“A salute to the Lake Oconee-area dairy farmers”
By: Bobby Smith
You drive past dairy farms scattered about the Lake Oconee area almost daily. But have you ever stopped to think about all the hard work that goes into a dairy farm? Dairy farmers have to get up in all kinds of weather before dawn to go to the milking barn, they don’t come home until dark and have to work seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Much like rest of the economy, this year dairy farmers are really struggling. After 2 years of record milk prices for dairy producers, this year will be a challenging one with on farm prices off over 35 percent and feed and fertilizer prices near all time highs. Even in these uncertain times our local dairy farmers deserve our admiration and respect.
Welcome to June Dairy Month, a perfect time for us to honor Greene, Morgan and Putnam County’s hard working dairy farm families. Dairy farming makes a significant contribution to our local economy every year and in 2008 over $52 million dollars was added directly and almost $150 million indirectly as that money is spent in this area. The Lake Oconee area (Greene, Morgan, and Putnam counties) has over 60 dairy farms and more than 13,800 cows that work day and night to produce a healthy product every day of the year.
This year's June Dairy Month theme is “3-A-Day of Dairy” for Strong Bones because most people don’t get enough to stay healthy and therefore aren’t protecting their bones. Nine out of 10 women and seven out of 10 men do not get enough calcium every day, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Milk and dairy products are an excellent source of calcium and are fortified with Vitamin D, which can double the amount of calcium absorbed. Three serving of milk or dairy products gives all the calcium needed in a day. Consuming three servings of low-fat dairy foods and eight to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables has been shown to help lower blood pressure, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers are learning that dairy products may help turn on fat-burning mechanisms in the body. Scientists are also learning that milk has cancer-fighting abilities which can help prevent colon cancer. Milk is good nutrition for your body.
So, consume milk and dairy products daily to stay healthy. Make sure you consume “3-A-Day” of milk and dairy products this June for Dairy Month and for the rest of your life. Don’t forget the Lake Area men and women dairy farmers that work hard for you so you don’t have to.