Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

IJune Dairy Month has been filled with a variety of activities just like this tour yesterday of the Bill and Delia Haak dairy farm in Gentry as a part of the statewide Water Quality Conference. I'm thankful for our friends in agriculture that provide assistance to all farmers-- from providing technical information to passing out the cheese at an event!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Bessie's Pasture

Have you noticed that cute dairy cow hanging on the June Dairy Month logo? That's our Midwest Dairy friend, Bessie, the Dairy Makes Sense icon. I love this cow because her expression reminds me of a few of our Holstein cows that are often waiting by the gate, hoping for someone to leave it open so they can get into the next pasture. Although June Dairy Month is quickly coming to an end, you can always find Bessie in her pasture at Bessie may have different expressions or seasonal outfits through the year, but she will always make sure to have great dairy nutrition information, a place to learn more about dairy farming,recipe ideas for meals and snacks and a place to get answers to your dairy nutrition questions.

Promotion of dairy products with icons like Bessie don't happen by accident. Since 1985, dairy farmers have been funding the National Dairy Promotion and Research Board. Dairy farmers contribute fifteen cents per one hundred pounds of milk produced on each farm to fund this program. Our money is used collectively for promoting dairy on the national,state and regional levels and for the research and development of new dairy products to meet consumer demands. Information that we provide is factual and based on sound science and research. Bessie and the Dairy Makes Sense website are a great example of how dairy farmers in the Midwest Dairy regional promotion area are providing useful information to all consumers in a fun and engaging way.

Thanks for celebrating June Dairy Month with me and Bessie at Spotted Cow Review and don't forget to check out Bessie's pasture through the year!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Smoothie Blues

Dairy smoothies are a great way to get refreshed from the summer heat and get your daily dairy in a sweet treat. In these last few days of celebrating June Dairy Month and summertime temperatures on the farm and in the city, I think this is the perfect recipe! I found this recipe on The Pioneer Woman blog entry of August 5,2009.

Blueberry Yogurt Smoothie


-1 cup plain,unflavored yogurt

-1 cup fruit (your choice-blueberries,peaches,pineapple,etc.)

-1/4 cup milk

-1 dash honey


Preparation Instructions

Place yogurt,fruit,milk,a handful of ice and honey to taste all into a blender. Blend until smooth. Taste it for sweetness and add more honey if needed.

You can find other smoothie recipes at or

What is your favorite dairy smoothie recipe? I'd love to hear from you!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Cow Pride

It is impossible to party during June Dairy Month without bringing recognition to the heart of our dairy story---our cows! We milk a total of 300 cows twice daily every day of the year. Our herd consists of Holstein dairy cows ,one Guernsey and three Ayrshire. Our cows are the present and future of our farm. We respect them for what they provide for us and we work diligently everyday to provide nutritious feed,clean water, and comfortable surroundings. I enjoy watching the growth and development of each animal that we raise from calf to milking cow.

There are actually six different breeds of dairy cattle: Ayrshire,Brown Swiss,Guernsey, Jersey,Holstein, and Milking Shorthorn. Each breed was developed in its own country and brought to America. You can find more information about each breed at

Here are some interesting general facts about dairy cows:

  • the average cow weighs 1400 pounds

  • live to be about 18 years old; a normal production life for a Holstein is around 6 years

  • a newborn calf weighs 90 pounds and walks on its own one hour from birth

  • spend an average of 6 hours each day eating and an additional eight hours ruminating or chewing their cud

  • most chew at least 50 times per minute

  • graze by curling their tongues around grass and pulling rather than nibbling like a horse does

  • have 4 stomach compartments and consume 90 pounds of feed everyday

  • drink the equivalent of a bathtub full of water each day

  • sleep lying down--just like people

  • have an acute sense of smell--can smell something up to 6 miles away

June Dairy Month is the perfect time to celebrate our product and the commitment of America's dairy farm families working everyday to provide high quality milk by taking good care of our cows!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Cranky Cook's Recipe

With the added activities of crop planting and hay baling, supper time meals are often late in the evening on the dairy farm and that makes the cook (that's me) a little cranky because I don't like cleaning up the kitchen at bedtime! To celebrate June Dairy Month and less time in the kitchen, I plan to try this recipe this weekend.

BBQ Chicken and Cheddar Foil Packet Dinner


3 tablespoons barbeque sauce

4 small boneless,skinless chicken breast haves(1pound)

2 small unpeeled red potatoes,thinly sliced

1 red or green bell peppers,seeded and sliced

1 green onion,finely chopped

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 cups shredded reduced-fat Cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Place a foil sheet, approximately 12x12 inches,on a work surface. Spoon about 1 teaspoon of the barbeque sauce in the center of the foil. Place one chicken breast half over barbeque sauce and spread another teaspoon of sauce over chicken. Top with quarter of the potato,bell pepper and onion. Sprinkle with a little of the salt and pepper. Fold foil in half to cover contents; make narrow folds along edges to seal. Repeat with remaining ingredients to assemble three more packets. Place the four packets on a baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes.

Open foil packets with scissors and carefully pull back edges as contents may be very hot. Sprinkle a quarter of the cheese over the top of each chicken breast and return to oven, unsealed for two minutes or until cheese is melted. With a spatula, transfer the contents of each packet onto individual serving plates.

Substitution Idea: One cost savings tip is to buy bone-in chicken breasts and remove the skin.


Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 37 minutes

You can find this and other great recipes at

I'm feeling less cranky just thinking about this easy recipe!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Cody gave one of his first illustrated talks in 4-H about the "REAL" Seal. I'm thankful for all the experiences in 4-H and on the dairy farm that have shaped this young dairy farmer.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Real Dairy Deal

When I do my grocery shopping every week, I am always amazed by the choices in the dairy case that have no relationship to real dairy products. One way to verify that you are choosing a real dairy product is to look for the stylized milk drop surrounding the simple word "REAL".

This seal is the symbol of pure dairy goodness and has been used nationally since 1977. The "REAL" Seal was actually developed by the California Milk Advisory Board in 1976 as a public service to help consumers easily identify real dairy foods. The symbol nationally has become a federally registered "REAL" Seal trademark administered by Dairy Management Inc.

The "REAL" Seal is one of the best recognized and most widely used symbols in the food and beverage industry. Products that carry the "REAL" Seal must contain real dairy food produced from U.S.-produced cow's milk and the contents must meet minimum government standards for the product category. Research has shown that consumers:

  • View the "REAL" Seal as a sign of dairy product identity and authenticity

  • Associate the "REAL" Seal with products that have no or fewer additives and are not processed

  • Expect products displaying the "REAL" Seal to taste better and be of higher quality

  • Know what to expect in terms of cooking and melting patterns when they cook with "REAL"Seal products

The "REAL" Seal represents a promise to consumers that the product is made with real dairy. Real American farmers producing real milk--a real deal for all consumers!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Bull's Eye View of Egyptian Geese

Last week as we were feeding baby calves, one of our employees asked me if I had seen the baby ducks on our pond that is located just down the road from the dairy. This is also the pasture that is home to several Holstein bulls. It's not unusual to see ducks on the ponds, but the description given for these sounded very unique. After we finished calf feeding, I picked up my camera and headed for the pond. To my sheer delight, I found what I now know are a pair of Egyptian geese with their eight goslings enjoying what appeared to be swimming instruction time.

After observing the family for a short time, I returned home to send a picture to my birding friend to find out more about these interesting birds. I'm not sure why they have chosen Northwest Arkansas as their home, but I did find out that a pair of them have been around our farm for the last ten years. This is the first time we have seen any Egyptian goslings.

Here are a few interesting facts about Egyptian Geese:

-originally from Africa

-considered sacred by ancient Egyptians, appearing in much of their artwork

-they pair for life

-the male and female are identical in plumage,the male is usually slightly larger

-they eat seeds,leaves,grass,plant stems; occasionally may eat locusts,worms or small animals

-they are very territorial in protecting their babies

I suppose it was a blessing that the pasture around the pond is full of bulls right now. There was no worry of me being attacked by the geese because I stayed on the outside of the fence with a bull's eye view!

Friday, June 17, 2011

Dairy Farm Dad

June Dairy Month is one of the busiest working times on the farm as we add crop planting and hay harvesting to the daily milking schedule and activities required to feed and care for our animals. Although it takes all of us working together on the family farm to get the work done, in my opinion, the most important person on the farm is my husband Ryan, also known as Dairy Farmer Dad.

On any day of the week on the dairy farm, our Dairy Farm Dad exhibits an assortment of titles and positions as we work together on the farm. My description of our Dairy Farm Dad would be that he is a manager, a boss, a problem solver, a traffic director, a mechanic, a banker, an accountant,a nutritionist, an animal caretaker, a conservationist,a plumber, an electrician, a gardener,a cook, a friend, and a father. Basically, he's the center of our universe and the go-to-guy!

Having been a city girl before marrying Dairy Farm Dad, I had no concept of the many roles and abilities of a farmer. Father's Day is a perfect time to express gratitude to all the Dairy Farm Dads that not only work to provide a nutritious product for consumers but set a great example for the next generation of dairy farmers. I think a freezer of homemade ice cream would be a great way to celebrate June Dairy Month and Father's Day!

Happy Father's Day to all!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Using a no-till method to plant this crop of haygrazer for our dairy cows to eat later this summer is just one of the ways we protect the environment and reduce energy use. With so many jobs on the farm to get accomplished in June, I'm thankful for a tractor ride with my dairy farmer husband!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Dairy Farmer's Dream Contest

I really feel like my celebration of June Dairy Month actually started in April with our annual 4-H Dairy Recipe Contest sponsored by the Benton County Farm Bureau Women's Committee. One of the most important judging criteria is the creative use of dairy products in each recipe. Using all these delicious dairy products is a dairy farmer's dream come true! After all the recipes are judged and winners selected for both main dish and party category, we get to sample all these delicious dairy recipes. What a dairy delightful experience! To celebrate June Dairy Month, you might want to try this winning main dish recipe submitted by 4-H member Ty Connolly.

Barbeque Baked Potato Casserole

2 teaspoons butter

16 medium green onions,sliced (1 cup) use remainder for garnish

1 medium yellow or orange bell pepper,chopped (1cup)

2 cups hot water

1 cup of milk

1 cup of half and half

1/4 cup butter

1 box(7.20z)Betty Crocker roasted garlic mashed potatoes(2pouches)

1 cup of shredded Monterey Jack cheese with peppers

4 ounces of 1/3 less fat cream cheese cut into cubes

3 cups shredded Cheddar cheese(12 oz),divided

1(8oz)container light sour cream

1(4oz)can chopped green chilies,drained

3 cups shredded barbecue beef or pork

3/4 cup barbecue sauce

Tomato pieces for garnish

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spray 13x9 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

In 10-inch nonstick skillet,melt 2 teaspoons butter over medium-high heat. Cook onions and bell pepper in butter 1 minute,stirring occasionally. Remove from heat; set aside.

In 2 quart sacuepan,heat the water,half and half,milk and 1/4 cup butter to boiling; remove from heat. Stir in both pouches of potatoes and seasoning just until moistened. Let stand about 1 minute or until moisture is absorbed. Beat with a fork until smooth. Stir in 1 cup of Monterey Jack cheese with peppers and 4 ounces of 1/3 less fat cream cheese cut into cubes; stir till blended. Gently fold in 8 ounces of light sour cream and 4 ounces of chopped green chilies. Mix the potato mixture,the pepper and onion mixture and 1 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese together. Spoon into a 13x9 inch baking dish. Sprinkle with another 3/4 cup of cheddar cheese. Arrange meat evenly over cheese. Drizzle barbecue sauce over the meat. Sprinkle remaining 3/4 cup of cheddar cheese over the meat.

Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes before serving. Garnish, with tomato pieces and sliced green onions.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Arkansas Milk Stabilization

As an Arkansas dairy farmer, I can truly say that June Dairy Month is a great time to celebrate not only dairy foods and the dairy industry, but also give recognition to the support that Arkansas dairy farm families have received from our state. Due to the rapid decline in the number of dairies in our state, the Arkansas legislature established the Arkansas Milk Stabilization Board in 2007 to work to ensure a minimum supply of milk for the population of our state. We truly received help to save our dairy farms in 2009 when the Arkansas legislature funded a two-year program to provide incentives to state dairy farmers with a goal to stabilize or increase milk production within the state. I can never express enough thanks for the support all Arkansas dairy farm families have received from Governor Beebe,the state legislators,and the members of the Arkansas Milk Stabilization Board.

Here are some current facts about dairy farming in Arkansas:

-there are approximately 130 dairy farms

-the average Arkansas dairy cow will produce 5 gallons of milk per day

-Arkansas dairy farms produce 17.9 million gallons of milk annually

-dairy is the 9th largest agricultural business in Arkansas,generating $20 million/year

-98% of all Arkansas farms are owned by families

I hope that we will always have dairy farms in Arkansas producing our state beverage--Milk!

You can learn more about Arkansas dairy history or dairy nutrition at or


Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

In just a few days, dairy farm families will be celebrating June Dairy Month at the annual 4-State Dairy Days cattle show in our county. I'm thankful for events like this that teach our children so many life lessons and give opportunity to develop long lasting friendships with other dairy farm families!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

June Dairy Month Cheesy Pleasing Recipe

You can't celebrate June Dairy Month without cheese! Well, I guess you can but why would you want to?

Celebrate June Dairy Month with this easy pleasing recipe!

Cheesy Chicken Cruncher


1 cup all purpose flour

4 egg whites

1/2 cup reduced-fat milk

1 1/2 cups cornflakes

1 cup reduced-fat ,shredded Cheddar cheese

6 chicken breast filets;cut into strips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Set up three bowls with the following: 1)flour;2)an egg-wash;made by beating the eggs and milk together; 3)cornflakes mixed with cheese.

Coat a 13x9 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray. Dip chicken pieces in flour, then into egg-wash,then roll in the cheesy-flakes mixture, coating the entire piece of chicken, and place on the baking pan. Discard any unused cornflake mixture after coating chicken. Bake fro 25 minutes, turning halfway through to ensure even browning. Serve with ketchup or BBQ sauce if desired.

This recipe was created by Chef Jon Ashton of Orlando Florida and featured in the 30 Days of Dairy fact sheet from and recipe section of

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Dairy Tools of the Trade

Keeping up with information about our dairy cows is an important part of our dairy farming operation to insure healthy dairy cows and quality milk. One of our best tools for managing our herd information is through Mid-South Dairy Herd Improvement Association. This association is a complete professional testing,management and reporting system for dairy farmers.

Once a month, Greg, our Mid-south Dairy Herd Improvement technician, will come to the dairy farm to collect milk samples from each dairy cow during the morning milking. Each sample will give us information about the individual cow's milk production and qualities of the milk that include butterfat,protein, and somatic cell counts. Before Greg comes to the farm for this testing, I will have recorded all herd health information, breeding and calving records into the computer system. After each cow is sampled, Greg will enter the milk weight information on our computer system , transmit all of our records to the Mid-South office in Springfield,Missouri and send the milk samples to the lab for analysis. A few days after the test day, we will receive paper copies of the test information and be able to download the test information to our computer system.

Managing our dairy herd with information that we obtain from tools like our dairy herd improvement records assists us every day in making sure that our healthy herd is producing quality milk.

June Dairy Month--it's all about healthy cows,quality milk, and the dairy farm families that work everyday to produce a great product!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Serving ice cream cones to bank customers was one of our many June Dairy Month activities
and fun experiences while members of the Benton County 4-H Udder Club.
Watching these three dairy farm boys dip the ice cream was a memorable experience! I am thankful for all the fun we have promoting the dairy products we are proud to produce.