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!
As the holiday season comes to an end, I find myself looking back over the last few weeks and thinking, “What a whirlwind!”. Balancing work and family time with life and traveling around the holidays. One thing I have learned over the years is life on a dairy makes the holidays a little different than most people’s. There is no paid time off or paid holidays for dairy producers. Work continues as usual on the dairy, making things a little non-traditional. For starters, I have never wished for a white Christmas. While the farmer in me is always glad when we get some moisture here in New Mexico, the dairy side of me knows that it just means extra work for everyone. As a kid, all my friends would dream of snow on Christmas. All I could think was, snow means no presents until Christmas afternoon because my dad would have to work a little longer. As is, we waited to open presents until after all the morning chores were done. And you just had to hope everything went smoothly.
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!