By Magen McCrarey
LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
Milk mustaches took over the facade of Hazel Green Elementary School on Wednesday, Sept. 26 for World School Milk Day (WSMD). The annual international event was celebrated in partnership with the Patton Family Dairy Farm of East Bernstadt, The Southeast United Dairy Industry Association and more than 40 countries worldwide.
“Katie wants to know if you drank your milk today,” Ronnie Patton, owner of Patton Family Farms, asked students.
Katie is a six-week-old Ayrshire dairy calf. Patton and his son, Andrew, led the calf in for students to pet outside the lunchroom. While the Patton farm is located just a mile from the elementary school, students were able to make a real world connection between where their milk comes from and discover what livestock produces it.
A typical diary farm herd in Kentucky is composed of 84 milking cows. Within the state, there are currently an estimated 70,000 milk cows and 900 licensed commercial operating diary farms. Those licensed dairy farms produced 125 million gallons of milk in 2011.
During WSMD, children learn the importance of diary products, which contain nine essential vitamins and minerals used to build strong bones and healthy bodies.
“It helps your bones,” explained Hannah Maggard, a student of Mrs. Hacker’s fifth-grade class.
Maggard’s classmate, Conner Pennington, slurped his fat free chocolate milk as he sat beside her and she continued chatting about the importance of drinking her milk. Pennington said chocolate milk is his favorite for lunch.
“It’s got a good taste to it,” Pennington chimed.
According to the latest dairy research, chocolate milk is the best re-fueling beverage for athletes. In fact, Southeast United Dairy provides coolers of the beverage to local participating football and basketball programs. According to America’s Milk Processors, low fat chocolate milk has high-quality protein and key electrolytes such as calcium, potassium, sodium and magnesium and is made up of all natural ingredients.
Other great essential nutrients provided by dairy consumption include Vitamin A, phosphorus, riboflavin, and Vitamin D.
For more information about diary products and farmers, visit www.southeastdiary.org.