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Growing In Agriculture: Celebrating June Dairy Month

Growing In Agriculture

Celebrating June Dairy Month


Monday, June 15, 2015

A column by Secretary of Agriculture Lucas Lentsch


Like many South Dakotans, dairy was a part of my life growing up.  The milk cows helped provide us a living that allowed our family to move home to South Dakota from Waterloo, Iowa where my father had worked for John Deere.


Today, we have more than 250 dairy operations that generated more than 246 million gallons of milk in 2014 - that’s almost 4 billion glasses of milk!  Our dairies make significant contributions not only to our food supply, but to our rural economies. One dairy cow has a $14,402 economic impact on a community each year. In celebration and gratitude for all that dairy does for us here in South Dakota, Governor Daugaard declared June as Dairy Month. 


One of the reasons a dairy cow has such a significant impact on local economies is because we are able to process so much of our milk here in the state.  Our dairy processors are responsible for the production of cheese, lactose and protein powders, cream, milk, ice cream, butter and other dairy foods.  Not only does the dairy industry contribute to South Dakota’s economy, dairy contributes to South Dakota’s families by providing a healthy diet rich in calcium, protein, potassium, Vitamin D and other vital nutrients


The dairy industry is strong in South Dakota, fueled partially by the Dairy Science programs at South Dakota State University - one of the best in the country.  As strong as we are, there is considerable room for growth in the industry.  In the past year, we have added 6,000 cows to our dairy herds and increased output by almost 10%, the highest jump in the nation!  I remain committed to working with our dairy producers to continue to grow this vital sector of the agriculture industry. 


As you enjoy June, and the beginning of summer, join me in raising a cold glass of milk in thanks to our dairy producers here in South Dakota.  Cheers!




Attached:  Secretary Lucas Lentsch photo