Ruth Correll: Get more with milk: June is Dairy Month

Ruth Correll • Updated Jun 15, 2016 at 10:00 PM

Since 1939, June Dairy Month has encouraged families to make milk their beverage of choice based on its nutrition and value. Dairy farmers strive every day to produce wholesome milk and milk products that your family can feel good about eating. 

The U.S. Department of Agriculture and Food and Drug Administration regulate U.S. milk production and its guidelines are some of the strictest in the industrialized world. Farmers, processors and government agencies all work together to ensure the milk you drink is safe and the highest quality.

Milking cows is a process that happens an average of two to three times every day. Milk from the cow is about 100 degrees and once collected, flows through refrigerated pipes into a sanitized bulk tank, where it is quickly cooled to about 38 degrees. To ensure purity and safety, a sanitary, refrigerated milk truck transports the cooled milk to a processing plant, where it is pasteurized and homogenized.

During milk processing, all handling must maintain the milk’s nutritional value and prevent deterioration caused by numerous physical and biological factors. In addition, equipment on the farm must be maintained to government and industry standards to uphold milk safety.

Homogenization is a process that gives milk its rich, white color and smooth texture. Milk that has not been homogenized contains a layer of cream that rises to the top of its container. Before the homogenization process was used, milk was shaken or mixed to achieve consistency. 

The homogenization process involves reducing the size of the fat globules into miniscule portions that are dispersed evenly throughout the milk. Homogenization usually is achieved by pumping milk through small filters under high pressure.

Pasteurization is a process that kills harmful bacteria by heating milk to a specific temperature for a set period of time. The process of pasteurization typically involves heating raw milk to 161.5 degrees for 15 seconds and then immediately cooling it. “Ultra-pasteurization” is a process that heats milk at a higher temperature for a longer period of time in order to extend a product’s shelf life. It is utilized to create shelf-stable milk products.

Some people continue to believe that pasteurization harms milk and that raw milk is a safe and healthier alternative. Raw milk can harbor dangerous microorganisms, such as salmonella, E. coli, and listeria, which can pose serious health risks to you and your family. Outbreaks of tuberculosis have been traced back to the consumption of raw milk. Pasteurization has been recognized around the world as an essential tool to ensure milk safety. This protocol has been in effect for more than a century and is regulated by the USDA.

A common misconception is that organic milk is healthier than regular milk. In reality, there are no nutritional or health differences between organic and traditional milk. In regards to milk safety, there is no difference between organic and conventional milk production. All milk commercially produced in the U.S. adheres to the same strict federal standards for quality, purity and sanitation.

Dairy farmers work hard to provide your family with the same safe and wholesome dairy foods they give to their children. Dairy farming is a family tradition, one that has been a way of life for many generations. Ninety-eight percent of dairy farms are family owned and operated. Dairy farmers are dedicated and take great pride in farming and caring for their families, their cattle and the environment. 

Enjoy a glass of milk, some ice cream, cheese of your choice, yogurt, sour cream or your favorite dairy product and “Get more with milk.”

Agricultural Market Summary

Cattle Market Trends

A small resurgence in calf and feeder cattle prices; Feeder steers, $2 to $4 higher, $112-$189; Feeder heifers, $1 to $6 higher, $110-$163; Slaughter cows, steady, $55-$86.50; Slaughter bulls, $1 lower, $91-$113.

Grain Market Trends

Corn: Cash price, $4.09-$4.61. July closed at $4.23 a bushel, up 5 cents. Soybeans: Cash price, $10.72-$11.98. July closed at $11.78 a bushel, up 46 cents. Wheat: Cash price, $4.67-$5.29. July closed at $4.95 a bushel, down 2 cents.

For more information, contact the UT-TSU Extension Office in Wilson County at 615-444-9584. You can also find us on Facebook or visit our website at extension.tennessee.edu/wilson. Through its mission of research, teaching and extension, the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. ag.tennessee.edu. Ruth Correll, UT Extension-TSU Cooperative Extension in Wilson County, may be reached at 615-444-9584 or [email protected].


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