June Dairy Month is the perfect time to enjoy favorite dairy products.
To celebrate, the public is invited to attend Dairy Day at the Capitol, a free June Dairy Month event observing the impact Michigan's local dairy industry has on the state's economy and the role it plays in feeding its citizens. This year's event takes place on the southeast lawn at the State Capitol in Lansing on June 11 from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m.
Attendees can enjoy free ice cream, samples of specialty cheeses and other dairy products produced by Michigan processors and artisans, and hear from former Detroit Lions kicker Jason Hanson.
"The annual Dairy Foods Awareness Day at the Capitol event expands awareness of and knowledge about the state's dairy processing industry and Michigan dairy farming, and it promotes the health benefits of incorporating three servings of low-fat or fat-free dairy products into our daily diets," says Jason Wadaga, vice president of government affairs for the Michigan Dairy Foods Association (MDFA).
The MDFA, a trade and membership service organization representing the nearly 90 dairy processing plants located across Michigan, has sponsored and organized Dairy Foods Awareness Day at the Capitol for more than 20 years.
"Michigan dairy processors and dairy farm families are proud to be part of an industry that contributes $14.7 billion to the state's economy annually and produces a safe and wholesome food. Milk continues to be a nutritional bargain for families at a cost of about 25 cents per glass," Wadaga adds.
Milk and dairy products sold in Michigan grocery stores are produced locally on Michigan's approximately 2,000 dairy farms, 97 percent of which are family-owned and -operated.
The state's 375,000 dairy cows produce nearly 8.9 billion pounds of milk containing nine essential nutrients, including calcium, potassium and protein, annually, ranking the state 7th nationally for total milk production. Their milk is bottled for drinking or processed into cheese, yogurt and other dairy products at one of nearly 90 processing facilities located across the state, and surplus milk is exported to other states.
Several Michigan dairy processors will have displays and distribute free dairy product samples at this year's celebration from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Those scheduled to attend include: Ashby's Sterling Ice Cream, Dean Foods, Hudsonville Ice Cream, Michigan Dairy (Kroger), the Michigan Milk Producers Association, Prairie Farms and Quality Dairy.
Several Michigan dairy farmers will also be present at the event, including Michigan State Representative Ed McBroom, a lifelong dairy farmer from Dickinson County, and State Senator Judy Emmons, a fifth-generation dairy farmer from Montcalm County.
In addition to sampling a variety of dairy foods, event attendees will hear from former Detroit Lions kicker Jason Hanson, who will also be available for photos and hand out autographed items.
Dairy Foods Awareness Day is a free event and the public is invited to attend. In the event of rain, activities will take place inside the Capitol Building in the south orridor on the first floor.
For more information about this year's event, call Wadaga at 517-485-7711.
To learn more about local hard-working Michigan dairy farmers and their families, visit Milk Means More.