Kentucky Agricultural News

 

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture provides many services for Kentucky's dairy industry

Agriculture Commissioner James R. Comer

 June is Dairy Month, and I hope you will join me in saluting Kentucky’s hard-working dairy farm families. They provide the milk and other dairy products that we all depend on. And they do it every day. A dairy cow never takes a day off.

Many exciting things are happening in Kentucky’s dairy industry. Several producers make value-added products such as ice cream, organic milk, and artisan cheese; four on-farm cheese making operations have opened in Kentucky in the past year. Two more Kentucky dairy farms have opened as agritourism destinations. Some producers raise dairy heifers on contract and for resale. While the total number of dairy farms is in decline, new dairies are opening up and moving into Kentucky.

Kentucky’s dairy industry is a major economic force in the Commonwealth’s agricultural economy. Kentucky dairy producers took in more than $232 million in farmgate cash receipts from milk sales in 2011, according to the Kentucky office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service. The Southeast United Dairy Industry Association says Kentucky’s dairy industry generated an estimated $760 million in economic activity last year. The NASS reported that Kentucky’s 850 dairies produced nearly 1.1 billion pounds of fluid milk in 2011, 27th in the nation.

Commissioner
James R. Comer

The Kentucky Department of Agriculture promotes and markets Kentucky’s dairy industry. The Department’s dairy marketing specialist, Eunice Schlappi, works with dairy producers and Kentucky dairy organizations to promote the industry and open new markets for Kentucky dairy products. The Kentucky Proud program counts many dairy farmers and producers of value-added dairy products among its more than 3,000 members. The Division of Show and Fair Promotion, along with Eunice and other KDA staff, helps with dairy cattle shows throughout the state, including the Kentucky State Fair, the North American International Livestock Exposition, and the Kentucky National Dairy Shows and Sales, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in March. The Department maintains a directory of contract growers and replacement heifer producers. Kentucky Kate, the milkable fiberglass cow owned by the KDDC and operated by the KDA, educates our youth about the dairy industry by giving them a “hands-on” experience.

Many other organizations provide valuable services to Kentucky’s dairy industry. For more information about them and about the Department’s services for Kentucky’s dairy farmers, go to www.kyagr.com. To find out where you can buy Kentucky Proud dairy products, go to www.kyproud.com.

And the next time you pour a glass of milk, dig out a scoop of ice cream, or melt a slice of cheese on a hamburger, remember to thank a dairy farmer.