Agriculture Commissioner James Comer says Kentucky's dairy industry is in a state of crisis, but he has hope for the industry's future.
Monday morning he announced a new Kentucky Proud product: Udderly Kentucky milk. Walmart already sells the locally produced milk, and Comer called the announcement the most important deal in the history of the Kentucky Proud program.
In Kentucky, dairy farms are almost all family owned.
"Pretty proud to be a Kentuckian," said Garrard County dairy farmer Michael Cole.
Now you can buy milk from his farm, and more than 100 others at Walmart. Commissioner Comer bought the first gallon. He estimates sales of Udderly Kentucky will give participating farmers $19,000 a year.
"That is significant. Nothing that I can think of in the last decade has had a greater farm impact than this project on our struggling farm families in Kentucky," said Comer.
At 22, Cole is one of the state's youngest dairy farmers. He says he makes a profit, but he spends at least 12-hours a day on the farm, 365 days a year.
"I do all my work myself. I don't hire nobody. So, but it's still not a tremendous amount though. Everything has to be right," said Cole.
Cole hopes selling Udderly Kentucky in a big store like Walmart gives him some security.
"You're helping support us here, and you know a little more what you're getting too, because you know where it comes from," said Cole.
Comer hopes Udderly Kentucky keeps dairy farms in business for the next generation of farmers like Elise Carpenter from Russell County.
"I like showing the cows, because it's a good opportunity to learn responsibility," said Carpenter, who is on a poster for Udderly Kentucky.
Walmart sells a gallon of Udderly Proud for $3.98. The store sells its own brand for $2.88.