To eat Butter or not…..

My 9 year old son is diagnosed with autism.  When he was 3 1/2 years old I made the choice to put him on a Gluten free, Soy free, and Dairy free diet.  As an organic dairy farmer, it was a difficult choice to remove butter from my son’s diet. But if it was going to help treat his autism I was willing to try anything.  I was shocked at the improvement in his autism.  We saw immediate results and we were convinced this was the right choice for our family. 

The one problem I had was the no butter part of his diet.  I stood in the imitation butter part of the dairy section and was not impressed with the selections.  I chose one of the brands I had heard advertised quite a bit and figured it would well received by my 4 year old.  Needless to say he was not at all tricked by this “fake” butter.  It was not until I attended a seminar about Butter and its hidden benefits that I was able to reintroduce butter to my son’s diet.  At this seminar I learned the CLA component of butter has amazing benefits for the brain.  Someone with autism definitely needs this.  When I asked if a “Casein” free diet could consume butter I was so happy to hear yes.  Apparently there almost no traceable amounts of casein in butter.  We immediately switched him back to butter.

Now I am not going to say I have noticed any benefit from switching him to butter.  But, the days of imitation butter products are over for this dairy farmer’s wife.  As for me and my family (including my autistic son) we will always enjoy 100% real butter.


The Year of the Family Farm

The headline of the article was “The UN has declared 2014 the year of the Family Farm”.  Kind of exciting to see this kind of publicity or recognition for a farmer.  Our family farm is a 3rd or 4th generation dairy (depends on who is answering the question).  My husband and I operate an organic dairy in partnership with my in-laws.  They started the dairy over 40 years ago in Enumclaw, Washington.  Many things have changed over the years but one thing is constant.  A family farm represents a piece of history.  Fewer and fewer families are farming, but the ones that remain have struggled through some pretty difficult circumstances. (Just ask your local politician why there has not been a renewal of the Farm Bill?)

As we begin 2014, remember to say thank you to those friends you know that run a family farm.  It is not the easiest way to make a living or raise a family.  Holidays, birthdays, and vacations always seem to take a “backseat” to the farm.  In the end it is the farm that keeps many family members connected.  In this era of cell phones, youtube, and instragram it is a nice break to feed a new born calf or chase some heifers that busted through your neighbor’s fence.  Brings you back to what is important – hard work and perseverance.  Qualities we all need to cherish in this crazy overstimulated world we have created.  Image

7 Screws and a Plate

So this dairy farmer has a bit of a break from posting any news blogs.  The reason I titled this blog “7 screws and a plate” is because that is what is holding my right foot together now.  A little less than 2 years ago, I was involved in a farming accident.  My husband and I were on our way to move in a heifer to be bred.  As I was opening a fence, the “gator” rolled forward before I got all the way back on the vehicle.  Unfortunately it rolled over the top of my right foot.  I had thought I had snapped my Achilles Tendon and with a quick surgery and some time in a cast I would be back to normal.  Not the case.  The summer of 2011 was spent in a walking boot.  Apparently lower foot injuries take a LONG time to heal.  I followed the doctor’s instructions and spent a lot of time working around the dairy in a boot.

After I was given the ok to resume normal activity I started slowly back to recovery.  The foot never felt right.  In 2012, the doctor decided to perform a Liz Franc reconstruction procedure.  It should have fixed it.  6 weeks in a cast and 6 weeks in a boot and it should be good.  In the meantime my kids had 2 fairs, a trip to Cougar Youth Weekend, and a business trip to Washington D.C.  We survived but it was a long 12 weeks.  I was given the go ahead to resume normal activity.  It never felt right but the doctor said keep working through it.

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7 screws and a plate out to do it!!

December 2012 – I had had enough. Foot pain all the time and just getting worse.  Next procedure – Foot Fusion.  In a matter of 12 days, I met a great Orthopedic Sports Medicine doctor and he spent almost 2 hours with my husband and I explaining what I needed to get back to normal and scheduled the surgery ASAP.  Why ASAP?  When you are a dairy farmer and have 3 children who are involved in 4-H, Junior Holstein Activities, and School activities, a mom has no time to sit around and wait.  So now it is recovery.  My doctor is very happy with the progress and loves the fact that I am such a compliant patient.  After almost 2 years, I am ready and willing to do anything to get back to normal.  I miss being at the dairy feeding calves, working with our vet, working with the hoof trimmer, just being at the barn.  The clock is ticking and I am on the road to recovery.

Holidays and Cows!!

One thing every dairy farmer has in common is we work every holiday.  Ask any dairy farmer what their typical workweek is and they will usually respond “I work everyday and usually 60-70 hours a week”.  Even when the schools, post office, banks, and Federal and State offices close for another mandatory holiday, the cows need to be milked and fed.  But just because dairy farmers put in long hours taking care of their cows and farms, they can still have some fun.  Check out this picture of a cute Brown Swiss calf.

Brown Swiss Reindeer

Brown Swiss Reindeer

Originating in the Swiss Alps, Brown Swiss adapt well to high altitudes and hot or cold climates, while producing large volumes of milk, ideal for cheese-making. Their unique ability to yield high components with an ideal fat-to-protein ratio sets them apart from other dairy breeds. Correct feet and legs, well-attached udders and dairy strength contribute to their exceptional productive life, allowing them to thrive in any modern dairy set-up. Style, balance and fancy frames also make Brown Swiss easy winners at county, state, national and international shows.

Christmas with a Holstein

Christmas with a Holstein

Holstein dairy cattle dominate this country’s milk production industry. The reason for their popularity is clear: unexcelled production, greater income over feed costs, unequaled genetic merit, and adaptability to a wide range of environmental conditions. Added up, this means more profit for the dairy producer who milks Holsteins. This point becomes even clearer when you consider that nine of every 10 dairy producers currently milk Holsteins.

As you can see, dairy farmers can have fun during the holidays creating a little Christmas Magic with one of our baby calves.  One must admit they are pretty adorable!!

#foodD #agchat #dairy


Dairy – It’s a Small, Small World

This past week, dairy farmers from the state of Washington had the opportunity to gather for a few days at the amazing Suncadia Resort in Cle Elum, Washington.  The main goal of this meeting is to gather representatives from the Washington State Dairy Federation, Washington State Dairy Women, and the Washington State Dairy Products Commission and present information to attendees about issues facing the dairy industry in the Pacific Northwest.  Topics included Lagoons – All you ever want to know about a lagoon, Animal Identification – Where are we now, Global Markets – What is happening with dairy products in the global market, and many other topics relevant to dairy production.

Every year, this meeting presents a great opportunity to visit with old friends, learn about new and innovative products for our farms from various exhibitors, and enjoy a little break from the farm.  Suncadia Resort was an amazing host for the 2012 meeting.  From the beautiful lodge, comfortable rooms, attentive staff, and delicious meals, I recommend any organization looking for a great location for a meeting in the state of Washington please consider Suncadia Resort.

Suncadia Resort
Cle Elum, Washington

As I look back on my time at the annual meeting, I am so grateful I was able to rekindle friendships, catch up on legislative issues facing the dairy industry, and watch the 2012 Washington State Dairy Ambassador give her school presentation.  While my name was not drawn for any of the amazing door prizes and unfortunately I was outbid during the Washington State Dairy Women’s Scholarship auction, there is always next year.  Next year the meeting will be at The Great Wolf Lodge in Grand Mound, Washington.

NMPF and What it means to Dairy Farmers

The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF), established in 1916 and based in Arlington, VA, develops and carries out policies that advance the well-being of dairy producers and the cooperatives they own. The members of NMPF’s 30 cooperatives produce the majority of the U.S. milk supply, making NMPF the voice of more than 32,000 dairy producers on Capitol Hill and with government agencies.

NMPF provides a forum through which dairy farmers and their cooperatives formulate policy on national issues that affect milk production and marketing. NMPF’s contribution to this policy is aimed at improving the economic interests of dairy farmers, thus assuring the nation’s consumers an adequate supply of pure, wholesome, and nutritious milk and dairy products.

The policies of NMPF are determined by its members from across the nation. Therefore, the policy positions expressed by NMPF are the only nationwide expression of dairy farmers and their cooperatives on national public policy.

2012 YC Council in Orlando

National Milk Producers Federation members and staff organized the National Young Cooperator (YC) Program in 1950. The purpose of the YC program was, and still is, to educate and build leadership ability in young dairy farmers. In order to develop this leadership, YCs must first gain a better understanding of the needs and problems facing milk marketing cooperatives. The result is educated, articulate young people who will provide the future direction for the dairy industry.

NMPF member cooperatives are responsible for selecting the YCs who will serve as their representatives on the YC Advisory Council. Each cooperative has its own way of choosing YCs for the council, just like they do for YCs who participate in the national YC program. Members of the council provide the leadership behind NMPF’s YC program. At the national level, they have three principle duties:

  1. Attend a planning meeting the summer after the council’s election to provide views on YC programming material for the upcoming NMPF Annual Meeting.
  2. Develop and oversee the YC program at the next NMPF Annual Meeting. This includes conducting registration, chairing sessions, introducing speakers, and other duties as required.
  3. Execute assignments as requested by the NMPF YC program coordinator

    Our conclusion as the 2012 YC Chaircouple

    We enjoyed all the opportunities that were offered to us as National YC Chaircouple. We have met some incredible people who work on behalf of dairy farmers every day.  From the Farm Bill, USFRA, or drought relief, there is someone at NMPF who is working very hard to find the best resolution for the dairy farmer.  Thank you NMPF for this amazing opportunity, we enjoyed every moment!!