Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Top 5 Reasons Starbucks and other Restaurants should Embrace Traditional Dairy

Why is Starbucks considering serving only organic milk in their restaurants? I would like to share with Starbucks, and all restaurants considering going only organic, the top 5 reasons to embrace traditional dairy.

1. Milk Quality – All milk, organic and traditional, meet the same quality standards and naturally contain the same nutrients. All milk must be tested free of antibiotic and pesticide residue before it gets to the store shelf. All dairy farms are inspected and required to follow the same guidelines to ensure a wholesome product.

2. Sustain Family Farmers – The majority of dairy farms (about 98%) are owned and operated by families. The perception that many dairy farms are “factory farms” under the control of corporations or “big ag” is false. When you purchase dairy products, organic or traditional, you are helping to sustain family farmers.
Generations on the farm - my parents and my sons
My son, Jack, with one of our favorite cows

3. Support Content Cows – Dairy farmers love their cows. Our priority as dairy farmers is caring for cows to keep them content and healthy. Irrespective of farm size, production method, housing preference, and specific feed ingredients. There is more than one way to successfully keep cows comfortable and happy. 

Our content cows in their barn
Healthy, curious calves in their pen

4. Price & Value – Traditionally produced dairy products are an exceptional value and less expensive than their organic counterparts.

5. Consumer Choice – People should have a choice. When you go to a restaurant or the grocery store, you should be able to choose the products you want. That choice shouldn’t be taken away because of a small, loud, radical minority.

Read what others are saying about this topic. I’ve pulled a quote from each, but you can click on the title for a link to the full post:

Dear Starbucks: Please Don't Cave to #OrganicMilkNext by Nurse Loves Farmer Blog
"The agriculture world needs the diversity of various farming methods, it's not "one-size fits all" farming. Enjoy your choices and I'll enjoy mine--just don't try to take them away." 

“The truth is that there are no quality differences to distinguish organic milk from milk produced from a regular dairy herd. Also, using "organic" as a measuring stick of milk quality or cow quality is not accurate by any means. The size and type of the farm has little relevancy in comparison to how the farmers and their employees do their jobs."

Why I'm Not Converting the Farm to Organic Production by Andrew Campbell

“Despite the continued mind-numbing objection to genetically modified crops, fact after fact (including the latest that 100 billion animals fed GMOs over 30 years showed zero difference to those fed non-GMO grains) points to technology benefiting more than just the definition of our television or the quality of life through medical breakthroughs.”

American Society of Animal Science Issues Statement in Support of Conventional Milk
“There is no scientific basis for Starbucks to stop using conventional milk. The U.S. milk supply is safe, wholesome and nutritious. That remains true nearly two decades after the introduction of genetically engineered (GE) crops in 1996. Furthermore, it has been repeatedly shown that feed crops of biotech origin do not compromise the health, well-being and ability of food-producing animals to contribute to a safe, plentiful food supply.”

Consumers are mislead about organic safety by John Block
“Organic foods are four to eight times more likely to be recalled than conventional foods for safety issues like bacterial contamination. In short, the federal government is strict about science, labeling and claims for all industries except one. The marketers of organic food are allowed to make scientifically false and misleading claims about the safety and wholesomeness of conventional food, while their products are increasingly likely to be recalled for safety reasons.”

I ask you to support the cows on our dairy farm by consuming traditional dairy products.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Fall Harvest is Underway!

It's extra busy at the farm this week because we're harvesting corn for silage. The cows at our farm love corn silage, which is a fermented forage that includes the entire corn plant from stock to ear. The silage we put up in October, will be an ingredient in our cows diet over the next year.

I captured these images over the last few days. . .
Chopping corn on a beautiful fall afternoon
The chopper blows the corn into the trailer
The truck follows the chopper around the field
The chopped corn is delivered to our farm then dumped into a pile
This pack tractor pushes the corn silage up the pile
Once all the corn silage is in a pile, it will be covered with tarp and tires
Corn silage is the entire corn plant all chopped up
Jack checks an ear of corn in the partially harvested field
Garrett hides in the corn
The boys picked some corn stalks out of the field
We're displaying the corn stalks and cobs on our front porch
Corn chopping frequently goes into the night - we've got to chop during dry weather
During harvest, large trucks and tractors with wagons make many trips from the fields to our farm delivering the chopped corn. Thank you to our neighbors and community for being patient with our slow moving vehicles on the road. This feed provides nutrients to our cows which enables them to make milk to supply you with the dairy products you enjoy.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

For the Love of Play

Fall is a beautiful season here in Northeast Ohio. The days are cool, the leaves are changing colors, there are many fun fall events to participate in and its football season. My sons play football and its fun watching their games. 

My sons, Jack and Garrett, play football for the Berkshire Badgers
In addition to watching local youth football, we support the hometown team; the Cleveland Browns. Their stadium is just 45 minutes from our farm.

We feel a small connection to the Browns because as dairy producers, we partner with the NFL to fund Fuel Up to Play 60. This is an in-school nutrition and physical activity program promoting a healthy lifestyle. I’m proud to be part of this wellness program.

Jack loves to play!
To amplify the message of an active lifestyle, Quaker, NFL, dairy farmers and others have joined to launch “For the Love of Play”. This campaign encourages kids and adults to be active for 60 minutes of play a day as part of a healthy lifestyle. Go to Love of Play to join the action and learn how you can win exclusive NFL prizes.
To learn more about dairy farmers partnership with the NFL, check out my blog Dairy Farmers and the NFL sponsor Fuel Up to Play 60.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Visit our Dairy Farm this Fall

Fall is a wonderful time to visit a farm! We have four events happening on our farm in September and October that are open to the public. Come on down to the farm to meet our cows and check out the progress of our new milk bottling plant.

Cow Tales Adventures
Dates: September 17 and October 2
Time: 10am – 12pm
Special Instructions: This event is specifically for children 5 & under with a caregiver. Plan to arrive by 10am and be at the farm until 12pm to take part in all of the activities. Includes a cheese snack.
Cost: $6/person (12 months & under are free)   

Dates: September 28 and October 12
Time: 1pm – 5pm
Description: This event is open to all ages. All the activities are going on the entire time we're open. Come and go anytime.
Cost: $6/person (1 years-old & under are free)  

Cow Tales & Dairy Days include;
  • Guided tour of the milking parlor to watch the cows being milked
  • Visit to the calf area where you can pet and interact with calves
  • Wagon ride tour of the farm to see where the cows live
  • Rides for children on the Chugga Chugga Moo Moo train  
  • Time to play on the farm-themed outdoor playground, pedal tractors & corn box
  • Indoor Junior Dairyman play area with farm themed toys
  • Cow Craft activity
  • Great photo opportunities!
Some of these activities are outdoors and some are inside. The events will go on rain or shine, we recommend wearing boots or old shoes. Please be prepared to pay with cash or check, we are not able to process credit cards. No reservations required.

Our farm is also available for scheduled group tours or parties in September and October. For more information, check out the Hastings Dairy website.  

Here are some scenes from previous Cow Tales Adventures & Dairy Days events:

Kids love riding the Chugga Chugga Moo Moo train
Watching the cows milking from the observation balcony
Watching the cows in the milking parlor
Taking a wagon ride around the farm
A favorite activity; petting the calves
Playing in the corn box
Building a log barn in the Parlor room
Fun in the giant sandbox
Families enjoying a picnic on the playground
See our new milk bottling plant; we'll be selling milk soon!
See you down on the farm!
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