Erin England drinks at least one carton of chocolate milk every day with lunch, so she didn’t need persuading.
But in case her classmates at A.R. Johnson Health, Science and Engineering Magnet School aren’t drinking enough milk, a dairy farmer joined them during lunch Wednesday to change their minds.
“He told us milk gives the body calcium, but I think I’m good on that,” said Erin, 14.
To celebrate World School Milk Day, a dairy farmer and a milk industry representative spoke to students at A.R. Johnson about the importance of drinking milk.
They set up a milk mustache photo booth, had students act out sketches about dairy and spoke to one health class about the benefits of calcium.
According to the Southeast United Dairy Industry Association, which set up the event at the school, more than 40 countries use the last Wednesday in September to teach youths about dairy products.
Emory Young, the owner of Young’s Dairy in Washington County, Ga., said he wanted students to understand how milk is produced and why it is so important to health and the economy.
“We want them to grow up drinking milk and teach their kids to drink milk when they have kids,” Young said.
At A.R. Johnson, Young also talked to students about dairy farmers and the challenges they face in a changing industry.
Although the price of milk has increased this year, Young said costs for cow feed, fertilizer and fuel have nearly doubled.
“It’s just getting more and more complicated to make a profit at it,” Young said. “You can make a living at it, but making a profit is another thing.”
Young joined the dairy industry association at A.R. Johnson during all the school’s lunch periods and spoke to one health class in the afternoon.
Susan Stephens, the school nutrition manager at A.R. Johnson, said the program was a fun way of getting through to students.
She said the school sells about 300 cartons of milk at lunch each day, which shows many students are including milk in their meals.
“Considering they’re high school kids, we’re doing pretty good on milk,” she said.