Once again, it's June, and that it's still my favorite time of year.
First and foremost, my birthday is this month and it's also June Dairy Month.
It's been a while since I have shared any significant information regarding the dairy industry in Minnesota, so that is what this week's column is about.
Wait, you don't have to yawn, or move on to some other story in this newspaper. I promise to make it fun and interesting.
In our house, and in many other houses, milk is a staple. We can literally go through two gallons of milk in one day especially since cereal is such a staple. The other day, Joey asked to have a second glass of milk with his meal. Steve considerately poured him another glass, but not before making some sort of noise and complaining that we downed the entire gallon just during supper.
Joey then made a comment about how that was the best milk he's ever had.
Considering it came from our dairy farm, he better think it's the best milk he's ever drank.
Did you know there are just under 4,000 dairy farms in the state of Minnesota? Just think that's at least that many people getting up early in the morning to milk. It really is the best time of the day. It's calm and all a person hears is the chirping birds as the sun comes over the horizon.
OK, so Steve gets up early to milk the cows. I get up early to go for my walk. In the last couple of weeks I have had to get up early to help out with chores a few times. One morning, I covered for my nephew Mike.
The other morning I chose to milk was last week Thursday; the first official day of summer vacation for Russell. He was fit-to-be tied when he heard his father had scheduled him to work the very next morning after his eighth-grade graduation.
I took Russell's side. I couldn't believe his father would do that to my sweet child.
I made a deal with Russell. I would milk for him and let him sleep in. The catch was that he still had to come out at 6:30 a.m. Yes, that's sleeping in at our house.
Once again, I have swerved way off track. So, of those 4,000 dairy farms, 99 percent are still considered family farms. Family farms are farms where the parents force their kids to work!
Just kidding, but farm kids are expected to work hard. For instance, Wednesday our boys had to take the garbage out. I thought taking garbage out meant all the garbage in the house. Because I didn't specify to have all the garbage taken to the dumpster, the garbage cans in the house are all still overflowing. Guess I will have to put it on tomorrow's To-Do List as well.
Another fact about dairy farming that I like to reemphasize is that dairy farming contributes $5.6 billion dollars to the state's economy and creates nearly 40,000 jobs in the state.
That job number includes the farmers that own the cows that produce the milk, to getting that milk, in some form or another, to the grocery store farmers, nutritionists, elevator employees, truckers, etc.
Most of the milk produced in Minnesota is processed into a value-added product like ICE CREAM! Of course there is always cheese, yogurt and other dairy foods, but ice cream has to be my favorite.
My second favorite dairy product is butter. Just thinking about a baked potato with a slab of real butter on top makes me want to have one for breakfast.
In order to produce all those dairy products, each cow produces 7 gallons of milk, on average, per day. Some cows produce a lot more and some a lot less it's genetic.
You know, years ago, when our boys were little, or when we had younger nieces and nephews, visiting us, we never grew concerned over spilled milk.
We just figure spilled milk would be helping the dairy industry, buy increasing demand.
In fact, if a child didn't want to finish his or her glass of milk, we encouraged them to pour it down the drain.
I think they all thought we were insane!
Consider helping the dairy industry this June. Purchase that gallon of ice cream, a second gallon of milk, or fresh shredded cheese and two pounds of real butter.
For questions, or comments, e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.