ROSEMONT, Ill., June 1, 2017 (PRNewswire) — There is no denying the joy that dairy can bring, through a delicious slice of cheddar on a burger at the family barbeque, a cold glass of milk or a giant scoop of ice cream. But when it comes to what dairy even is; where dairy comes from; or how dairy farmers care for their animals, the environment and the communities they live in, misinformation is everywhere, confusing consumers at every turn. In fact, according to a recent survey, nearly 50 percent of people think eggs are dairy and nearly half of Americans don't know where chocolate milk comes from.1

To spotlight the role dairy plays in peoples' everyday lives and to bring consumers closer to where dairy comes from, the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, in partnership with nearly 42,000 family farms, processors and dairy brands, is kicking off a month-long celebration of National Dairy Month. The events are part of the dairy community's unprecedented campaign, "Undeniably Dairy" — a multiyear effort to showcase all that is good about dairy, from the farm to the foods we love. 

Visit America's Dairy Farms

Throughout the month, hundreds of America's dairy farmers, from Pennsylvania to Wisconsin to Colorado to California, will be "opening their barn doors" to reintroduce people to their local farms and the families who run them. A variety of signature events, including farm-to-table breakfasts with local chefs and farm tours, will give consumers an opportunity to experience farm fresh foods right from the source and learn more about where dairy comes from.

"We are excited to invite people to the source of their favorite dairy products so they can experience and see the practices dairy farmers are proud of and committed to," says Ron Gibson, a fifth-generation farmer from Gibson Green Acres Dairy in Ogden, Utah, who is hosting an event on June 1. "Visitors might be surprised to see that, like them, we use the latest technology to be more efficient, to be conscientious of our land and to take care of our animals, while also producing undeniably great-tasting milk, the foundation for all that is good about dairy."

Despite dairy farms being in all 50 states and most people living within 100 miles of one, a recent survey found that only one in 10 consumers have ever visited a dairy farm, making these events a great opportunity to experience life on the farm while learning more about where their food comes from — like the fact that most milk travels an average of only 300 miles from farm to store shelf, and 97 percent of dairy farms are family-owned and operated.

"What better time than National Dairy Month to showcase the undeniable commitment that dairy farmers have to their local communities," said Beth Engelmann, chief marketing communications officer at Dairy Management Inc. "Our goal is that for every cup of yogurt or glass of chocolate milk that someone enjoys, there is a memorable connection back to the farmers that make it all possible."

Raise a Glass: Today is World Milk Day

National Dairy Month festivities kick off Thursday, known globally as World Milk Day. In the U.S., an average of 12 million gallons of milk are consumed each day, with nearly half of that consumed with cereal. Today people around the country are encouraged to celebrate with a cold glass of milk that offers great taste, great nutrition and likely came from a farm nearby.

Dairy Delicious Did-You-Knows:

  • 43% of Americans would give up social media for a year's supply of free ice cream
  • 94% of Americans' favorite delicious treats prominently feature dairy
  • 41% of Americans like to start their day with a beverage that includes dairy

Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy is a forum that leverages the collective power of the dairy community to address the changing needs and expectations of consumers through a framework of shared best practices and accountability. Our voices span the food chain, from dairy farms through retail, including farmers, companies, organizations and grocers. We focus on priorities that are pre-competitive in nature, where working together brings strength and the opportunity to make meaningful change. Initiated in 2008 by dairy farmers through the dairy checkoff, we collaborate on efforts that are important both to us and our valued customers – issues like food safety, nutrition and health, the environment and economics. The Innovation Center is committed to continuous improvement from farm to table, striving to ensure a socially responsible and economically viable dairy community.

Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) is funded by America's nearly 42,000 dairy farmers, as well as dairy importers. Created to help increase sales and demand for dairy products, DMI and its related organizations work to increase demand for dairy through research, education and innovation, and to maintain confidence in dairy foods, farms and businesses. DMI manages the National Dairy Council and the American Dairy Association, and founded the U.S. Dairy Export Council and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.

1 Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy study conducted of 1,000 U.S residents 18+ years old in May 2017.