After two years of blogging, I think it is about time to introduce you all to my favorite dairy farmer and my husband, New Mexico Milkman. When I told the Milkman that I wanted him to write a blog he was a little hesitant and less than thrilled. Actually his first response was no. So to make it easier on him, I had you all ask him questions on my Instagram page. Thank you to everyone who posted and commented! I had such a big response. I narrowed down the questions and comments to twelve questions that covered a wide variety of topics. Some fun and some more serious. I asked him the questions out loud and tried to capture his first reaction as best as I could. Although, I think a video of him answering would have been funnier! Here is what I came up with; take a look at his responses below.
1. What is your favorite thing about being a dairy farmer?
Being able to walk out my door and be at work. And I like having the option to do different jobs on the dairy everyday. There is many different aspects to dairy farming. It’s never boring.
2. What is the hardest thing about being a dairy farmer?
Employees. I am not great at working with people. I like working with cows better.
3. What does cow care entail on your dairy? How is cow care different on large dairies vs small dairies?
For our dairy, cow care means nutritious feed in their bunks, clean water troughs, freshly groomed corrals and soft bedding. On large dairies like ours we have several specialists from vets and nutritionists to herdsmen and feeders and calf managers that help us maintain cow health and comfort.
4. Tell us about the use of antibiotics for treating sick cows on the dairy. How do you feel about the demand for antibiotic free and hormone free from consumers?
I want to start by saying ALL fluid milk on the market is free of antibiotics and added hormones (also known rBST). The most common use of antibiotics is to treat cows with respiratory infections and mastitis. For me, I think it would be really hard to not be able to give antibiotics to a cow in need. Cows get sick just like anyone, and I feel it is my responsibility to treat them. All antibiotics given to a cow are prescribed by our vet. We also have to follow all food and drug regulations when using these medicines. When a cow is prescribed antibiotics she is moved into a separate pen to keep a better eye on her and then all her milk is poured down the drain until the antibiotics have cleared from her system; this is several days after she has finished her prescription.
5. Tell us about the regulations involving milk quality and how you test for milk quality?
Every tank of milk that leaves our dairy is tested for antibiotics and a number of quality standards. If a tanker tests positive for antibiotics, it is dumped down the drain and the dairy farmer loses the money from that milk. You will also receive a red flag on your record. If it continues to happen, you will lose your contract. If the milk does not meet the quality standards, a couple different things can happen depending on the results from the tests. You can get a fine, a red flag on your record or lose your Grade A quality standard. Our Co-op has the highest standards in milk quality in the nation. To achieve these higher standards, we work hard to train our employees and keep our cows healthy.
6. What do you think about nut juices (or “milk” alternatives)?
I’ll give you a nut!… No in all seriousness, nut juices do not offer the same nutritional value as cow’s milk. Cow’s milk has two ingredients, milk and vitamin D. With one glass of milk, you get 8 grams of protein. Where as, nut juices have several ingredients and many additives to try to mimic the taste and look of milk. But nothing has the nutritional benefits and wholesomeness like our milk.
7. What is your favorite dairy product and your favorite dairy recipe that New Mexico Milkmaid makes?
Milk… and cottage cheese. I will drink at least a ½ of gallon of milk a day. Sometimes, I even drink a ½ of gallon of milk in one sitting. I just love milk. My favorite product is just pure, whole milk.
Milkmaid: And whats your favorite thing I make?
Milkman: I don’t know? You tell me… what do you make that I like? Oh steak! That is the other thing I like.
8. What is your craziest day at the dairy?
One word…Goliath. Well I guess that was several days that seemed like one long day.
9. What has changed the most about dairy farming since you were a kid?
Dairy farming as a whole? Technology. Computer systems, scanners. We have so much more information now on each cow. Also the genetics of the cows has improved greatly.
10. What are your favorite things to do not involving the dairy?
Going to the lake and water skiing. Probably my favorite thing to do is to go to the middle of lake and jump in and just swim underwater. I love going out there and stopping where it is so blue and clean, you can see your toes.
11. What is your first dairy memory?
It is probably the same as what most dairy kids would say, playing in the cottonseed…. Ohh I take that back. You know what, it might be my dad building hay forts with 3 wire bails. Playing in the cottonseed and those hay forts with my brothers are my favorite childhood memories.
12. What is one thing you wish people knew about dairy farming?
(Long pause….) I wish people knew that we really do care about our cows because everything we have is because of those girls.
If you have more questions for the New Mexico Milkman, leave me a comment below!
Udderly in love with dairy,
New Mexico Milkmaid