Arkansas State Beverage


Arkansas State Beverage: Milk

Adopted in 1985.

In 1985, the Arkansas General Assembly designated milk the state's official beverage. Introduced by Representative Bobby Glover of the Seventy-second District (covering Prairie County and part of Lonoke County), Act 998 met with no opposition and became effective on June 28 of that year. Reasons offered for the designation included milk's healthfulness, the desirability of encouraging milk consumption, and the importance of the dairy sector in Arkansas. The legislation did not specify a type or grade of milk, leaving it up to Arkansans to consume the variety of their choice.

Did you know that: Milk has been proclaimed the official state beverage or drink in each of the following states:

State Symbol: Milk

Arkansas | Delaware | Louisiana | Minnesota | Mississippi | Nebraska
New York | North Carolina | North Dakota | Oregon | Oklahoma | Pennsylvania | South Carolina | South Dakota | Tennessee | Vermont | Virginia | Wisconsin

Arkansas State Beverage: Milk

Arkansas State Beverage: Milk

Where milk comes from and how it's made.
Ever wonder where delicious milk comes from? It all starts with healthy, well-fed cows that live on farms all around America the beautiful.

Dairy production was long a mainstay of Arkansas farming. In 1940, Arkansas's milk cows numbered about 439,000, the gross farm income from dairy totaling $23 million. Over the next two decades, the size of dairy herds dwindled while milk production per cow crept upward. The amount of milk used on the farms where it was produced- consumed as beverage, sold direct, or made into butter or cheese by the farmers- dropped, as did retail sales by farmers, while gross farm income from dairy fluctuated. The number reached nearly $61 million in 1948, then fell to $48 million by 1959.

Figures from the Census of Agriculture for the mid-1980s, roughly contemporary with Representative Glover's 1985 initiative, suggest a continuation of trends from mid-century. In 1987, Arkansas dairy herds numbered about 71,000 head (down from a high of 482,000 milk cows in 1943). The census enumerated 957 dairy farms, including thirty-three in Lonoke County and ten in Prairie County, Glover's political bases. The market value of dairy products sold that year was about $91 million.

In 2002, dairy herds totaled 32,000 head, down from 39,000 in 2000. The value of sales of Arkansas milk and other dairy products in 2002 was $54.05 million. Dairy's share of the market value of Arkansas agricultural products sold was just over 1.9 percent. By 2009, Arkansas had 420 herds with over 40,000 head of dairy cattle.

  • In the state of Arkansas, there are about 78 licensed dairy herds.
  • Arkansas dairy farms produced approximately 12 million gallons of milk in 2013.
  • Arkansas farms generate approximately $24 million in milk sales annually.
  • Arkansas is the 46th largest milk-producing state in the U.S.
  • In Arkansas, the average dairy cow produces about 3.7 gallons of milk per day. That's more than 1,356 gallons of milk over the course of a typical year.
  • Arkansas has 3 plants that process one or more dairy products.
  • It takes about 48 hours for milk to travel from the farm to the dairy case.

Pertinent Facts

  • All cows are females (males are called bulls).
  • A cow makes milk after she has a calf. The mother cow makes a very special milk for her calf; it is called colostrum. Colostrum has extra vitamins and protein and is very good for the calf.
  • Cows drink 30 to 40 gallons of water each day.
  • Cows provide 90% of the world's milk supply.
  • A cow's udder can hold 25-50 pounds of milk at a time - no wonder she's so eager to be milked - and a cow gives nearly 200,000 glasses of milk in her lifetime.

Can You Say, "I'm Full?"
Cows are BIG eaters. Did you know that cows have four stomachs and eat 90 pounds of food a day? That's probably more than you weigh! A cow that chows on only grass can make 50 glasses of milk a day. But one that eats grass, corn and hay can make 100 glasses of milk a day!

Milk has a long and rich history. For example, did you know?

  1. Sanskrit records mentioned milk 6,000 years ago.
  2. The Bible describes the Promised Land as Aa land flowing with milk and honey."
  3. The Greek physician Hippocrates recommended milk as a medicine some 2,300 years ago.
  4. Christopher Columbus brought cattle to the New World on his second voyage.
  5. It has been said that one reason for the high death rate among those who traveled to the New World on the Mayflower was that they had no fresh milk to drink.
  6. Cows were brought from Europe to the Jamestown colony in 1611 and to the Plymouth colony in 1624.
  7. Cheese was an important item in the diet of the Vikings, who from about the 8th to the 10th century sailed the seas on long voyages.
  8. Cheese was an article of commerce in ancient Rome. Monks developed the art of cheese making in Europe in the Middle Ages.

Arkansas Law

The law designating milk as the official Arkansas state beverage is found in the Arkansas Code, Title 1, Chapter 4, Section 1-4-112

Title 1 - General Provisions
Chapter 4 - State Symbols, Motto, Etc.
§ 1-4-112 - State beverage.

Universal Citation: AR Code § 1-4-112 (2012)

Milk is designated as the state beverage of Arkansas.


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