Archives for category: Dairy

Howdy! It’s been quite a while since I’ve been active blogging. Long story short, we’ve changed hosting sites a few times and unfortunately we are starting pretty much from scratch because I’m unable to access many of my old blog posts. 😦

However, I am so excited to be back! Since you’ve last heard from me, I have graduated Texas A&M University, and am working full time in the veterinary medicine industry. I look forward to discussing current agricultural topics with you, again!

Over the course of the next few weeks, be on the lookout for NEW blog posts! Also, Plows and Cows is working on developing a video series!

For questions, comments, and concerns please contact plowsandcows@gmail.com. I am always happy to discuss agriculture with you and answer any questions you may have.

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…for the dairy industry?

I grew up in an agricultural community. My family owns a show goat operation, and I was raised on our family farm learning the ins and outs of basically all walks of agriculture–EXCEPT dairy. But surely I learned about dairy in my AG classes in school right? How about in 4H? FFA? Nope. Not even then.

It seems that in a great number of places in the United States, the dairy industry is being forgotten. Why isn’t the youth of this nation being taught about the dairy industry? This is a problem, folks. I was blessed to grow up learning as much about agriculture as I did. There are TONS of people who have no idea where their food comes from. I have overheard a mother tell her daughter that “milk comes from the milk store”… Hello??

Every year, there are less and less dairy classes being offered in universities as well. At Texas A&M there is now only one dairy class offered, and it’s online. Our school dairy was shut down in 2003, and since then, there seems to be no interest about the industry in our university. Our dairy club has a total of 10 members, and involvement is dwindling.

Bottom line? Where is the love? We need to be teaching about dairy. In some places in the US, dairy education is still going strong and I salute those who teach it in their curriculum. However, there are many places where it isn’t being taught at all, and that’s a problem. Let’s fix this problem as an industry before dairy is completely forgotten.

This is just a shoutout to my friends at Progressive Dairyman Magazine and http://proudtodairy.ning.com/. Thank you so much for featuring me in your “Dairy Blogs We Love” section! I feel so blessed to be recognized.

When I hear the term “factory farming” I cringe, and when I hear it referring the dairy industry I become irate. The public is being brainwashed to believe that large dairies (1000+ cows) are bad. They’re made to believe that they are corporately owned and operated, that the employees and managers care nothing about the livestock, and that they are pushed around, shoved around, and routinely mistreated and sickly. The fact that most Americans think of dairy farming this way makes me feel like we are failing as an industry. The typical person today is 5 or 6 generations apart from the farm. Most have no real idea about agriculture, and it’s fallen upon the industry to educate people. That’s MY mission. Educate those who only know/believe what the radical activist groups slam through the media.

According to Farm Sanctuary:

Since 1991, the number of total U.S. dairies has dropped 55%, while the number of dairies with a herd of 100 or more cows has increased 94%. Every year, more dairy cattle in the U.S. are raised on large corporate operations, or “mega-dairies,” that employ factory-farming techniques.

It’s true. The number of small dairies HAS declined drastically since 1991, and smaller herds are becoming more scarce. However, most dairies aren’t “corporate operations”. Contrary to popular belief, most dairies today are still family owned and operated. Yep. I said it. They are family businesses. It’s still mom and dad and the kiddos that go out there every day and bust their you-know-whats to make a living… plus some extra hired hands because lets face it–there’s a lot of work to be done on a dairy!

And in response to the “factory-farming techniques” bit–it BAFFLES me that people think that animal agriculturalists mistreat their animals. Completely confuses me. A smart person would realize that these animals are the LIVELIHOOD of the industry. Without them, we’re literally nothing. How on Earth would it benefit us to mistreat them in any way?? The happier the cows, the better we do. End of question.

On the dairy, cows are babied. They are given everything they could ever want and more. They’re fed multiple times a day, they are given a soft place to rest, shade, and wind breaks. At any given time, you can walk out to a pen of cows and 75% of them are laying down, chewing their cud (a sign that they are truly relaxed and happy), 20% are eating at the bunks, and 5% are drinking from the troughs. Folks, these are happy cows.

These videos really sum it all up:


When I hear the term “factory farming” I cringe, and when I hear it referring the dairy industry I become irate. The public is being brainwashed to believe that large dairies (1000+ cows) are bad. They’re made to believe that they are corporately owned and operated, that the employees and managers care nothing about the livestock, and that they are pushed around, shoved around, and routinely mistreated and sickly. The fact that most Americans think of dairy farming this way makes me feel like we are failing as an industry. The typical person today is 5 or 6 generations apart from the farm. Most have no real idea about agriculture, and it’s fallen upon the industry to educate people. That’s MY mission. Educate those who only know/believe what the radical activist groups slam through the media.

According to Farm Sanctuary:

Since 1991, the number of total U.S. dairies has dropped 55%, while the number of dairies with a herd of 100 or more cows has increased 94%. Every year, more dairy cattle in the U.S. are raised on large corporate operations, or “mega-dairies,” that employ factory-farming techniques.

It’s true. The number of small dairies HAS declined drastically since 1991, and smaller herds are becoming more scarce. However, most dairies aren’t “corporate operations”. Contrary to popular belief, most dairies today are still family owned and operated. Yep. I said it. They are family businesses. It’s still mom and dad and the kiddos that go out there every day and bust their you-know-whats to make a living… plus some extra hired hands because lets face it–there’s a lot of work to be done on a dairy!

And in response to the “factory-farming techniques” bit–it BAFFLES me that people think that animal agriculturalists mistreat their animals. Completely confuses me. A smart person would realize that these animals are the LIVELIHOOD of the industry. Without them, we’re literally nothing. How on Earth would it benefit us to mistreat them in any way?? The happier the cows, the better we do. End of question.

On the dairy, cows are babied. They are given everything they could ever want and more. They’re fed multiple times a day, they are given a soft place to rest, shade, and wind breaks. At any given time, you can walk out to a pen of cows and 75% of them are laying down, chewing their cud (a sign that they are truly relaxed and happy), 20% are eating at the bunks, and 5% are drinking from the troughs. Folks, these are happy cows.

These videos really sum it all up:


Ethanol. A clean-burning fuel that burns cooler than gasoline and can degrade quickly in water. Some say this is our answer to dependence on oil and a cleaner healthier nation. I say this will be our demise.

Many of you may know the true economic and agricultural effects of this ugly alternative to fuel… and if you do, feel free to stop reading here, but I’m here to inform those who don’t.

Eleven years ago (2000), milk cost $1.88/gallon in the grocery store. Walk into your local grocery store today. You’re looking at approximately $3.50-3.99/gallon today. That’s about twice as much as it was eleven years ago… and let me assure you, that raise in cost for the consumer isn’t income for the farmers. The rise in milk prices is heavily due to the rise in feed costs.

Prices received by Minnesota farmers for corn for June averaged $6.00 per bushel, an increase of $0.60 from the May price.

Litchfield Independent Review

Ethanol and other alternative fuels by way of food crops are driving food prices. It’s easy for the public to jump on the bandwagon and see all the “benefits” of alternative fuel. “Ethanol is eco-friendly”–produce more with less harm! Fooey! Did you know that it takes TWENTY-TWO pounds of corn to produce ONE GALLON of Ethanol? And if that’s not enough to make your head spin, how about this: corn ( the crop harvested for ethanol) requires 29% MORE fossil fuel energy than the biofuel it produces. Hmm. Eco-friendly? More reason to say, “Drill baby, drill?” I think so.

Folks, educate yourselves. There are so many ulterior motives in politics and agriculture today. Things may look sweet on the outside, but take a big bite and you might end up with a mouth full of manure.

Resources:

Alternative Fuels
Litchfield Independent Review

It’s OVER. I survived 6 weeks in Clovis, NM at the Southern Great Plains Dairy Consortium-Teaching (SGPDC-T)! It’s been a ride, and I’m happy to say that it was more than what I expected. I learned a lot and cannot wait for next year!

Here are some things I’ve noticed while in New Mexico…

  1. New Mexico has the most beautiful sunsets — sorry Texas.
  2. You can buy liquor in convenient stores.
  3. Prairie Dogs DO exist!
  4. …And so do tumble weeds.
  5. New Mexican rodeos kinda suck — sorry New Mexico.
  6. The lanes in the roads frequently change without warning.
  7. You can’t even get into a bar until your 21–So Lame.
  8. People say the (not)word “alls” in place of “all”. Weird.
  9. There is a certain time of day that no matter where you are in the Clovis area, you’re going to smell dairy cows. Mmm.
  10. The dry heat will make my hair look fabulous and my skin even more fabulous.
And there are a few things I’ll really miss about Clovis…
  1. The weather! I love the dry heat!!
  2. The close-knit farming community. This is a grade A example of agriculture in the United States.
  3. The people. I’ve gotten to know so many great people while staying in Clovis. I’m sad to leave, but anxious to get home.
I love New Mexico!! It definitely has it’s pros and cons, but overall–It’s so great here. Very friendly, nice weather, and overall a fun place to be. I’m sure New Mexico hasn’t seen the last of this native Texan. 🙂
Being in Clovis during these 6 weeks has been such a blessing and wonderful experience. It’s been a period of true self growth for me, and I am excited to see how these changes will affect me back home. My mind is blown thinking about what the future holds for me, and I cannot wait to get out there and make a life for myself doing things I truly love and am passionate about. Who would have thought DAIRY would be my pathway in life? Trust me, if someone had told me coming into college that I would graduate and take a job working in the dairy industry, I would have called BS. Now, I can’t imagine a career better suited for me. This lifestyle is so wonderful. The people who are in the “dairy community” truly know what hard work looks like, and aren’t afraid to put in an honest days work. As an industry, I am pleased to say that the dairy industry works so hard for the best interest of the public. Whether it be environmentally, from an animal welfare perspective, economically, agriculturally—these people want to do what’s right. So I toast my milk to the dairymen, and people of Clovis. Thanks for everything, y’all! See ya next year!