Fluid milk consumption is down, but when people buy butter, yogurt and cheese, it helps support dairy-based businesses.
Kuehnert Dairy is one of those businesses. The family-owned operation has been milking cows in Fort Wayne for more than 120 years and sells to Prairie Farms, which pasteurizes and processes the product.
“People are not drinking enough milk or eating enough dairy,” said Sarah Kuehnert, co-owner of Kuehnert Dairy.
Along with her farm expertise, Kuehnert happens to be a registered dietitian.
It's important, she said, for “people to know the importance of dairy in a balanced diet, especially for younger children.”
Kuehnert Dairy helps promote the business and industry in various ways, including opening the farm to the public for several weekends every fall with a festival.
“That's one way we can share our story and bring people out,” Sarah Kuehnert said.
In May, Andrew Kuehnert, a son of one of the dairy farm founders, presented the ceremonial glass of milk to the Indianapolis 500 winner. It was part of a two-year “milk man” gig through the American Dairy Association of Indiana.
“It's so cool to walk around the track with thousands of people around and they see the cooler and the milk and everyone wants to take a picture with the milk; it's an iconic thing,” Kuehnert said in an interview before the annual race.
Sarah Kuehnert said her family is also active with the National Dairy Council's promotion initiatives.
“We are huge advocates for the dairy industry,” she said.
The Prairie Farms cooperative has more than 800 farm families and more than $3 billion in annual sales, according to a late May news release that announced an expanded lineup.
Prairie Farms said it was adding single-serve 14-ounce flavored milk to the marketplace in bottles designed for longer shelf life.
Many of the new flavors, including chocolate peanut butter and salted caramel, feature whole milk to meet consumer demand, the release said.
“Flavored milk uses only premium ingredients and no artificial growth hormones, colors, or high-fructose corn syrup,” Prairie Farms said. “Milk is naturally packed with protein, calcium and vitamin D – essential for maintaining strong bodies.”