I was recently asked what June Dairy Month means to me. I responded that it is a chance to celebrate an industry near and dear to my heart. It is also an industry that has offered me a number of opportunities from a very young age.
Growing up on a small 100-cow dairy farm in McConnells, South Carolina, I always played a role in June Dairy Month celebrations around the state. During my years in 4-H and Future Farmers of America, I sold homemade ice cream at events and shared the dairy message with consumers at local festivals in order to raise money for dairy judging trips. As young industry leaders, it was a great opportunity to teach consumers about dairy farming. As each member on the team had family members who worked in the dairy business, we all treasured the opportunities it created for us. We knew we had to tell our dairy story and share our knowledge with consumers.
My older brother William is managing the dairy at home and he has been a key role model in my life. I have learned the importance of a hard work ethic, perseverance, and dedication working alongside him throughout my teenage years. With challenging dairy prices, it is more important than ever to stick together as an industry, open our farm gates and invite the consumer to see how committed farmers are to providing a safe, steady supply of dairy products.
Even though I am nearing graduation from Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, Georgia. (six hours from home), I often find myself making the long road trip home to help with the daily operations of the dairy. There is a sense of satisfaction knowing I can play a part in an industry that provides such a wholesome and nutritious product for its consumers. The more time I spend on the busy interstate, the more I realize I miss the cows. Therefore, I take every opportunity to give back to the industry.
Every time I put a milker on, it starts a magnificent chain of events that goes from the bulk tank to the processing plant and ends up in some form of a dairy product in the grocery store. There are hundreds of different dairy products on the shelf that contain the powerful nutrient package of nine essential nutrients that helps nourish our bodies.
June Dairy Month is a time for farmers to showcase all their achievements and talk to consumers about the importance of choosing nutritious and delicious dairy products. It is our time as an industry to come together and promote our cows and our dedication to them.
Dairy Farmer’s Daughter from McConnells, S.C.