Dairy 101 – Importance of Milk on Childhood Development

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

Growing up, my mom was huge on making sure my 3 brothers and I got enough milk. There for a while, it’s no exaggeration to say that we would be going through about 6 gallons a week. So, that meant that my mom was always looking at grocery store ads to see who had milk the cheapest each week. But she viewed this as a good problem to have because getting plenty of milk during childhood is crucial for development.

Cute little girl pouring milk in glass, isolated over white

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the AAP, and the American Heart Association, milk is a critical part of a healthy diet for children, and plant-based milks are not an equal replacement for cow’s milk. Why is this? Pediatric dietician Jill Castle gives many reasons why milk is so vital for development.


  • It’s nutrient-rich, as it’s full of calcium, vitamins A, B12, and D, protein, zinc, and iodine. So, the calories from milk are not just empty calories.
  • The vitamin D and calcium promote bone growth and density, and the protein, zinc, and iodine are great for brain health and development, both of which are taking place during childhood.
  • It’s a quality source of protein and amino acids, which are vital during development as they promote the growth of tissues and muscles.
  • Dairy products are filling due to the protein and fat content. Keeping kids satiated helps to prevent overeating.


Another perk that milk offers is that unless it’s flavored, milk is free of added sugars, doesn’t contain high amounts of natural sugar, and is nutrient-dense, unlike beverages such as fruit juice which contain lots of sugars, both natural or added, and not much for nutrition. Also, aside from its nutritional benefits, dairy products are very economical and versatile, making them a great food to keep in your fridge.

There are lots of dairies here in the state of Arizona that produce a lot of the dairy that we can get at our local grocery stores. Stock up on some and make sure that your kids are getting all of the developmental benefits that milk has to offer!

For more articles about milk, or about health and nutrition in general, check out the Fill Your Plate blog.

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Dairy 101 – Different Kinds of Milk

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

When you walk along the refrigerator cases of milk in your local grocery store, you’ll see that all of the jugs have different colored lids. This signifies what kind of milk it is, such as whole, two percent, or skim. Not only that but there are other kinds of specialty milks too, such as A2 milk or lactose-free milk. Below you’ll find a quick description of each kind of milk and see what sets them apart from each other, according to The Dairy Alliance.


Whole Milk – Considered to be full-fat milk. It contains 3.5% fat by weight, which means that an 8-ounce serving of milk has 149 calories and 8 grams of fat.

2% Milk – Like the name implies, this milk contains 2% fat by weight, resulting in 5 grams of fat and 120 calories in an 8-ounce serving.

1% Milk – Also as the name implies, this milk contains 1% fat by weight, and an 8-ounce serving contains 2.5 grams of fat and 100 calories.

Skim Milk – Also known as nonfat milk, this milk has 0% fat by weight, and as a result, has 0 grams of fat and only 80 calories in an 8-ounce serving.

A2 Milk – Normal milk contains both A1 and A2 beta-casein proteins, but some cows produce milk that only has the A2 beta-casein protein. This A2 milk is sold for those with sensitive digestive systems, as it is easier to digest.

Lactose-Free Milk – Lactose is a naturally occurring sugar in milk that many people can’t digest. So, to eliminate the lactose, manufacturers add lactase, an enzyme that breaks down the lactose in the milk.

Regardless of what kind of milk you choose, they all still contain the same essential nutrients. The main differences are only in fat content and the removal of certain sugars or proteins that some are intolerant to.

Arizona is home to lots of local dairy farms that take pride in producing high-quality dairy products for you to enjoy! Pick some up at your local grocery store today!

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Dairy 101 – Dairy Fun Facts!

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

Did you know that June is National Dairy Month? With that being said, we’re going to be posting a lot about dairy, specifically Arizona dairy throughout this entire month! What better way to kick it off than with a bunch of fun facts from the Arizona Farm Bureau, The Dairy Alliance, and Arizona Milk Producers about the dairy industry!

Holstein dairy cows in a barn at the Triple G Dairy in Buckeye, AZ. PHOTO BY JACK KURTZ

  • Dairy is one of the largest agricultural commodities in Arizona!
  • Arizona is home to around 45 family-owned commercial dairies.
  • Each dairy has anywhere from 850 head of cows to 10,000 head of cows!
  • There are two very common dairy cow breeds in Arizona dairies. Jerseys are the light brown cows, their milk has a higher milk fat content. Holstein cows are the typical black and white cows that we usually picture when we hear “Dairy cow.”
  • Cows are usually about 2 years of age when they first begin to produce milk.
  • Cows can produce approximately 10 gallons of milk per day and are milked for about 305 days out of the year. This equals about 465.6 gallons per month.
  • A good dairy cow produces about 15,000-18,000 gallons in their 5 to 7 year production timeframe.
  • To make all this milk, cows eat about 100 pounds of feed per day!
  • Despite the date printed on the jug, milk is actually good for about 5 days past that date.
  • 97% of all the milk in our grocery stores is produced right here in Arizona.
  • Local milk is transported from dairy to store within 48 hours!
  • A good way to know if your milk is Arizona milk is to look at the code! If it reads “#04” then it came from a local dairy!

The dairy industry is pretty cool, and there’s a lot more that you can learn about it! Keep an eye out for more posts about dairy throughout the month and take a look at some of our past articles!


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Dairy 101 – A Closer Look at Milk’s Nutritional Benefits

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern


Milk is an incredibly popular beverage across the board. Whether it’s enjoyed by the glass, in cereal, in coffee, or used to make all sorts of other dairy products, dairy finds its way into many people’s diets and fridges. Not only is it a delicious and versatile product, but it is also incredibly nutritious and naturally loaded with lots of vitamins and minerals.

Below are listed all of the essential nutrients that milk has to offer, as well as the percent Daily Value of each nutrient (based on an 8-ounce serving).


Calcium – 25% Daily Value: Builds and maintains bones and teeth and also plays a role in nerve and muscle function and blood clotting.

Phosphorous – 20% Daily Value: Strengthens bones and generates energy in cells.

Protein – 16% Daily Value: Builds and repairs muscle tissues and serves as a source of energy.

Vitamin D – 15% Daily Value: Promotes the absorption of calcium and helps with bone mineralization.

Vitamin A – 15% Daily Value: Promotes skin and eye health, regulates cell growth, and strengthens the immune system.

Riboflavin – 30% Daily Value: Also known as vitamin B2, helps to convert food into energy.

Vitamin B12 – 50% Daily Value: Helps to build red blood cells which carry oxygen from lungs to muscles.

Zinc – 10% Daily Value: Maintains a healthy immune system, supports normal growth and development, and promotes skin health.

Pantothenic Acid – 20% Daily Value: Helps the body turn macronutrients such as fat, protein, and carbohydrates into fuel.

Niacin – 15% Daily Value: Is necessary for the function of enzymes in the body and for the metabolism of sugars and fatty acids.

Selenium – 10% Daily Value: Maintains a healthy immune system, regulates metabolism, and protects against cellular damage.

Iodine – 60% Daily Value: Necessary for proper bone and brain development during pregnancy and is linked to cognitive function in early childhood.

Potassium – 10% Daily Value: Regulates the body’s fluid balance, maintains blood pressure, and is necessary for muscle function.

Milk and dairy products have so much to offer in taste, versatility, and most importantly, nutrition. It is recommended that we get three servings of milk each day.

Did you know that we have many dairy farmers who produce lots of milk right here in our home state? So almost all of the milk you get from the store is fresh, local milk!

For more articles about milk, check out the Fill Your Plate blog!


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12 Foods That Protect Your Skin

By Heide Kennedy, Arizona Farm Bureau Communications Intern

It is always important that we take good care of our skin. After all, it is the largest organ in our body! Now that summer is here and the sun is shining brighter, it is all the more important that we make sure that we are protecting our skin.

Often, whenever we think of protecting our skin, we think of slathering on sunscreen, donning a big, floppy hat, or an umbrella to help keep us shaded, or using an extensive skincare routine to keep our skin clean and moisturized. While these are all great ways to ensure the health of our skin, did you know that what you eat can also help to protect your skin too?

Healthy fats, vitamins such as vitamins A, C, and E, and other compounds such as beta carotenes, lutein, isoflavones, and lycopene are all very beneficial to reducing your skin’s sensitivity to the sun, promoting new skin cell growth, and helping skin to maintain its firmness. Certain foods are especially rich in these nutrients including the following:

  • Avocados
  • Fatty fish
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower seeds
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Red or yellow bell peppers
  • Broccoli
  • Tomatoes
  • Soy
  • Dark chocolate
  • Green tea
  • Red grapes

Not only are these foods good for protecting our skin from the inside out, but they also have amazing health benefits in other ways too! So, it’s a win-win! Add some to your next meal and enjoy their skin-protecting benefits during these next few sunny months!

Arizona agriculture produces lots of these skin-healthy foods, so make sure to look for them at your local grocery store or farmer’s market! Check out the Fill Your Plate website for more information!

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