31 May 2024

Milk Toast Kicks Off Maine Dairy Month

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To start the annual celebration of Dairy Month, Governor Janet Mills, Commissioner of Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Amanda Beal, and dairy farmers and food producers from across Maine raised their glasses for a milk toast at the Blaine House in Augusta on May 30.

The event acknowledged the vital contributions of dairy farmers to Maine’s economy and agricultural landscape and spotlighted Real Maine dairy products from throughout the state.

“Dairy farms are at the heart of Maine’s agricultural industry, our rural communities, and our economy as a whole,” said Governor Mills in her remarks. “Award-winning cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and butter, all made exclusively with Maine milk, are sold at restaurants, schools, grocery stores, cafes, and shops worldwide. During Dairy Month, let’s all support the long-term success of Maine’s dairy industry by buying milk and milk products that come from Maine.”

Governor Mills issued a proclamation declaring June as Maine Dairy Month. Since 1939, June has been designated as Dairy Month in the United States.

In addition to Governor Mills, Sarah Littlefield, executive director of the Maine Dairy & Nutrition Council and Maine Dairy Promotion Board, Ron Dyer, executive director of the Maine Cheese Guild, and dairy farmer Betsy Bullard made remarks.

“Maine’s dairy farmers, whether first generation or tenth like myself, look forward to celebrating Dairy Month with eaters around the state. We rely on cows’ superpower of turning native materials unfit for human consumption into nutritious local foods both for our livelihood and our way of life,” said Betsy Bullard, owner of Brigeen Farms and Canty Cow Creamery. “The Adopt A Cow program, funded by dairy farmers, has enabled us to share our stories with more than 17,000 Maine schoolchildren, and we look forward to continuing those conversations, maybe over a special occasion charcuterie plate featuring one of Maine’s fantastic cheesemakers, or a frozen treat from one of the stops on Maine’s Ice Cream Trail .”

Real Maine Dairy logo

Maine is home to more than 200 dairy farms that steward 700,000 acres of farmlands and care for herds of dairy cows, goats, sheep, and even water buffalo. In addition to agricultural products, farms provide numerous public benefits, such as scenic open spaces that enrich local communities.Maine dairy farmers and creameries are estimated to provide 5,117 direct and 9,529 indirect jobs and generate more than $1 billion in direct economic impact and over $2 billion in indirect economic impact. Dairy farms contribute to the economy by supporting small businesses, creating indirect and direct employment opportunities, and bolstering farm and food system enterprises such as farm supply stores, transportation companies, and veterinary services.

Real Maine invites you to celebrate Maine Dairy Month in June. From a glass of fresh local milk to any number of products made with Maine milk and cream, there is a wealth of ways to enjoy and discover Maine dairy year-round.

Real Maine is the state’s official agriculture and agritourism promotions program. From seedlings to farmers’ markets to ice cream sundaes, plan your Real Maine summer agricultural experience. Visit www.realmaine.com to connect to farms, food, and agriculture throughout Maine.