It began 71 years ago in 1937 when it was first called National Milk Month. The 1937 event, sponsored by grocers, was given the theme "Keep Youthful - Drink Milk." Originally supported by the National Dairy Council (NDC), June Dairy Month was established to help stabilize dairy demand during periods of peak production. To assist in that effort, NDC provided promotional materials to the 6,300 stores participating.
"June Dairy Month" became the official title of the promotion in 1939 and focused on greater use of dairy products. Campaign material was offered to producers, processors and dairy food distributors.
Later, during the war years, less emphasis was placed on promotion and more on surviving the war. The retailers helped customers receive an adequate supply of dairy foods and provided information to help use them properly.
After the war, efforts focused on resuming dairy food usage and regaining "lost" butter sales. In 1947 the slogan was "30 Days for ADA [American Dairy Association] in June." The goal was "Sales, not Surplus." By 1950, retailers, producers and processors all worked together to promote June Dairy Month.
In 1955, the American Dairy Association became the national leader for June Dairy Month campaigns. The emphasis changed to sales promotion programs for dairy foods, and advertising and merchandising programs were added. The June promotion became a month-by-month merchandising event in which one or more foods made from milk were highlighted nationwide on a monthly basis.
June Dairy Month continued to evolve over the years and entire communities across the country, both rural and urban, have embraced it. Parades, milking contests and other special events can be found across the Southeast in communities large and small.
The cooperation between farmers and other community members is really the basis of what June Dairy Month is all about. It's a 71-year tradition that celebrates the dairy foods our families enjoy and honors the dairy farmers who work day and night to provide them.
For more information on June Dairy Month, please contact the Marshall County Extension Office at 359-1929.