It’s time to celebrate milk — real milk, that is. World Milk Day, an event established by the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) back in 2001 to recognize the importance of milk as a global food, will take place on June 1.

According to the Rosemont, Ill.-based Global Dairy platform, the special day aims to celebrate the dairy sector’s important contributions to “good food, health and nutrition; farmers caring responsibly for their communities, the land and their animals; sustainability practices in the dairy sector; [and] how dairy contributes to economic development and livelihoods.”

The 2019 celebration actually begins early, on May 29, with the Enjoy Dairy Rally, the Global Dairy Platform said. The rally is a global social media campaign promoting the nutrition, community and enjoyment benefits of dairy tied together with the hashtags #WorldMilkDay and #EnjoyDairy.

This year, the Global Dairy Platform said it is counting on community groups, health and nutrition organizations, dairy researchers, dairy industry suppliers, dairy retailers, schools and you — dairy processors — to plan events around the big day, bring attention to activities connected with the dairy sector and elevate milk and all things dairy.

Need ideas for a World Milk Day-themed event? How about donating dairy products to a food bank? Or hosting a physical fitness event fueled by dairy products? Those are just two of the suggestions the Global Dairy Platform shared.

You may register your event(s) at Dairy processors are also are urged to follow the Global Dairy Platform on social media and participate in the World Milk Day campaign (Facebook: @GlobalDairyPlatform; Twitter: @worldmilkday; Instagram: @globaldairyplatform).

Last year, World Milk Day was “an incredible success,” the Global Dairy Platform noted. The event saw 586 events take place in 72 countries over 42 hours. The hashtag #WorldMilkDay reached an astounding 868 million impressions!

According to FAO, events across the globe included milking demonstrations and farm visits; games and competitions; concerts; distribution of milk products; and conferences, seminars and information sharing. All of the events sought to share information about the value of milk and the important role the dairy sector plays in communities, national economies and societies’ cultural aspects.

What’s more, North American dairy processors and organizations played a key part in the success of 2018’s World Milk Day.

The Global Dairy Platform said Kansas City, Kan.-based Dairy Farmers of America and Dairy Management Inc., Rosemont, Ill., coordinated more than 100 events across the United States. More than 135 companies, organizations and partners showcased dairy on social media and put on employee engagement events and more. And Fuel Up to Play 60, an in-school health and wellness program launched by the National Football League (NFL) and the National Dairy Council, partnered with several NFL franchises to host events with young fans.

In Canada, Montreal-headquartered dairy company Saputo and 4H announced the signing of a new program to promote youth in agriculture.

And you can help make this year’s World Milk Day even more successful than last year’s. At a time when plant-based milk alternatives are increasingly crowding the dairy case — and potentially confusing consumers — your participation is more critical than ever. Please make some positive dairy-related noise by hosting an event, scheduling a milk donation and/or joining in on the social media conversation!