The Van Trump Report

Interesting US Dairy Stats… and July is National Ice Cream Month

National Ice Cream Month was established by the American Dairy Association in conjunction with President Ronald Reagan and Walter Dee Huddleston, a Senator from Kentucky. Even though the bill only specified that July 1984 was National Ice Cream Month, the tradition carries on. National Ice Cream Day (which is on July 21) originated that same year. The proclamation (No. 5219) signed into law by President Reagan declared ice cream “a nutritious and wholesome food, enjoyed by over +90% the people in the United States. It enjoys a reputation as the perfect dessert and snack food.”

For those wanting to celebrate National Ice Cream Month and Day, the guidelines are simple and delicious: eat as much ice cream as possible and try some new flavors! For the hardcore traditionalists out there, Vanilla Ice Cream Day is on July 23rd and tips its hat at the classic favorite, which is also the most popular flavor in America. In fact, vanilla has long been the most popular ice cream flavor across the globe. According to numerous consumer surveys and sales data from ice cream producers, vanilla consistently outsells other flavors. Chocolate is consistently a very close second, although some consumer surveys will occasionally show chocolate coming out on top.

We wouldn’t have ice cream, however, if it weren’t for America’s dairy farmers. According to the latest Census of Agriculture,  the US has lost about -40% of its dairy farms since the previous Census in 2017. Notably, there were fewer dairy farms of all sizes in 2022 compared to 2017 except for those milking 2,500 cows or more. That category witnessed a +17% increase.

Although the majority of US dairy farms remain family-owned, according to Lucas Fuess with RaboResearch, “Sixty-eight percent of the milk is produced on dairy farms with 1000 or more cows, which are only 8% of the total farms.” Fuess notes that dairy farms with +2,000 cows can operate about -$10 less per hundredweight than smaller operations with 100-199 cows. Fuess says small farms, with between 50-99 cows, made up the largest portion of dairy farms

“Even if they are very large, it doesn’t mean that the family is necessarily removed,” Fuess explains. “Instead, it just means that they have a significant employee base or are providing jobs and making a pretty significant impact on their local, and sometimes very rural, communities.”

As we celebrate the joys of ice cream this month, let’s not forget also to thank America’s dairy farmers! (Sources: ADA, USDA, Rabobank, FarmDocDaily)

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