N.C. dairy farms want you to celebrate June as National Dairy Month
North Carolina joins the rest of the country in celebrating June as National Dairy Month. This year’s theme, “Get more with milk,” focuses on consumers, encouraging families to make milk their first beverage choice because it contains vitamin, minerals and nutrients that are part of a healthy diet.
The Southeast United Dairy Industry Association Inc. is working to raise awareness about the accomplishments of the 2,900 dairy farmers across the Southeast, including Zach Myers of Jonesville.
Myers is a third generation dairy farmer, operating on the same land his grandfather opened the dairy on in 1949.
Myers has been active in dairy industry leadership in both North Carolina and the Southeast, and this year was elected chair for the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board.
The NDB, working directly with U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, carries out coordinated promotion and research programs to help build demand and expand domestic and international markets for dairy products. As NDB chair, Myers plays a major role in guiding the program’s national promotion campaigns.
“I am extremely proud of the work we are doing,” Myers said. “Our nation’s dairy farm families are feeding our communities, our states, our nation and the world with nutritious, wholesome, great-tasting milk and milk products. I am excited for the opportunity to play an integral part in the promotion of dairy products.”
Myers earned his bachelor’s degree in biology at N.C. State University and a master’s degree in dairy cattle nutrition and animal sciences at Michigan State University. After graduation, Zach and his wife, Sybil, decided to settle back on the farm in Jonesville, where the couple have three children and have grown the operation to about 900 mature cows.
North Carolina is one of the top milk-producing states in the Southeast, with 250 licensed dairies. In 2014, more than 47,000 North Carolina dairy cows produced 111.7 million gallons, or about 961 million pounds, of milk. The top six milk-producing North Carolina counties were Iredell, Randolph, Yadkin, Gaston, Lincoln and Haywood.
North Carolina also has a strong presence in the milk production and processing industry, and is home to four commercial milk processing plants, with two in High Point, and one each in Winston-Salem and Asheville. Additionally, North Carolina is home to three on-farm bottling plants, one commercial cheese plant, 37 small cheese makers and 38 ice cream and value-added dairy manufacturers.
June also marks the 100th
anniversary of the National Dairy Council, an organiztion that provides science-based nutrition education to consumers, with the goal of keeping children healthy by providing them with nutrient-dense foods like milk, cheese and yogurt.
For more information about National Dairy Month or the National Dairy Council, go to www.SoutheastDairy.org.