"Dairy Every Day is a Healthy Way -- Keeping Kids' Health on Track," is the theme of the 55th Annual Butter Sculpture at the New York State Fair. This year's butter sculpture, sponsored by Wegmans, highlights the important nutritional role dairy foods play in helping brains, bones and bodies grow.

The butter sculpture depicts a train being conducted by a cow and carrying young passengers fueling up on dairy foods. The train's signage calls out "milk, yogurt and cheese" as vital ingredients in children's diets, all of which are essential to achieve healthy growth, strengthen immune systems and reduce the risk of chronic disease.

According to Keith Ayoob, associate clinical professor emeritus at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York City, who participated in the unveiling, children are falling short of the essential nutrients provided by milk and dairy foods. "Many studies show that kids are not getting enough calcium and Vitamin D, and milk along with dairy foods like yogurt are a top source of these essential nutrients."

"As kids head back to school, it's an ideal time for parents to get their children's health on track by pairing dairy products with other nutrient rich foods to fuel their days for learning in the classroom and playing sports," said John Chrisman, CEO of the American Dairy Association North East. "Dairy farmers are strong supporters of children's health through school nutrition programs and programs that combat food insecurity."

Richard A. BallNew York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner noted, "Unveiling the Butter Sculpture is one of my favorite traditions at The Fair and a wonderful way to honor our dairy farmers who work so hard to feed our families and bring healthy products to our communities every day. I encourage all of our parents and children to get on board with building healthy habits through dairy—it's a great way to ensure our young people are getting the nutritional benefits they need to succeed and to support New York's dairy community."

This year's kid-focused sculpture incorporates colors on the station sign and rail cars. Artists Jim Victor and Marie Pelton of Conshohocken, Pennsylvania constructed the sculpture over an 11-day period using more than 800 pounds of butter from O-AT-KA Milk Products in Western New York.

Photo courtesy of the American Dairy Association North East. Pictured from left to right are American Dairy Association North East Board President Audrey Donahoe, New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball and New York State Dairy Ambassador Arianna Aman.