Think of dairy products that you or people you know like to eat and drink: milk, cheese, yogurt, ice cream…YUM!
Did you ever think about the people, plants and animals that help to make these dairy products? June is National Dairy Month so we’re taking some time to celebrate the people, plants and animals that make our delicious dairy products possible!
In the dairy farm-to-table process, the plants and animals are tied together. Our human digestive system isn’t able to break down the cellulose found in grass, alfalfa and other plants, but dairy cattle can! Cattle have a ruminant digestive system. This system uses a four-compartment stomach to break down cellulose and use it for energy that allows cattle to produce meat and milk.
There are MANY people involved from MOO to You! Our Ag in the Classroom Curriculum Matrix has a variety of dairy-themed lessons that introduce K-12 students to the people involved in producing, processing, distributing, marketing and consuming dairy products. You can also check out the Moo-to-You feature in our AgMag magazine for first-graders and forth-sixth graders. We’ve also created a Milk Makin’ Math hypderdoc for upper elementary students. As kids complete this hyperdoc independently, they take on the role of six different people and solve math-based challenges involved in the dairy farm-to-table process, as well as meeting a few Minnesota dairy farmers. I strongly encourage YOU to visit the MidWest Dairy Association’s website right now to get a glimpse into what dairy farming looks like.
If you and your family enjoy eating dairy products, there are lots of great recipe ideas! Smoothies are a summer favorite at our house, so my daughters each picked out a smoothie recipe they wanted to try from the Midwest Dairy Association’s recipes. I have a feeling we’ll be making the Banana Caramel Smoothie and the Chocolate Berry Smoothie more than a few times this summer!