Dairy has a rich tradition in North Dakota.
By: J.W. Schroeder, Dairy Specialist, NDSU 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.