Make Mine Milk

June is a month that has its fair share of celebrations, and with its midway location in the calendar, it has become a month that seems to have something for everyone. For centuries, June has been associated with weddings and the uniting of couples for a lifetime. It is also a month that contains numerous other celebrations beside just tying-the-knot for a lifetime. They include things like celebrating Tennessee becoming the 16th state in 1796, National Adopt-A-Cat Month, National Ice Tea Month, National Drive Safe Month, Turkey Lovers Month, National Accordion Awareness Month, National Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Month, National Candy Month, National Rose Month, National Tennis Month, and National Frozen Yogurt Month.  

Even the individual days in June have become a source of celebrating across this country. Some of the special days in June include Father’s Day, Flag Day, Smile Power Day, Decide to Be Married Day, Juggling Day, Desk Bottom Discovery Day, National Yo-Yo Day, Family Day, Salesman’s Day, Children’s Awareness Day, Confederate Memorial Day, Hug Day, Ignorance Day, and National Fink Day just to name a few. If it can be celebrated, June seems to be the month to do it in.  

With all of these many days of celebration, you may ask yourself, “What else may possibly be celebrated in the month of June?” And, if you will allow me, which you know I will do anyway, I will give you the answer to that question.  

June is also National Dairy Month and has been a major celebration within the Volunteer State for many years. The dairy industry has generated billions of dollars over the years to our economic activity and continues to do so. Last year, more than $151.5 million was put back into Tennessee’s economy by Tennessee’s dairy production.  

In mid-May, there were only 428 dairy farms in Tennessee compared to over 900 at the same time in the year 2000. Milk production in the state has dropped from an average of 2 billion pounds in 2000 to a total state production of 850 million pounds at the beginning of 2011.  

Numbers and production continue to decrease around the state, but those Tennessee dairy farmers who remain still produce perhaps the safest food product consumed in this country. From the 52,000 milk cows located in Tennessee, consumers receive a nutritious product containing nine essential vitamins and minerals, including protein, calcium and vitamins A and D.  

Seventy-one percent of our milk produced in this state is on family dairy farms that have fewer than 200 cows. The average milk cow in the state will cost $1,290 and will produce 6.1 gallons of milk a day. She will drink 12 gallons of water, eat 20 pounds of grain and feed, and 35 pounds of hay and silage, and chew her cud from 6 to 8 hours each day to produce those 6.1 gallons. The average cow produces 90 glasses of milk a day and she is doing her part to keep us healthy, but are we?  

Tennesseans’ diets are lacking when it comes to good nutrition. We only get half the amount of fruit and milk we need to meet our daily requirements, says the U.S. Department of Agriculture. By getting three servings of dairy products a day, we can help boost our nutritional needs.  

June marks a month-long salute that began in 1937 as National Milk Month, and it has grown into an annual tradition. By 1939, June became the official Dairy Month and this year marks 75 years of celebration. This year’s theme is “Make Mine Milk.” The theme reminds consumers to make milk their beverage of choice which will make it even easier to get the required three servings of dairy a day in every healthy diet.  

This month let’s honor the contributions of our dairy farmers who look after our good health, as well as work 24/7/365 to provide us consumers with fresh, wholesome dairy products.  

June Dairy Month is a much better celebration than many of the other events celebrated in the month of June and healthier for you than Fink or Yo-Yo Day. If you miss your daily dairy needs however, Fink Day may be just what you do need to celebrate.    


–       Pettus L. Read is editor of the Tennessee Home & Farm magazine and Tennessee Farm Bureau News. He may be contacted by e-mail at