Art Mensonides is a dairy farmer in Mabton, Washington. Originally from The Netherlands, he and his family immigrated to Washington in 1989 to start a dairy. In 2002, they built the current farm, and its current operations are just one more example of how Washington dairy farmers are contributing to our state’s environmental sustainability.
Center: 2014-2015 Washington State Dairy Ambassador, Janis DeJager. Left: Washington State Dairy Ambassador Alternate, Marcella Bartelheimer. Right: Washington State Dairy Ambassador Alternate, Marissa Apperson
We celebrate dairy all year round because it’s our job, and because it’s our passion. But we always look forward to June when everyone else gets to celebrate with us for National Dairy Month. It’s a time to enjoy two scoops of ice cream instead of one, add a splash of creamer to our black coffee, sink our teeth into an extra cheesy pizza, and top all our berries with real whipped cream. It’s also a time to recognize the hard work and dedication Washington dairy farmers put in every single day to care for their cows and bring us farm fresh dairy products.
There are those who claim the youth of today is a lost generation. We beg to differ. Every year, the Dairy Farmers of Washington, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) and Les Schwab Tires award two high school seniors with the Smart Choices Scholarship. Smart Choices winners receive a $5,000 scholarship to the institution of continued learning of their choosing. These recipients excel in the classroom, in their extracurricular activities and in their communities. Their achievements are so far above and beyond they’ll make your head spin.
As dairy farmers, food is our life. And as the providers of food, you may think hunger is something we rarely think about. But it’s just the opposite. While hunger is often overlooked off the farm, it’s on our minds a lot. We know that with 1 in 6 Americans struggling with hunger every day, we are surrounded by it – our friends, our neighbors and other people we wouldn’t even expect.
It’s dinner time yet again, and you pull the milk jug out of the fridge to pour each family member a tall glass of farm-fresh milk. It's a nightly tradition you cherish and overlook all at once. Across town and across the state, countless families are doing the same thing -- sharing a meal made a little more perfect with milk. Milk helps create special moments like these every day.
For nearly twenty years, the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association and the Dairy Farmers of Washington have partnered to build family-focused initiatives that promote health and nutrition for everyone involved with WIAA sports and activities. Dairy plays an important role in an athlete’s diet when it comes to performance both in the classroom and on the court.