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Celebrating National Dairy Month

Some only get one day – we get a whole month! June marks National Dairy Month and we have a lot of reasons to celebrate here in Washington – about 460 of them! Today, Washington boasts about 460 dairy farms with about 244,000 happy cows that provide almost all of the milk Washingtonians consume. Some amazing facts about the Washington dairy industry:

Cows, Lies and Videotape

Mercy For Animals (MFA) – a radical animal-rights advocacy group that wants all Americans to adopt a vegan diet – has become an experienced producer of videos chronicling what it describes as “undercover investigations” of animal cruelty it claims is commonplace in American agriculture.  No doubt some of this video material will be on display when MFA’s “Farm to Fridge” national tour visits Spokane and Seattle this week.  The footage is sure to shock and disgust anyone who takes seriously our responsibility to care for the animals from which we derive many of our foods – as it is intended t

Cheese Making

Whether it’s cheddar, pepper jack, Swiss or parmesan, everyone seems to have a favorite cheese. Put on crackers, grilled into a sandwich or melted onto a burger, cheese can be eaten in many different ways and is a staple in most households. Cheese is a concentrated dairy food made from milk. Considering that it takes about 10 pounds (5 quarts) of milk to make 1 pound of whole milk cheese, cheese is a nutrient-dense food. Cheese provides calories; high-quality protein; vitamins; and minerals, such as calcium, phosphorus and zinc.

The Dairy Farmers of Washington React to Texas Animal Cruelty Video

Dairy farm families in Washington are as outraged and sickened by depictions of animal brutality in a video released by an animal rights group as are all other Washingtonians.  The actions depicted in the video – released on April 20, 2011 – are appalling and absolutely unacceptable.

America’s dairy industry takes claims about animal mistreatment very seriously.  We trust that state and local authorities in Texas will respond aggressively to investigate this particular case and take appropriate action against everyone responsible for the perpetration of these acts.

Just plain wrong.

While making an appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman on Tuesday, April 5, 2011, TV chef Jamie Oliver made a statement that provoked one of those “What the …?” responses from us.  Oliver claimed that vanilla ice cream contains castoreum, an additive extracted from the scent glands of … wait for it … beavers.

Seriously?

Relax, consumers of America’s #1 selling ice cream flavor.  Turns out Jamie is wrong – completely, totally, absolutely, 100%, just plain wrong.

Dairy Farmers of Washington's Statement Regarding Trace Radiation in Milk Sample

Rest assured, the U.S. milk supply is safe for everyone to drink, including children and infants.  The Food and Drug Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency have stated that there is no public health concern in the United States as a result of the nuclear accident that occurred in Japan.  Consumer safety is the highest priority for dairy farmers and dairy foods companies, and the U.S. dairy industry will continue to work closely with federal and state government agencies to ensure that we maintain a safe milk supply

Questions and Answers

Surprise, surprise! For Washington’s dairy farmers, 2011 starts stronger than expected

Sometimes really smart people with all of the best analytical tools at their disposal can still be misled by market signals.  Such appears to be the case for dairy commodity prices in 2011.  The year began with cautious optimism.  2010 was at best so-so:  there was welcome recovery in the farmgate milk price after the disaster that was 2009; but high feed prices (animal feedstuffs account for about 70% of a typical dairy’s operating costs) kept margins thin, if that.  At least improved cash-flow eased farm operations.

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