A couple of times last weekend, I was tagged in a drone video produced by an animal rights activist group. After watching the video, I felt the need to share some of my thoughts.
Does chocolate milk really come from brown cows? I know what you are thinking…what a stupid question! Except its not. OK well maybe it kind of is, but it is still one worth answering. Why? Because 7% of Americans think that chocolate milk comes from brown cows and many more aren’t sure where it comes from. Let me repeat that…MORE 16 MILLION AMERICANS THINK CHOCOLATE MILK COMES FROM BROWN COWS!! You might have seen the Washington Post article about this shocking data. I, personally, could not believe it. It made me realize not only how out of touch consumers are with their food, but how out of touch I am with the consumers. So let me be clear, NO chocolate milk does not come from brown cows. All milk from all cows is whole white milk. Chocolate is a flavor that is added during bottling. You might be quick to think “This is crazy” or “People are idiots” and write it off. But for me, this confirms that people have no idea where their food comes from. Smart people. Educated people. They have no idea. We, as farmers, have to help teach people and explain what we do. And we need to do a better job of it because it looks like at least 7% of our class is failing. This also brings up a point I want to make to the consumers, if you don’t know, ask! And don’t look at the first thing that pops up on a Google search. Ask a real farmer! If I don’t know the answer, I promise you, I will find someone who does!
This blog is being posting a little later than I expected. I was hoping to have it up before our new baby girl arrived. BUT since she made her arrival two weeks early that didn’t happen. And there hasn’t been much time for anything else since. So I apologize that I am a little behind on blogging! Anyways…
Things are never boring when you are married to a dairy farmer, but they can be EXTRA interesting when you are pregnant. There are probably a few things you might have heard your husband say to you when you are pregnant that other women would not normally hear. And it is not just your husband, all the dairy farmers in your life might have some funny things to say to you. Being that dairy farmers deliver baby calves every day, they begin to think they are some what of experts in all areas of pregnancy, labor and delivery across all species… BAHAHAHA… Below is a list of my favorite things my husband has said to me or about me while pregnant. Did I miss some of your funniest moments? Leave a comment below with some of your favorite farmer lingo for expecting mothers.
I can’t believe it has been almost a year since I started blogging to advocate for agriculture. With that milestone approaching, I have been reflecting back on this last year. I have learned so much and talked with so many amazing people all over the US and the world.
I ultimately decided to start blogging because I love telling people about dairy, and, I like to think, consumers love learning about where their food comes from. Dairy farming is our passion. And it is important to educate our consumers about what it is we do exactly and how we care for our cows and our land. It is probably one of THE most important thing that we can do right now. This new generation is even more removed from agriculture than the previous ones. And they get most (if not all) of their news from sources like their Facebook newsfeed. Our jobs and our livelihoods depend on us connecting with our consumers. Consumers constantly see negative things about farming online. If we don’t show them the truth, then they will stop buying our products. And the highest milk price in the world isn’t going to keep us all in business if no one is buying milk. If you think I am overreacting just take a look at the decrease in fluid milk sales over the last 50 years and the increase in alternative milk products.
So what has surprised me the most since I started blogging? The criticism I receive from my fellow dairy producers and farmers!
When you hear the words large dairy farm, what is the first thing you think of? Factory farm? Corporate farms? How about family farm?! No? I didn’t think so. There are so many misconceptions about these dairy farms. Unfortunately, much of what you will read online or videos you watch won’t tell you any of the facts. I am here to tell you, I am apart of a large FAMILY farm and hopefully, after reading this you will have a better understanding of what these farms are really like. Here in New Mexico we are known for our big herd size and dairy farms. New Mexico has the largest average herd size at over 2,000 cows per dairy. Lots of open spaces and the climate are the main factors behind this. But it might surprise you to hear that 95% of all dairies in the United States are family owned and operated. And it is no different here in New Mexico where 96% of our dairies are family owned.
Happy National Ice Cream Month!! I look forward to this month all year! No seriously, I do. It is a great excuse to eat ice cream everyday (not that you need an excuse!). And with a blog, I absolutely have to eat ice cream everyday so I can post about it. I really love ice cream. At one point in high school, I thought I was addicted to it. I would have it every night, every SINGLE night. And if I didn’t, I would be pretty upset. I get my love of ice cream from my Dad. He REALLY REALLY loves ice cream. Just this weekend, I tried to describe his love of ice cream to someone. Their response, “You could write a whole blog post about that!”. While this blog post is not all about his love of ice cream, I do think his nightly ice cream concoction (as we call it) is worth mentioning. The best one I have seen is as follows. He starts with a drumstick. Yes, I know that is a whole dessert for a normal person. My Dad is not a normal ice cream eater. He is expert level. So from there, he adds his favorite ice cream of the moment. He continues with adding different varieties of cereal. And of course he has to add milk because who eats cereal without milk?! If his favorite daughter has made cookies, he will add one of those (whoever makes cookies is his favorite daughter). And finally, if my Mom can convince him, he will add some mixed berries because that is healthy. And he tops it off with whipped cream. UNREAL! So this blog post is for you, Dad, one of the many amazing dairymen in my life!
Growing up in our dairy community in Eastern New Mexico, it felt like everyone I knew was Dutch and dairy farmers. So all of my family’s weird quirks seemed normal. It was not until I was older did I realize not everyone did all these things. I have included just a few fun facts. Some are more dairy, some are more Dutch.
The first time I heard that, “Farmers, the original environmentalists”, it really stuck with me. Because isn’t that the truth?! Who would care more about the environment than people whose livelihoods depend solely on the land they live on? Yet, it always seems to surprise people (from both sides of the table) when I tell them I am an environmental dairy scientist. It is not a conventional role or job on a dairy. And it leads me to do a lot of explaining even to my husband and family. So what do I do exactly?
I cannot believe it is March! Even with that extra day, where did February go? I am a little behind on my blogging. I know one of the most important rules of blogging is writing your “About me”. But I published my first blog post about an hour after deciding to start a blog and having been playing catch up ever since. With winter storm Goliath, I didn’t get a chance to get all my “ducks in a row” before launching. So with this post I want to tell you a little bit about what I am involved in.
Over the last 5 years, I have had the opportunity to be a volunteer and now President of an organization called United Dairy Women. Over ten years ago, a group of dairy women realized there was a need in our community. We have two children’s homes in our area, NM Christian Children’s Home and Baptist Children’s Home. After talking with the homes, these women found out that the homes could not afford to purchase dairy products for their children. This came as some what of a shock since this is an area where there is an abundance of milk. These women made it their “Milk Mission” to raise enough money so every child could have 3 servings a day of dairy. Eleven years later and we have raised over $1 Million. United Dairy Women is an all volunteer, non-profit organization.
In the last week, we have heard a lot about the tragedies and losses from winter storm Goliath. They have been numerous and unspeakable. But today, I want to share with you some of the inspiring stories about how the community of dairy women came together to support their farm families throughout the blizzard. There have been many articles about the cows losses and the hard work of the dairymen, and they are true heroes. But many times the work of the dairy women or dairy wife goes unnoticed, and they do their work without a thank you. This is my THANK YOU to all of you.