I’m excited for June Dairy Month again this year. This month I hope to be riding in a truck throwing out candy to the children of local dairy producers and their employees in a parade held in Wendell, Idaho. The free dairy products, including ice cream, yogurt and milk, passed out after the parade courtesy of dairy producers are also a treat. If this issue were a dairy product, it would be as tasty as those freebies. There’s a special celebration of our own in this issue. On page 41, you’ll find the beginning of a special section discussing U.S. dairy breeds as seen through the eyes of dairy producers and breeders who own and milk the cattle.
As I interviewed these producers, they all felt their breed had something to contribute to U.S. milk production, which continues to grow (see page 8).
Some of these producers believed in the benefits of crossbreeding while others would rather prefer a purebred animal not reproduce with another breed. Regardless of your own personal persuasions on the matter, June is a time to celebrate the industry, embracing the black-and-white cow, the brown cow or the red-and-white cow.
This issue also includes a special section about organic milk production. I’d encourage both conventional and organic milk producers to take a look at the articles. Authors contributing to this section have been asked to address their article topics from a neutral perspective, and I think producers from both sides of the fence can find something of value in the topics presented, which include the economic benefit of good pasture management, locating and eliminating causes of mastitis and more.
Also, this past month I talked to Jim Huffard, a progressive dairy producer and breeder, who impacted his herd’s breed (Jersey) with a high production and type bull sired from one of his strongest cow families. In the article, Jim suggests ways other breeders and producers could imitate his breeding philosophy. I think it’s worth a look. Perhaps with due research and a bit of luck, your own cow family could hold the potential for the next superstar breed bull.
I usually don’t like to toot my own horn. But as I’ve advocated in previous editorials, the dairy industry is only as strong as the willingness of its members to speak up in defense of its products. There’s hardly a better month to tout the goodness of dairy. I figure this editorial is like the label on most dairy products. There’s so much good in the product, a printed label on the outside just doesn’t say enough. PD