I was raised on what may have been the world's smallest dairy operation. OK, 'dairy operation' may be a bit of a stretch. You see, Dad milked about 8 cows...that is until the old barn burned down. That, you see, was in the 'old days'.

June is Dairy Month and so I checked out my friends at SDCORN to see how dairy farming, how cow-milking, has changed since those days of tugging on teets.

Wow! They say our state's strong dairy production and processing industries add about $2.4 billion to South Dakota's economy! In fact, for each of those lady's like the one pictured above, there's a $26,294 economic impact.

And that's despite the fact that total cow milking numbers are down. Twenty or thirty years ago South Dakota had as many as a quarter million dairy cows. Today? About 118,000.

In addition to those numbers above, turns out the state's dairy industry creates 6,230 jobs. But, of course, there's a big ripple effect as well. The dairy folks need corn, hay, dried distillers grains, a wide variety of equipment...well, you get the idea.

So the next time you reach into the fridge for an ice cold glass of delicious moo-juice, remember the impact the dairy industry has on South Dakota. And to all of you that work in the dairy industry, thank you...and be safe!

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