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Maryland is Milkin’ It

June is National Dairy Month

June 2024

(Photo by Jan Koetsier/Pexels.com)

by Laura Emery, Staff Writer

In a transient and fast-paced world, there’s something magical about watching the sun set over tall silos overlooking lush green pasture dotted with grazing cows.

It’s a familiar scene in Maryland — the state that declared milk its official drink in 1998.

According to the University of Maryland Extension, Maryland is home to over 40,000 dairy cows spread across 310 farms throughout the state. In 2022, Maryland’s dairy industry produced over 876 million pounds of milk and generated over $157 million in sales.

June is National Dairy Month and the American Dairy Association North East and the Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association encourage Marylanders to celebrate by enjoying healthy and nutritious dairy products this month and all year long.

Misty Meadows Farm in Smithsburg, Md. (Photo courtesy of Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association)


Here are some “udderly” interesting dairy cow facts courtesy of the Dairy Alliance:

1. Holstein cows, known for their black and white markings, are the most common dairy cattle in the U.S. An average Holstein dairy cow weighs about 1,500 pounds.

2. Cows have four stomachs. Technically, cows only have one stomach, but it has four different distinct compartments. It is very different than a human stomach, so that’s why people often say cows have four stomachs.

3. A cow that is milking eats about 100 pounds of feed each day. The feed is typically a combination of grass, grain, and a mixture of other ingredients like citrus pulp, almond hulls and cottonseeds. These items may otherwise be thrown away. We like to think of cows as the ultimate recyclers.

4. A cow that is milking drinks about 30 to 50 gallons of water each day. Water weighs 8.35 pounds per gallon, so a milking dairy cow may consume as much as 420 (or more) pounds of water daily.

5. Cows like it cool. Due to their thick skin, hair and natural insulation, dairy cows prefer temperatures between 40 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. During the summer, farmers keep their cows cool by turning on their barns’ fans and water misters.

6. An average dairy cow produces 7 to 9 gallons of milk a day. That’s about 128 glasses of great-tasting, nutrient-packed goodness.

The Stambaugh family of Pheasant Echos Farm in Westminster, Md. (Photo courtesy of Maryland & Virginia Milk Producers Cooperative Association)