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Milk: It Does North Carolina Good

May/June 2009 • Category: Features  Print This Page

June is National Dairy Month!

Rolling green pastures dotted with cows, and silos set against a glowing sunset—both scenes are slowly disappearing from rural North Carolina. A group of dairy farmers are working to put a stop to the shrinking dairy herds across the state, though, and they’ve enlisted the support of agriculture advocates and the General Assembly.

The Dairy Advantage Program was started in 2007 in response to the drop off in dairy suppliers in North Carolina. The N.C. Dairy Producers Association teamed up with N.C. Farm Bureau, N.C. Department of Agriculture and N.C. State University to develop a strategic plan for the dairy industry.

“We brought together producers, processors and auxiliary suppliers to create the plan,” says dairyman and Chatham County Farm Bureau member Norman Jordan. “The overall goal is to sustain and grow the dairy industry of North Carolina.” Jordan was president of the N.C. Dairy Producers Association at the time the program was created.

The program has four key components to its mission: enhance the value of milk and dairy products, improve the quality of life for farmers and their herds, increase the volume of grade-A milk produced and support dairy farm members.

“As the plan progressed, it became apparent to us that there was a need for the General Assembly to support the efforts within the dairy industry,” Jordan says. “When we told the General Assembly what we wanted to do, we got a lot of positive feedback. They approved the creation of two extension positions, which helps us stay on top of industry improvements.”

The industry is important to the state in numerous ways. “North Carolina only produces about 40 percent of the milk needed for the fluid milk supply,” Jordan says. “As the population grows and demand increases, there ought to be a way to capitalize on that demand.”

“It’s about more than just milk,” Jordan says. “We create jobs and stimulate economic activity in the country; we contribute to the local economy and provide a tax basis. The dairy industry is a major economic engine for rural North Carolina.

“Operating a dairy farm also requires a substantial amount of land, so we’re providing the open green space that people are accustomed to seeing.”


Nine out of 10 women and seven out of 10 men older than 20 fail to meet calcium recommendations.


77 percent of children ages 9-19 do not meet their recommended dairy intake.


Dairy provides calcium and eight other essential nutrients including potassium, phosphorus, protein, vitamins A, D and B12, riboflavin and niacin.


About 73 percent of the calcium in our food supply comes from milk and foods made with milk.


Make sure you get three servings of calcium each day!

One serving =
Milk: 8 ounces (1 cup)
Natural Cheese: 1 - 1.5 ounces or about 3-4 cheese cubes
Yogurt: one 6- or 8-ounce container


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