Milk was designated the official state beverage of North Carolina in 1987. Seventeen other states (including bordering states of South Carolina and Virginia) recognize milk as a state symbol. North Carolina dairy farmers produce some 135 million gallons of milk per year and North Carolinians consume over 143 million gallons of milk every year.
Milk has been called a nearly perfect food - a source of protein, calcium, and several other important nutrients. Less than half of milk produced is consumed as a beverage (excess is used for butter, cheese, ice cream, milk powder and other processed products).