Five Ways Michigan Dairy is Great for Michigan Families
Editor’s Note: This is an excerpt from an article that first appeared on the Metro Parent website. Go here to read the full article.
There are as many reasons to enjoy Michigan dairy as there are flavors of cheese, yogurt and ice cream. Here are our top five.
Dairy is delicious
Dairy foods are a staple in the kitchen, especially for cooking. Families across Michigan rely on milk and cheese for a variety of recipes, from smoothies to macaroni and cheese to desserts.
White and chocolate milk may still be the most popular varieties, but connoisseurs have an increasing number of flavors to choose from when they’re choosing milk. Some of the more interesting new flavors include coffee, peanut butter, and — in homage to the popular Easter candy — Peeps.
That’s true for cheese as well, which U.S. dairy farmers offer in more than 600 varieties. These days it’s not uncommon to find cheese flavored with ingredients as diverse as horseradish, bacon and blueberries.
It’s nutritious, too
Milk provides 13 nutrients, including protein, calcium, vitamins A and D, vitamin B12, riboflavin (B2), niacin, phosphorus, pantothenic acid, zinc, selenium iodine and potassium.* Cheese contributes calcium, protein, phosphorus, and vitamin A to the diet.
Naturally aged cheeses like Swiss, Colby and Monterey Jack are well-tolerated by many individuals with lactose intolerance, and most natural cheeses are also gluten free.
It’s environmentally sound
Virtually all of Michigan’s dairy farmers live on or near their farms, so they take great care of their natural environment. In fact, a 2020 study in the Journal of Animal Science found that between 2007-2017, U.S dairies used 21% less land, 30% less water, and produced 19% less greenhouse gas emissions.
Furthermore, cows are “upcyclers,” which means they eat food that would otherwise clog landfills, such as corn cobs and stalks and grains that are a byproduct of distilling.
It’s good for the community
Many Michigan farms have been in the same town and the same family for generations and they contribute to their community. Dairy farming contributes to over $15B to the Michigan economy. with about 90,000 dairy-related jobs.
Dairy is the ultimate farm-to-table product. When milk leaves the farm, it is on the store shelves or in school cafeterias within 48 hours. Most of the fresh, wholesome milk at stores and in schools in Michigan comes from Michigan.
For more information on Michigan dairy farming, visit our Farming section.
*Based on the 2019 DRI for potassium established by National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine.