On June 2nd, California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. proclaimed June as “Real California Milk Month,” paying homage to more than 1,300 dairy families who make California the number one milk-producing state and dairy the state’s number one agricultural commodity. This regional distinction is in addition to the annual National Dairy Month celebration that recognizes the range of dairy products and the farmers who produce the milk that helps feed the nation and, increasingly, the world.
In celebrating the people behind the industry and the Real California Milk seal, the Governor’s proclamation recognizes the contributions of California’s dairy families to the state and spotlights the California dairy industry, which accounts for more than 19 percent of the nation’s milk supply and 33 percent of the nation’s dairy exports. As the proclamation highlights, “the hard work of California’s more than 1,300 dairy families has made them leaders in the field.”
“In addition to the importance of dairy farm families to the fabric of their communities, dairy farming and dairy processing are an important part of the state’s economy, increasing employment opportunities and stimulating local and regional economies. California dairy adds approximately $21 billion to the state’s economy each year,” said John Talbot, CEO of the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB). “We are pleased to take the month of June to recognize the dedication of these multi-generational farming businesses to bringing such a nutritious food to the table.”
This dedication to increasing access to healthy foods is part of the legacy of the dairy industry, which provides education about healthy eating and the five food groups to teachers, children and families through Dairy Council of California and support for initiatives like the Great American Milk Drive, a partnership with Feeding America to provide families in need access to fresh fluid milk, one of most requested but least donated food bank items.
Ninety-nine percent of California dairy farms are family-owned. California produces more fluid milk, butter, ice cream, nonfat dry milk and whey protein concentrate than any other state. The state is the second-largest producer of cheese and yogurt. Dairy products made with California milk can be identified by the Real California Milk seal, launched in 2007, which certifies that the products are made exclusively with milk produced on California dairy farms.