Not many people become famous for raising dairy cows, running a family farm and producing the best quality dairy foods. But, that’s just what dairy farmers do every day. If you’ve ever met a dairy farmer, you know that they tend to be humble and modest. They aren’t farming to receive recognition or accolades. However, that doesn’t stop farmers from excelling at their jobs: keeping us fed, their animals healthy and caring for the environment. Despite obstacles that might present themselves, we value dairy farmers during June Dairy Month and all year (especially during January when we are slurping delicious Dairymen’s milkshakes!). Here’s our top five reasons why we think dairy farmers rock.
- The population of the world is consistently growing.
Where do we get the food to continue to feed billions of people? You guessed it—dairy farmers. Milk and dairy foods made from milk are consumed by nearly 75 percent of people. That’s billions of pounds of cheese, yogurt, cream and milk each year.
- Dairy farmers work extremely hard to make ends meet.
When considering jobs in America, working less than minimum wage is unthought of. Yet, when you consider the number of hours dairy farmers put in each week, with no overtime pay, from sun up to sundown, their wages typically fall far below the minimum wage set by the federal government. But, this doesn’t damper the morale of farmers who work tirelessly to provide for us.
- Farmers have no control on the price they receive for their products.
Despite what the public might believe about the prices they see in the grocery stores, farmers do not set the price of milk or dairy foods. Instead, they are paid the price for providing the raw food source, milk, to a milk processor. Again, they are driven by passion, not the bottom line.
- The average age of a farmer is the oldest in history.
Even with all of the challenges facing today’s farms, the family tradition of passing down farms to the next generation continues. With access to nutritious foods and being in the outdoors for most of their waking lives, it’s no surprise that farmers are aging better and living longer, healthier lives!
- It’s all about the dairy group.
Milk is not only nutrient-rich and delicious, it provides nine essential nutrients and is packed with protein. It’s affordable and easily accessible. So, for most people, milk and dairy foods are a vital part of maintaining a healthy diet. All of this thanks to dairy farmers and the love and care they provide their herds.
Dairy farmers are essential to the economy and to helping us have an overall healthy diet. This month and always, we recognize and support dairy farmers. They rock!