Caring for our cows

WOW! I cannot believe the overwhelming response I have received from one simple post. I never would have guessed my post would reach over 15,000 people (and counting), receive hundreds of likes, comments and shares. Many of you have been encouraging me to share my experiences of life on my family dairy farm and this post finally gave me the courage to do that.

I hope by sharing, it will give people a better understanding and appreciation for agriculture. Dairy farming is not just a business to me, it is a way of life. Below I have included my original post about the dedication of our dairy farmers caring for their cows during winter storm Goliath.

To all the animal activist,

I wish you understood how much we care about our cows. I wish you knew that my husband, brothers, dads, uncles, family and friends got up this morning at 2am to go to the dairy in a blizzard with 65mph winds, -16°F wind chill, lightning and 6′ snow drifts. They had to leave their families and children (some families had no power) so our cows could have food and water. They went out to take care of our cows the best that they can. And they did this after working a full day on Christmas Eve and Christmas! They do all of this because they care about the health and safety of every animal on our FAMILY farm! I wish you knew.

New Mexico Milkmaid


17 thoughts on “Caring for our cows

  1. My heart goes out to you and all the other dairy families affected by this storm. We have a small farm and keeping our livestock protected from the storm was a huge challenge. I cannot imagine the work involved to do the best you could for your cows, your employees and hour families. I hope your herd and your business are soon back on track. My thoughts are with you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Tara, thank you for the hard work your family and the MANY dairy, cattle and rancher families have to go through this time of year with the snow. People don’t think about a dairy being 24 hours a day with no days off. Please know you are appreciated and of course your family will always be in my prayers and like family to me.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My prayers to all who have lost their homes, cattle, equipment.

    I grew up on a dairy farm, and you could walk up and pet any cow. Without her shying away My dad did not tolerate mishandling of animals.

    In the summertime, the 65-head of cattle were given various pasturage that moved over a hundred or so acres of meadow and field. In the winter, they were kept inside in a rigorously cleaned barn, safe from the storms.

    This method of treating animals – allowing freedom to graze in the summer and protection from the elements in winter was the norm in the farms I visited as a kid.

    When was it decided to not provide cover and protection from winter for the animals?



    1. Thank you for your post. We do not tolerate the mistreatment of animals either. We take many steps to train our employees.

      Here in eastern NM, we typically have a mild climate and house our cows in open lots. This gives them the opportunity to enjoy the sunshine and fresh air throughout the year. One of the draws to dairy farm in NM is the dry, mild climate which cows love. We can get a little snow, but nothing like what we received last week. In the summer time we can have temperatures in 100s. For most of the summer it would be too hot to have them in barns. This was 100 year storm event. It wouldnt make sense to build barns for this once in a lifetime event. Also, we do provide cover and protection for our cows. The cows have shades and wind blocks. There is protection from the conditions. The condition we are usually more concerned about is the sun. We have places in NM that have palm trees that received snow this week! This weather was out the norm.

      Please know that we chose the open lot style of dairying for our cows because it is what is BEST for our cows in our climate the majority of the time. Dairy Carrie has a great post on this topic and goes into more detail. Here is quote from that article and a link to the post: “The worst part is that many of these comments have come from people in agriculture. Instead of supporting their peers, they are taking pot shots at people facing incredibly heartbreaking challenges because they farms differently than they do.”

      Thank you again for your post. I hope you find this information helpful.


    2. Lisa, what area of the country did you grow up in? My husband and I have a dairy farm in Maine where we do have a need for barns and we(like our state) have the infrastructure to handle snow. Even with these things in place we would lose calves and cows. I can’t imagine just trying to thaw the waterers! I would imagine that the state of N.M probably didn’t have adequate plow trucks or sand to make roads safe due to the normal climate so I think that is comparable to the farm’s issues as well.


    3. This style is the “norm” in many temperate climates. I’ve visited farms in Ireland that had outdoor parlors…no walls, just a tin roof in case it was raining…for their parlor…where, arguably the most important equipment of a dairy farm is. I’d equate the situation in NM with what would happen if those Irish farms had to go through the same storm. It was a freak occurrence, like if a tsunami happened in Illinois. Many people (not just farmers) were barely ready to take care of each other, much less animals in those conditions. But they tried, never doubt they gave it their all, because they do indeed care about the welfare of their animals.


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