June is dairy month, and the dairy industry is a vital part of the economy in Comanche and surrounding counties. June Dairy Month, an annual tradition developed to celebrate the dairy industry and its many contributors to our society, originated in 1937. During its first two years, 1937 and 1938, it was called National Milk Month, and ran from June 10 to July 10. The 1937 event, sponsored by chain stores, was given the theme “Keep Youthful - Drink Milk.” Originally supported by the National Dairy Council (NDC), June Dairy Month was established to help stabilize dairy demand during periods of peak production. To assist in that effort, NDC provided promotional materials to the 6,300 stores participating.
“June Dairy Month” became the official title of the promotion in 1939 and focused on greater use of dairy products. Campaign material, prepared by NDC, was offered to producers, processors, and dairy product distributors. June Dairy Month was initially funded by a one cent per pound butterfat assessment in June. During the war years, less emphasis was placed on promotion, and more on surviving the war. The retailers helped customers receive an adequate supply of dairy products, and provided information to help use them properly. After the war, efforts focused on resuming dairy product usage and regaining “lost” butter sales. In 1947, the slogan was “30 Days for ADA in June.” The goal was “Sales, not Surplus.” By 1950, retailers, producers, and processors all worked together to promote June Dairy Month.
In 1955, the American Dairy Association (ADA) became the national leader for June Dairy Month campaigns. The emphasis changed to sales promotion programs for dairy products, and advertising and merchandising programs were added to an already effective public relations program. The June promotion became a month-by-month merchandising event in which one or more foods made from milk were highlighted nationwide on a monthly basis. This advertising was visible evidence of dairy farmers’ dollars at work.
June Dairy Month continued to evolve over the years, and entire communities across the country, rural and urban, have embraced it and have become involved in many ways. Some celebrate with dairy food demonstrations. In others, dairy princesses have distributed product samples at creameries, grocery stores, and local banks. Some rural communities sponsor cattle shows and princess contests with coronation ceremonies. One of the traditional highlights is a parade, featuring county and regional dairy princesses, town officials, floats, and marching bands. Other activities include cow milking contests, cow visits and zoos, or banks offering free milk and ice cream cones.
The Comanche Dairy Appreciation Breakfast is one of the few dairy month activities left in Central Texas. The breakfast is free of charge and will be held on June 12th from 6:00 until 9:00, at the Comanche Community Center. Local dairy families keep the event going strong, feeding close to 700 folks each year. The event highlights dairy’s nutritional and economic value.
The cooperation between farmers and other community members is really the basis of what June Dairy Month is all about- celebrating and using milk “nature’s most perfect food.”