Communities around the world are being encouraged to celebrate World Milk Day, to highlight the importance of dairy to the global economy, farmer's livelihoods and people's health.
The United Nations has declared June 1 as World Milk Day, recognising dairy's contribution to the well-being of children and adults across the globe, as well as sustaining regional communities.
The day was first launched in 2001 by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation to celebrate and increase awareness about the nutritional and economic importance of milk and milk products around the globe.
Australians who love dairy are being asked to show how much, by sharing their favourite milk memory on social media for their chance to win a year's supply of milk.
Whichever way that might be, such as drinking coffee, using milk as an ingredient in their favourite smoothie or meal, or just drinking it straight from the carton.
With the dry conditions and high costs of feed and water being experience by many dairy farmers, it's now more important than ever for consumers to get behind dairy.- Celebrity chef Matt Moran
Celebrity chef, restaurateur and farmer Matt Moran is supporting the campaign in celebration of Australian dairy farmers.
"World Milk Day is a great way to do something healthy for yourself and celebrate the natural goodness of 'real' milk, while at the same time supporting Australia's dairy farmers," he said
"With the dry conditions and high costs of feed and water being experience by many dairy farmers, it's now more important than ever for consumers to get behind dairy."
Dairy Australia dietitian Glenys Zucco said on the social media campaign, 'What do you cheers to?' complemented this year's World Milk Day theme: Enjoy Dairy.
"The health benefits of having the recommended daily serves of dairy are well established," Ms Zucco said.
Dairy foods are one of the five recommended food groups according to the Australian Dietary Guidelines and research supports the role of dairy as an important part of a balanced diet.
All types of milk, cheese and yoghurt are associated with numerous health benefits, including a reduced risk of coronary heart disease, stroke, hypertension and type 2 diabetes.
Ms Zucco said the beauty of cow's milk was it had one simple ingredient milk, with a range of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals.
"In addition to calcium for strong bones, milk naturally is a rich source of essential nutrients, including protein for healthy muscles, iodine, B vitamins and phosphorus," Ms Zucco said.
"Generally, plant-based milk alternatives are lower in protein and while calcium is sometimes added in, evidence suggests it's not as absorbable as the calcium found naturally in cow's milk."
Helping to separate facts from fiction around dairy is the dairymatters.com.au website, which has been developed to provide a central source of credible information about dairy, and all dairy questions are welcome through the You Ask, We Answer page.
To win a year's supply of milk and to support farmers, Australians simply have to post a photo showing how they have their milk on their Facebook or Instagram, with the hashtags #cheerstomilk #enjoydairy.
The International Dairy Federation began its World Milk Day celebrations early at a meeting of its global experts in Paris, France.
IDF director general Caroline Emond said the organisation was calling on everybody to celebrate and drink milk on June 1.
"As the global voice of the dairy sector since 1903, IDF recognises the importance of milk as a global food, and is celebrating World Milk Day to increase public awareness about all aspects of the natural milk such as its natural origin, milk nutritional value and various milk products including its economic importance throughout the globe," she said.
Milk is one of the most produced and valuable agricultural commodities worldwide.
Livestock contribute to the livelihoods and nutritional security of millions of farmers (430 million out of 729 million people in rural and marginal areas are livestock farmers).
Dairy animals also increase the financial capital of families, provide a mechanism for savings, and serve as liquid assets, or as credit collateral for securing livelihood goals.
Dairying can also play an important role in the empowerment of women: of the 133 million farms globally, 37 million have female leadership.
In developing countries, dairying has the potential to increase educational attainment for women and to reduce gender inequalities.
IDF will be celebrating all things dairy in the lead-up to World Milk Day with its 'Faces of Dairy' campaign, which celebrates IDF's community of international experts and their contributions to safe and sustainable dairy.
People can follow this campaign online through the #EnjoyDairy.
This story first appeared on Australian Dairyfarmer
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