FRANKFORT, Ky. — Agriculture Commissioner James Comer on Monday proclaimed June as Dairy Month in Kentucky in honor of one of the Commonwealth’s most significant agricultural industries. Commissioner Comer issued the proclamation in a ceremony in his Frankfort office.
“I hope every Kentuckian will join me in saluting Kentucky’s hard-working dairy farm families,” Commissioner Comer said. “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.”
Kentucky’s dairy industry generated an estimated $760 million in economic activity last year, according to the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association. The Kentucky office of the National Agricultural Statistics Service reported that Kentucky dairy producers took in more than $232 million in farmgate cash receipts from milk sales in 2011. NASS reported that Kentucky’s 850 dairies produced nearly 1.1 billion pounds of fluid milk in 2011, 27th in the nation.
The Kentucky Proud program counts many dairy farmers and producers of value-added dairy products among its more than 3,000 members. Several producers make ice cream, organic milk and artisan cheese. Four on-farm cheese making operations opened in Kentucky in the past year. Two more Kentucky dairy farms opened as agritourism destinations. Some producers raise dairy heifers on contract and for resale. New dairies are opening up and moving into Kentucky.
The Kentucky Department of Agriculture’s dairy marketing specialist, Eunice Schlappi, works with dairy producers and Kentucky dairy organizations to open new markets for Kentucky dairy products. The Division of Show and Fair Promotion 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 state veterinarian’s office works to keep diseases out of Kentucky’s dairy cattle herds and eradicates outbreaks when they occur.
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.