chocolate and vanilla swirls dipped in rainbow sprinkles. And that’s only the beginning.
Up Close with the Cows
Your mom says it, your grandmother says it, and chances are your dentist says it, too – that’s right, milk is important for building strong bones and teeth. But when you get up close with the cows at the dairy farm, keep in mind that dairy also prevents heart disease, obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Milk is a moo-arvelous drink that contains several essential vitamins and nutrients. Dairy feeds our brains and bodies, helping us stay healthy and strong.
Dairy farming isn’t all ice cream, yogurt, cheese, and mud. It’s hard work being a dairy farmer. The earth is warmer than it used to be, and weather affects the operation of the dairy farm. When the temperature goes up, the prices of feed, fuel, and electricity to run the dairy farm go up, too. The climate is changing, and the dairy farm is changing with it.
Class in the Barn
After a trip to the milking parlor, a straw bale climbing competition and, yes, another sample of Greg the Goat’s delicious goat cheese, it’s time for class in the barn. Milk is produced in all 50 states, with the largest production in the North and West. One of the biggest things that make being a dairy farmer difficult is the changing price of milk. One year a gallon of milk is over $3 gallon, and the next year it’s barely $2. Think of it like this: it’s a lot like your parents giving you a $5 a week allowance one month, and then a $3 a week allowance the following month. Just think of the things you can do with that extra money, like buy a soft serve ice cream on a warm June day at the dairy farm!
Can you think of any other facts can we milk from a field trip to the local dairy farm? We’d love to hear them!