I am pretty excited about June Dairy Month. After a three-year hiatus from Wisconsin dairy products while living in Ohio, I am ready for this month.
Dairy products make up a pretty good array of my favorite things. A raspberry sundae from Culver’s, chocolate milk from Kwik Trip and salami cheese all top my list of some of the best things you can eat or drink. Unfortunately most of those things were not in Ohio, except the Culver’s custard.
In Columbus, there was like one Culver’s. Luckily we just happened to live close to it. I don’t think it was a coincidence.
Ohio also had another big problem…they didn’t have cheese trays at parties. Whenever we went to a party it always felt like something was missing, like we were munching on rabbit food.
Luckily we moved back to Wisconsin and have since indulged in some awesome dairy products. Life is good when Kwik Trip chocolate milk and salami cheese is readily available.
I guess you could say I am a true Wisconsinite.
I didn’t notice it until we left, but the Wisconsin dairy scene is pretty amazing. Something I did know before I left was that the farmers that produce that milk are pretty amazing as well.
Jackson County is dotted with dairy farms, large and small. We have organic and conventional dairy farms. Some farms have a freestall while others still use stations. No matter what the farm is like, dairy farmers are the cream of the crop.
In my lifetime I have met some pretty remarkable farmers. They are the most resourceful people I have met and also pretty darn smart if you ask me. Not only that, but they often care a lot about their community as evidenced by their involvement on various boards throughout the county. All of this while running a farm that is more than a typical nine-to-five job.
As a young kid before my dad got out of dairy farming, I can still remember messing around in the barn, riding heifers until my dad caught me and showing cattle at the fair.
Even though my dad got out of dairy farming before I was in middle school, dairy farming still put an imprint on me. It still has impacted my life.
I think everyone that grew up on a farm has that same imprint. I grew up wanting to save farms. Wanting to stop other farms from going under. Wanting to tell people how great farmers are.
As a child who lived through losing his family’s farm, I know what that does to a family. I can remember my dad having to find a new job and giving up on his dream. A dream his own dad had given to him.
I still remember crying to my dad in bed when I learned that he had sold my favorite cow. I can only imagine what that was like for him to live through.
Sometimes I wonder where my life would be today if my dad had never sold his cattle.
Maybe that’s why I like dairy products so much because I want to support an industry that is so near and dear to my heart, and maybe that is why Wisconsin as a whole does the same. I don’t think I am the only one that has lived through selling a farm and unfortunately I don’t think I will be the last.
It is for these reasons that I will continue to buy dairy products because I know the farmers that produce it. I know what they have done to make sure I am fed in a healthy and safe manner.
So during June Dairy Month, I encourage you to do the same. I encourage you to support the dairy industry and stop dairy farms from going under. I encourage you to support these small businesses that support families and our economy.