Raise a glass to Ohio dairy farmers this summer

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COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Summer is officially here, which means family gatherings, road trips and delicious food.

The warm summer months wouldn’t be complete with a delicious slice of cheddar or Swiss on a burger, tall glass of milk, or a big scoop of ice cream.

“Dairy foods bring nutrition and great taste to the homes of millions,” says Jenny Hubble, senior vice president of communications for the American Dairy Association Mideast. “It’s hard to think of summer memories that don’t involve dairy.”

Despite dairy being a summer staple, the majority of Americans are not getting the recommended amount in their diets. According to a 2015 survey conducted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 86 percent of Americans consume less than the recommended three cups of dairy per day.

“Packed with protein, carbohydrates and important vitamins and minerals, dairy foods are nutrient-rich powerhouses that help fuel the body and contribute to a well-balanced diet,” said Jenny Hubble. “It is concerning that so many Americans are not getting the suggested amount of dairy—and its associated nutrients—in their diets.”

Milk is the number-one diet source of calcium in the diet, critical ingredient for growing bones, but more than that, milk provides nine essential nutrients, including 25 percent of calcium, 16 percent of protein, 50 percent of vitamin B12, and 15 percent of vitamin D.

To remind Americans of all that is good about dairy, starting at the farm and ending with a variety of nutritious dairy foods, the dairy community launched a national campaign for June Dairy Month called Undeniably Dairy.

“We know that consumers are not getting the recommended amount of dairy in their diets, and we wanted to bring that to light,” said Hubble. “We also wanted to share information about the sustainable production practices in the dairy community.”

As more families become generations removed from the farm, there is growing interest in wanting to know how food is produced.

“Ohio’s dairy farming communities work hard to ensure that dairy products are fresh and sustainably sourced,” says Hubble.

Ohio dairy farmers make it a top priority to ensure milk is safe and nutritious by providing excellent care of their animals and protecting the land where their farms are located. Ohio is home to more than 2,400 dairy farms, the majority of which are family-owned.

The state also ranks number-one in the nation for Swiss cheese production, second for the production of low-fat cottage cheese, third in sour cream, and fourth in hard ice cream.

During June – and all year-round – there are many reasons and ways to enjoy nutritious dairy foods.

To meet Ohio dairy farmers, learn nutrition facts, or to find a delicious recipe to take to the next summer picnic, visit undeniablydairy.org or drink-milk.com.

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