June dairy month recognition held Friday

Monday, June 9, 2014

Missouri's dairy leaders gathered Friday to celebrate June dairy month at the Moreland dairy farm near Harrisonville.

The boards of directors of the Missouri Dairy Association (MDA) and the Missouri Dairy Growth Council (MDGC) were in attendance along with a few special guests.

Moreland Dairy started in 1945 by their grandfather and is operated by Jay, Matt and Mike Moreland. The family milks 140 cows and also grows corn, soybeans, hay and has an 80 cow Angus beef herd.

"June Dairy Month, an annual tradition was developed to celebrate the dairy industry and its many contributions to our society in 1937," MDA President and a dairy farmer from Purdy, Larry Purdom said. "The observance was created as a way to help distribute extra milk when cows started on pasture in the summer months."

Purdom said there is a lot to be thankful for this year.

"First of all, MDA is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year. Dairy farmers are continuing to recover from the drought of 2012 with the recent rains which helps grow a more ready cow feed supply. We are also enjoying more favorable farm level milk prices due to growing export markets.

"We are also looking forward to Governor Jay Nixon's signature on Senate Bill 506 or House Bill 1326 which contain the Missouri Dairy Revitalization Act of 2014. These bills received overwhelming bi-partisan support by the Missouri General Assembly," Purdom said. "Concern for job stability and economic activity in Missouri were the driving forces for support of these bills. With the loss of dairy farms continuing in Missouri at an alarming rate due to drought and poor margins, the pressure of finding local milk for our 15 dairy processing plants has reached a critical stage. One plant closed at Monett last year with the loss of 60 jobs."

Purdom said a study by the University of Missouri in 2011 showed Missouri's dairy product manufacturing industries employed more than 5,000 workers with a total state payroll of $258 million and dairy manufacturing plants produced an estimated $4.4 billion worth of dairy products.

"Missouri's dairy product manufacturing industry revenues translated into statewide total economic output worth $7.7 billion," he said. "When you include the jobs, created at the farm level and with additional suppliers, a total of 23,297 jobs were supported providing $1.2 billion in labor income to Missourians in 2011.

"Our industry means a lot to Missouri and to our consumers. We are proud to celebrate it," concludes Purdom.