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Why I Love Dairy Cows

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“Let’s go cow tipping” or “Chocolate Milk comes from Brown Cows” or “Strawberry Milk comes from Red Cows”.  We have all heard these funny ideas people have about dairy cows.  I am sure you have seen a t-shirt highlighting one of these “myths” or “urban legends” about cows.  As of today, I have been married to my dairy farmer husband for over 16 years.  In all of those years, I have never witnessed a “cow tipping” event.  What I have seen is the love and dedication dairy farmers have for their animals.  From the newborn calf struggling to take its first breath, an older cow having a tough time getting up from her stall, or a new cow in the milking parlor that refuses to go in and get milked for the first time (FYI – the first time is always the toughest) most dairy farmers have a level of compassion that is unbelievable.  I wish more people could see this and understand this is the norm and not the exception.  With that said, my children’s 4-H animals are like members of our family.  We are lucky that we can keep them in a barn where we can interact, play, pet, and talk with them every day.  If you ever have a chance to watch a 4-H dairy show at your local fair, please take the time to watch.  You will be amazed at the amount of love and dedication these kids have for their animals.  Remember, you may not ever be able to “tip” a cow, but you never know when you could ride one like a horse 🙂

2014-07-02 09.31.18Brownie – My daughter’s show heifer who was quietly enjoying a day in the sun.

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The Year of the Family Farm

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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

Washington Dairy Wife – Mom carries on; remains-farm-leader

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Washington Dairy Wife – Mom carries on; remains-farm-leader

This is an article about our farm and my role as a dairy farmer’s wife.

Holidays and Cows!!

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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

 

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