Nebraska State Beverage


Nebraska State Beverage: Milk

Adopted on September 10, 1998.

On Sept. 10, 1998, Gov. Ben Nelson declared milk to be the official state beverage. The dairy industry is an important part of Nebraska's agricultural economy.

Overall, milk and dairy products are an important part of Nebraska's economy. But even more important than the economic value of milk and the dairy industry is the nutritional value of milk and dairy products to our citizens - especially children. According to the Nebraska Dairy Council, milk is important for every age group, whether you are 2 or 82 as it helps in the growth, development and maintenance of bone health.

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

Nebraska State Beverage: Milk

Nebraska State Beverage: Milk

Milk is a white liquid produced by the mammary glands of mammals. It is the primary source of nutrition for young mammals before they are able to digest other types of food. Early-lactation milk contains colostrum, which carries the mother's antibodies to the baby and can reduce the risk of many diseases in the baby. It also contains many other nutrients.

More than 97 million pounds of milk is produced each month in this state. Nebraska's annual milk value alone accounts for more than $168 million in monetary value. That figure does not even include the value of cheese, yogurt or other dairy products produced in our state. It also does not include the value of the jobs and businesses associated with the dairy industry across Nebraska including grocery stores, restaurants and 13 plants that process fluid milk, cheese, butter and ice cream.

  • In the state of Nebraska, there are about 187 licensed dairy herds.
  • Nebraska dairy farms produced approximately 135 million gallons of milk in 2013.
  • Nebraska farms generate more than $232 million in milk sales annually.
  • Nebraska is the 27th largest milk-producing state in the U.S.
  • In Nebraska, the average dairy cow produces about 7 gallons of milk per day. That's more than 2,508 gallons of milk over the course of a typical year. 
  • Nebraska has 8 plants that process one or more dairy products.
  • It takes about 48 hours for milk to travel from the farm to the dairy case.

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.

  • 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.

Nebraska Law

On Sept. 10, 1998, Gov. Ben Nelson declared milk to be the official state beverage.

CHAPTER 90 - Special Acts.
SECTION 90-119

Governor; designate official state items.

The Governor may designate official state items, including animals, plants, minerals, and other things.

Legislative approval of any such designation is not required. Any designation made on or prior to September 13, 1997, is not affected by this section.

Laws 1997, LB 106, § 1.


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