Monday, April 21, 2014

Dairy Farmers Celebrate Earth Day Everyday

Earth Day isn't just a one day celebration on our  dairy farm--it's an everyday experience   as we work to produce  high-quality milk by caring for our animals and conserving natural resources for future generations.

 It's a fact that dairy farms today produce a gallon of milk using 95 percent less land and 65 percent less water while producing 76 percent less manure compared with 1944. It's the modern science and technology that make it possible to produce more milk today with only 9 million cows than with 26 million cows in 1944.

In looking to reduce our carbon footprint and operate as sustainably as possible, we completed an energy audit  in 2012 with the help of the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy and its partners EnSave and USDA Natural Resources and Conservation Services. The audit provided potential areas for saving energy use and improving long-term efficiency and profitability.

Last year after completion of the energy audit,  we  chose to install equipment in the milking parlor that would reduce the amount of electricity used to cool the milk. By installing this equipment we saw immediate results in efficiency and a reduction in the farm's carbon footprint. The change saved more than 26,000 kilowatts in electricity and  reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 6 tons annually.

 In addition to saving electricity, the plate cooler provided additional water that can be recycled for our cows to drink. We installed two rubber tire water tanks  for the cows to enjoy drinking from  year-round.  A win-win for us, the environment   and the cows!

We'll be using our energy audit to provide direction for other changes we can make to operate as sustainably as possible and continue to celebrate Earth Day Everyday down on the dairy farm.

How will you celebrate Earth Day?

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Earth Day Dairy Spin

Although it's Earth Day Everyday on the dairy farm, I was an invited guest to the  early  Earth Day celebration with Bentonville students at Old High Middle School. Students enjoyed a variety of activities related to protecting and caring for the earth that are important  to   everyday living.

Sharing information about dairy farming is important to me   because caring for the environment is a responsibility dairy farmers share with our local community. Good environmental practices are  essential to a dairy farm's success and for  future generations. You can find more dairy facts and information about sustainability and environmental protection practices   at Midwest Dairy.

                       My display included information about dairy nutrition and dairy farming.

It was my day to be the Vanna of Dairy--passing out string cheese for every spin of the Dairy Wheel of Knowledge!
                                      I had fun  giving my own dairy farmer spin on Earth Day!

Happy Easter!

Even though it's a typical day on the dairy farm with milking the cows and feeding calves and cows, it's also a special day of celebration with family and friends recognizing the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
It's no coincidence that we are experiencing the beauty of nature at the same time we celebrate the fact--He's alive!

                                                    When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

                                                       When I survey the wondrous cross,
                                                       On which the Prince of glory died,
                                                        My richest gain I count but loss,
                                                        And pour contempt on all my pride.

                                                        Forbid it,Lord, that I should boast,
                                                         Save in the death of Christ, my God;
                                                        All the vain things that charm me most,
                                                         I sacrifice them to His blood.

                                                         See, from His head, His hands, His feet,
                                                         Sorrow and love flow mingled down;
                                                          Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
                                                         Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

                                                         Were the whole realm of nature mine,
                                                          That were a present far too small;
                                                          Love so amazing, so divine,
                                                          Demands my soul, my life, my all.

                                                                                            ---Issac Watts,1674-1748

                                                                     Happy Easter!!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Just a few warm spring days last week encouraged and coaxed the trees to begin unfolding from their long winter rest.   My favorite tree in our front yard is this flowering crabapple which was a gift from Ryan's mother many years ago. It brings great joy with it's beauty and the memory of a very special person in our family who loved trees and spring.
I'm thankful for the blessings of family and
 spring down on the dairy farm! 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Melt Down Monday with Dairy

Instant macaroni and cheese has its place in my pantry because my sons love it, but they also enjoy trying new recipes that contain their favorite ingredients. Macaroni-and-Cheese Deluxe, found in my 1979 Southern Living Recipes  book,   has a rich flavor and would  complement any meat dish.  It's a perfect, family pleasing  recipe, and easy to prepare  for melt down Mondays!

Macaroni-and-Cheese Deluxe

1 (8oz.) package elbow macaroni
2 cups small-curd cottage cheese
1 (8oz.) carton commercial sour cream
1 egg, lightly beaten
3/4 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
2 cups (1/2 pound) shredded process American cheese

Cook macaroni according to package directions; drain.
Combine cottage cheese, sour cream, egg, salt, and pepper in a large bowl; stir in shredded cheese.
Add macaroni, stirring well.
Pour into a greased 9-inch baking pan, and sprinkle with paprika. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.

Helpful Hint: To make shredding of very soft cheese easier, put in the freezer for 15 minutes.
Yield: 6-8 servings


Friday, April 11, 2014

Dairy Farmer's Rain Dance

We've waited all winter for this spring wheat crop to start growing and now with a few warm spring days you can  see it changing almost daily. It's our kind of excitement!
Field crops need nutrients to grow so  Casey spread a measured amount of commercial fertilizer over several fields today. With moisture and more growing days, this wheat will be chopped or baled for our dairy cows to enjoy as part of their balanced diet that provides high-quality milk.
 Just so you know,
the dairy farmer's rain dance is done with a tractor and a fertilizer spreader!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Whether it's being called to assist in rounding up the cows who found the hole in the fence,

picking flowers while the fence is being repaired,
witnessing the birth of a new dairy calf,
                I'm thankful for each experience I have working with  my dairy farm family everyday
               as we work to produce high-quality, nutritious milk by caring for our land and animals.