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.
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!
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.
Cow loss. Calf loss. Milk loss. Lower production. Higher cull rate. Emotional toll…
Unfortunately, these were the topics of conversation yesterday, when we hosted New Mexico’s Governor Susana Martinez and her team at our dairy farm. Many local dairy farmers came out to discuss the repercussions of winter storm Goliath and how the State can help. Here we are 18 days after the blizzard getting use to our “new” normal. We all knew it was going to be hard, but it doesn’t make it any easier. We may be a little bigger than the average dairy, but this is our family farm. We have worked hard to raise our herd, only to have Mother Nature wreak havoc. Everyday I hear the same stories from heart broken producers and yesterday was no different. One producer’s story hit too close to home for most people in the meeting. He described the emotions he was feeling stepping foot on his dairy Monday morning after the storm. That morning one of his employees came up to him with tears in hers eyes and said “I am sorry for your loss”. And with that they hugged and cried. All his hard work, gone in one day. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.
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.
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.