Likely you’ve seen a sign, bumper sticker or social media post with sentiments similar to this. When 98 percent of the U.S. population eats the food that less than 2 percent of the population produces, it’s a no-brainer that all our gratitude should go to these farmers and ranchers who work tirelessly to grow, harvest and produce the wholesome and nutritious foods we enjoy every meal of every day.

And dairy farm families have no shortage of things to be proud of. Dairy foods are more than great taste and good nutrition. We can feel good about milk, cheese and yogurt – how it was produced, it’s freshness and simplicity, and the story that connects your glass of milk with the local dairy farm families who produced it.

October 12th is National Farmer’s Day – and as a dietitian who has had the privilege of visiting countless dairy farms in addition to a handful of other farms and ranches, and chat with these wonderful farm families, I am so very thankful for each and every one of them. I am always so thoroughly impressed with how hard they work to take care of their animals, nourish the soil, nurture the environment and give back to their local communities.

The next time you eat a meal, join me in thanking all our local dairy farm families – after all, we wouldn’t get to enjoy an ice-cold glass of milk, a delicious grilled cheese sandwich or a satisfying bowl of our favorite ice cream without them. And give a big hug to any farmer or rancher you know. The life of a farmer is not always easy, but they get up every day and do their jobs with passion, pride and a whole lot of love for their animals and the land.

From Jenna Allen, MS, RDN, Registered Dietitian and Director of Health & Wellness, Nutrition & Marketing Programs for Western Dairy Association. For more tips and healthy recipes visit For questions, send Jenna a message on Twitter @RDJenna.

Categories: Farm to Table, New Ways to Enjoy Dairy