During June Dairy Month, I’ve been thinking about some of my favorite dairy foods. To be fair, I think a lot about food in general, but ice cream usually tops the list, especially if there’s huge globs of cookie dough in it.

Although it may be silly, to me ice cream provides not only a satisfying taste but also an emotional connection. Wait, did I just say that out loud? An emotional connection to ice cream?

When I was little, a job well done was often rewarded with ice cream. After a dance recital or a good report card came out from school, a multi-colored, messy face soon followed, as my parents took me out for ‘congratulatory’ bubblegum ice cream. Likewise, my not-so-good days were often accompanied by two (or three) scoops of moose tracks while friends lent a sympathetic ear. As someone who has an irrational fear of needles, I also insist on having my husband take me to go get ice cream anytime I must endure a shot or get blood drawn. In the very least, it gives me something to look forward to.

Ice cream can also be the focus of social events. Church gatherings, birthday parties, back-to-school open houses often involve sundaes with toppings galore, or in the case of a girls’ night in, a personal pint of your favorite flavor. Sporting events and summer activities are also popular locations for this cold, creamy favorite. Walking up to the local corner dairy parlor on a hot day or enjoying a heaping Clone Cone at an Iowa State Basketball game can be memories made.

It’s crazy to me that animals like dairy cows provide us with so many options for a delicious dessert and contribute to our state’s economy. An Iowa State University study found an economic impact of $23,445 per cow through the buying of products here in the states and from those abroad. More than 22,000 jobs in Iowa are also supported by the dairy industry. Iowa being fourth in the nation for ice cream production is just the cherry on top of my appreciation!

Whether you’re team chocolate or team vanilla, I hope during June you find a way to indulge in an ice cream date with someone you care about. I’m thinking I might take my six-year old niece out for her favorite—mint chip and share in some quality time over a quality treat, while we talk about our love of animals that go, “moo.”

By Caitlyn Lamm. Caitlyn is Iowa Farm Bureau's public relations specialist.