Tricia Braid

Sep 15, 2015  |  Today's News

Illinois Corn partners in the Illinois Farm Families program, investing your checkoff dollars in outreach and education to consumers in the Chicago area. You’ve told us time and again that this is an important audience to reach. Just take a look at the GMO labeling laws across the country…there is much conversation needed about you, your farms, and how you farm. Recently one of the former participants in the program wrote an article about what she learned regarding milk. Be sure to read the full text of her blog post below. It was also emailed out to thousands of folks on our email list who’ve indicated they want to know more about what you do every day on your farms.

Remember, Illinois Farm Families are committed to having conversations with consumers, answering their questions about food, farmers and farming, and sharing what really happens on today's Illinois family farms. More than 97 percent of Illinois farms are family owned and operated. We are passionate about showing consumers how we grow safe, healthy food for their families and ours. The program is wholly or partially funded by one or more national or state checkoff programs.

Illinois Corn Marketing Board is joined by Illinois Beef Association, Illinois Pork Producers Association, Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Farm Bureau, and Midwest Dairy Association in this work.

20 Things you Didn’t Know you Wanted to Know About Milk

By: Pilar Clark, Chicago Mom

There is little more American than a glass of ice cold milk. In fact, the average U.S. milk drinker downs almost 25 gallons a year.

Dairy farmers just outside Chicago are producing the dairy foods we serve our families daily. And when it comes to milk production – organic vs. non-organic, pasteurized vs. raw, health benefits and risks – it turns out there’s more to milk than something to wear as a mustache.

1. Thanks to 19th century French biologist, Louis Pasteur, the milk we drink today contains little or no harmful bacteria. Pasteur initially applied his bacteria-killing technique, known as pasteurization, to beer.

2. Milk comes from seven main breeds of dairy cows: Ayrshire, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Holstein, Jersey and Milking Shorthorn. (A seventh, Red and White, is a variation of the Holstein breed.)

3. Milk has nine essential nutrients for human health: calcium, potassium, phosphorus, protein, niacin, vitamin A, vitamin B 12, riboflavin and vitamin D.

4. Dairy farmers and workers follow several steps to ensure the sanitary collection of milk from dairy cows. Human hands never touch the milk as it travels from cow to consumer.

5. Veterinarians help dairy farmers administer antibiotics effectively when they are needed to treat and cure an illness. When antibiotics are used, the treated cow’s milk is discarded and does not enter the human food system. Antibiotics are not used routinely for dairy cows or added to their feed or water, and strict protocols are followed. Every tanker load of milk is tested for commonly used antibiotics at the processing facility, and, in the rare event that a tanker tests positive, the entire tanker load of milk is destroyed and never reaches the consumer.

6. Despite its creamy texture, milk is actually 85-95% water. The rest of its volume comes from vitamins, proteins, carbohydrates and fat.

7. The average cow produces 90 glasses of milk each day, or about 200,000 glasses of milk during its lifetime.

8. Dollar for dollar, dairy is one of the most economical sources of nutrition in the grocery store. At around $0.25 cents for a glass, milk is America’s No. 1 food source of calcium, potassium and vitamin D – three nutrients that people fall short on the most.

9. To absorb the same amount of calcium as you get from one cup of milk, you would have to eat either 10 cups of raw spinach, six servings of pinto beans or three cups of cooked broccoli in one sitting.

10. In terms of quality and nutrition, there is no real difference between organic and regular milk. (Skim, 1%, 2% and whole milk all have the same calcium and nutrient content.)

For more milk facts, to read the full article, and to meet the Chicago mom who wrote this, visit us at Watch Us Grow.