World Milk Day is June 1, 2023. Established in 2001 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, World Milk Day celebrates the importance of milk as a global food and highlights the 133 million dairy farms around the world, 37 million of which are female-owned.
The dairy industry is responsible for 240 million jobs. More than 100 countries worldwide participate in the day, which includes a focus on the milk industry’s current work to reduce its environmental footprint and become a more sustainable, green industry. All in all, dairy supports the livelihoods of up to 1 billion people.
Milk, derived from dairy cows, is one of the most nutrient-dense beverages humans can consume. It has 13 essential nutrients, including significant doses of protein, vitamins A and D, folate, calcium, magnesium, and zinc.
The dairy industry has taken recent strides, including genetic improvements that significantly increase milk production from cows and improved veterinary medicine. Veterinary enhancements that have enabled greater milk generation include higher cow vaccination rates, stress reduction for the livestock, and more comfortable living conditions for the animals.
The dairy industry has also made massive strides in lessening its environmental impact. Over the past seven decades, it has reduced feed usage by 77%, water use by 65%, and land use by 90%.
While the negative impact is reduced, production rates continue to soar. The U.S. alone produces at least 26 billion gallons of milk every year. Although some countries, such as India and China, are less productive, they are working toward minimizing environmental impact and improving production — an awareness of which is part of the message of World Milk Day. Today, nearly 40% of global producers have declared their support for a net-zero environmental approach via Pathways to Net Zero Dairy’s call to action.
Milk remains one of the most valuable agricultural commodities in the world. It’s the fifth-largest energy provider and the third-largest provider of fat and protein for humans. It’s a key component in the strategy to reduce hunger and malnutrition for undernourished people, particularly pregnant women and children, globally.
World Milk Day encourages people to get involved in numerous ways to help promote dairy’s importance, enjoyment, and nutritional goodness. Two hashtags, #WorldMilkDay and #EnjoyDairy, can be used on social media to spread the word. Individuals are encouraged to cook using it: everything from overnight oats and smoothies to coffee and soups. Organizations such as nutrition groups, schools and universities, retailers, and sports clubs are some of the best groups to help promote the day. Any participants are encouraged to register their World Milk Day campaigns on worldmilkday.org.