As the nation honors its work force this Labor Day, America’s dairy families will be working just as they do every day to bring fresh, wholesome dairy products to the consumer, according to Dairy Management Inc. and the National Milk Producers Federation.

Dairy farming is a labor-intensive occupation, and producing such a wholesome product does not come without manpower. More than 94,000 families milk and care for 9.2 million dairy cows every day, according to the U.S. department of agriculture (USDA). Through the efforts of the American dairy farmer, the United States has become the world’s leader in cows’ milk production, providing nearly 18.3 billion gallons of milk each year, reports USDA.

These efforts do not go unnoticed. In a Roper Starch Worldwide consumer survey conducted earlier this year, nearly three-quarters of Americans recognize the value dairy farmers bring to their communities. In fact, 74 percent of respondents believe dairy farmers make significant contributions to society; only teachers (89 percent) and doctors (88 percent) ranked higher.

Dairy Facts in Honor of Labor Day

  • Dairy cows are milked at least two times — and sometimes three times
  • every day, usually in the morning and again in the evening (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
  • Dairy cows spend 10 to 20 minutes in the milking process daily (University of Wisconsin-Madison)
  • Dairy farmers will feed their cows up to eight times a day, including Labor Day (MooMilk Web site)
  • Milk and other dairy products supply about 76 percent of the calcium available in the food supply (International Dairy Foods Association)
  • Every dollar farmers earn from their businesses multiplies many times throughout the economy as they buy goods and services in their communities (Midwest Dairy Association)
  • A recent survey of America’s young farmers and ranchers revealed that 97 percent planned to follow in their family’s footsteps and farm or ranch for life (Louisiana Farm Bureau Federation)