Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Dairy Farmers Party

Dairy farmers have been partying in June since the first National Milk Month in 1937. That first celebration of milk was sponsored by chain stores to help stabilize dairy demand during periods of peak production. It's been called "June Dairy Month" since 1939. You can learn more about the history of June Dairy Month at http://www.midwestdairy.com/. Dairy farm families are now celebrating in a variety of ways to share how we work everyday to produce a wholesome, nutritious product. Offering samples of the many products produced from milk is the fun part of the party!

June Dairy Month really starts on the farm with every dairy farm family. Ninety eight percent of all U.S. dairy farms are family owned.

Each dairy farm family has their own unique story about their family farm. Farming with our family is not only a business, it is our way of life. The family makes the farm! Our farm began in the early 1920's when Ryan's Grandfather purchased the farm where we live. He produced apples,pigs, chickens, and milked a few cows. Ryan's parents raised broiler chickens, milked a few cows and had a beef herd. In 1972, Ryan started milking 17 cows and has grown the dairy to 300 milking cows. Our two sons are the fourth generation to live and work on our farm. In 1972 when Ryan began dairy farming, there were over 300 dairies in Benton County. In 1985 there were 119 and today we are one of 18 dairies remaining.

We take great pride in working to provide wholesome and nutritious milk for all consumers. June Dairy Month gives us a perfect opportunity to promote our product and celebrate what we do everyday. I hope you will party with us by enjoying your favorite dairy products this month!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Strawberries,Ice Cream and Cake

Vanilla ice cream is a great treat anytime but it goes very well with fresh strawberries and this pound cake recipe that I enjoy baking for my family. Hope you have a great Memorial Day holiday with your family and friends!

Crusty Cream Cheese Pound Cake

1 cup butter,softened
1/2 cup shortening
3 cups sugar
1 8oz pkg cream cheese,softened
3 cups sifted flour
6 eggs
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract

Cream butter and shortening; gradually add sugar,beating well at medium speed of electric mixer. Add cream cheese,beating well until light and fluffy. Alternately add flour and eggs, begining and ending with flour. Stir in vanilla.

Pour batter into greased and floured 10 inch tube pan. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until pick comes out clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes; remove from pan and let cool completely on wire rack.

Serving suggestions: strawberries or blueberries with large scoop of vanilla ice cream or whipped cream

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Farmers,Angels and Tornados

As I have watched the news this week about Joplin, I keep thinking about the many people that are working to assist fellow citizens during this tragedy. Last Sunday afternoon before the tornado struck, Ryan and I made a visit to our 86 year old farmer friend,Bob, who was a patient at St.John's hospital in Joplin recovering from surgery for a broken leg. Bob's room was on the sixth floor of this eight story structure. We left Joplin at 4:30p.m. When we arrived home at 6 p.m., we learned that Joplin had been struck by the tornado and St. John's hospital took a direct hit. It was early Monday morning before we found out that our friend had made it through the storm and was transferred to a hospital in Pittsburg,Kansas. On Tuesday he was transferred to a rehab facility in Cassville, Missouri to be closer to his home and family.

Ryan went to visit Bob yesterday and listened to his account of how he survived the storm. Bob stated that just minutes before the tornado struck the hospital, the charge nurse ran into his room, threw a blanket and pillow to him and told him to hold onto the chair he was sitting in so she could roll him out into the hall. As she was pushing him toward the door, the pressure from the storm pushed the nurse into Bob as they entered the hallway. Reaching the hallway, Bob grabbed the hand rail on the wall, the nurse and Bob locked arms together and she held her other hand on the rail. The nurse laid over on Bob to shield him as they held on for dear life. As soon as the tornado was gone, emergency workers began to arrive to help assess the situation and begin moving patients to the ground floor. Bob stated that the actions of the nurse saved his life. Two firemen appeared on the sixth floor and carried Bob down six flights of stairs without stopping. Within 30 minutes from the time the storm hit, Bob was on the ground floor waiting to be transferred to the hospital in Pittsburg.

Countless stories are being reported about how people survived this storm. Although we are saddened by those people that lost their lives in this tragic disaster, we appreciate the quick thinking and actions of this young nurse taking care of our friend and the many others just like her that saved many lives. I am very thankful for every person that is assisting the victims and their families in Joplin. Our own community in Arkansas is reaching out and providing assistance through donations of needed items. Many companies such as Walmart and Tyson are donating time,food and personnel to feed emergency workers and victims of the storm and our own dairy cooperative is looking to donate dairy products.

One way you can assist with this disaster is to text "REDCROSS" to 90999 to make a $10 donation to the Red Cross, or visit the special Missouri Tornado and Flood Relief site to donate online. Most of all--pray for all of the communities who have experienced great loss of loved ones and homes and for all those who are assisting these families in a time of great need.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Farms and ranches provide habitat for many different kinds of wildlife. These Canadian Geese were enjoying time alone in the pasture while the dairy cows were being milked this morning. After all the stormy weather and tremendous amount of rain this week, I am thankful for the sunshine and the opportunity to enjoy the gifts of nature on our farm.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Hay Dates with the Dairy Farmer

Providing a balanced diet for our dairy cows assures that our cows will be healthy and provide good quality milk. Hay is one of the important ingredients in our cow's diet. We purchase alfalfa and orchard grass hay from a farmer in Missouri who is located about 45 miles from our farm.

On our return from visiting a friend at St. John's hospital in Joplin this afternoon, Ryan and I had a hay date to sample the hay that our hay farmer baled last week. Hay sampling will provide information about the quality and nutritional value of the hay. This hay is wrapped in plastic to help preserve the nutrients. Ryan used a hay probe to sample six different bales from each row of wrapped hay. My involvement on this hay date was to follow behind the farmer and cover the entry site of the probe with Gorilla tape. A farmer's wife will do anything to spend a little quality time with the farmer!

The six samples from each row will be mixed in a bag , labeled with information about the hay and mailed tomorrow to the lab for analysis. The hay analysis will contain a long list of information about hay nutrients such as the moisture content, the percentage of dry matter and protein. All of the results from this sample will provide important nutritional information for our dairy nutritionist to use in formulating a perfect diet for our dairy cows.

Hay dates with the dairy farmer provide good nutrition for our cows and quality milk for all consumers!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Flavored Milk:Nutrition in Disguise

Dairy farmers have been spending money on dairy nutrition research and product development for more than ninety years. I am proud of all the nutritious dairy products that we have developed for all consumers. Flavored milk is one of the products that has been developed to meet the need of children and adults who may not like unflavored milk but want the nutrition that it provides. I think this video produced by Midwest Dairy gives great information about flavored milk:http://youtu.be/XVf2R-q0ov0 .

You can also find alot of information about dairy farming and dairy nutrition at http://www.midwestdairy.com/. Sound science,research and dairy farmers stand behind our dairy products. We appreciate the support of all dairy consumers!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Since celebrating Cody's graduation last week from Missouri State, I have felt a mixture of pride,excitement and thankfulness. I am very thankful for these two sons who represent the fourth generation to live and work on our family dairy farm.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Cow Milking Experience

Last week I was talking with second grade students about dairy cows and how dairy farmers work to produce milk. My assistant in the picture is ,Frieda, the Arkansas Farm Bureau milking cow. Just as I was talking to them about how we have a nutritionist to help us formulate our cow's diet, the school food service director and her staff came to observe our lesson in milking the cow. It was a great opportunity to talk about why healthy food choices are important to kids and cows! How do you milk a cow?

I explained that on our dairy farm:

  • First the cow's udder and teats are washed, then a milking machine is attached

  • Milking machines apply vacuum which gently removes milk from the cow's udder

  • It takes about five minutes to milk one cow. With milking machines, farmers can milk about 100 cows per hour

  • Cows are milked two times a day

Everybody gets a milking experience!

You can find more information about dairy farming at http://www.dairyfarmingtoday.org/ or dairy nutritional information at http://www.midwestdairy.com/.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

As I watched the machine wrap the alfalfa hay today for storage, I was thinking about the many different tasks that occur every day on our dairy farm. I am very thankful for all the modern machinery and equipment that helps us to feed our dairy cows, care for the land and produce a great dairy product!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Trust a Trust?

With instant knowledge of all subjects at our fingertips on the computer or cell phone, I feel overwhelmed at times with information overload. With so much information available, who can you trust to tell the truth about how food is produced in the United States? There are so called experts that call us family farmers by names like "Big Ag", "Industrial Farmers" or "Factory Farmers". Maybe these experts don't realize that 98% of all American farms are family farms or maybe it's easier to attack us because we are less than two percent of the population that produces food for the rest of the American population and the world.

The word "trust" in my old dictionary is defined as "assured reliance on another's integrity,veracity, justice, etc." When looking at information presented by any group of people that uses the word trust,ethical or humane in their title, I would ask you to look further into their mission statement and reason for being. This is especially important when making decisions that require a trip to the voting booth for legislative activity that will affect all Americans.

Farmers and ranchers love to share information and have conversations about how we work every day to provide food for all of our families. Here are some web sites you can trust to find out how family farmers and ranchers work ethically and humanely to provide safe affordable food:

--Dairy sites:

--Dairymoms like me in the Midwest:

--Farm and Ranch blogs across America:

Trust a farmer?

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Mother's Day Gift

A Mother's Love

A mother's love is special

It's a present every day.

A gift that came from heaven

That God has sent our way.

Her job is never ending

She's there all day and night.

To be there for her children

And be their guiding light.

Her thoughts are with them always

Even if they are apart,

Her children have a special place,

Deep down inside her heart.

Mother's are a special gift-

A gift from up above

This world would seem so empty

Without a Mother's love.

-T. Entzminger

Happy Mother's Day !

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Milking to the Music

What kind of music do the cows like? That was the question from one of the visiting University of Arkansas students a couple of weeks ago. We were standing in the milk parlor watching the cows being milked when the student spotted the radio suspended from the ceiling. I quickly responded,"Country, of course, and sometimes in Spanish!"

After laughing about the music, we did have serious discussion about how the cow's environment affects their production performance. In past studies about the affect of music on cows, it has been found that cows adjust to reasonable levels of continuous sound. Farmers and researchers have also agreed that continuous radio play with a variety of talk and music can actually have a calming effect and may stimulate the milk let down reflex.

Our dairy cows have always been exposed to music at low volume while they are being milked. Low volume is important because loud or alarming sounds can startle cows, causing erratic behavior. We make a point to use a calm gentle voice and keep the music at a pleasant level. No matter what kind of music is played in the barn while the cows are being milked, we are committed to our cow's health and well being everyday because that is how we provide you with safe,high quality milk and dairy products!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

My Mother celebrated her 80th birthday just a month ago. She has always been an inspiration to me, an encourager when times are tough, and a true mentor to me through my lifetime.
I am thankful for the special relationship that we enjoy and the fact that we will be celebrating Mother's Day together.
Happy Mother's Day!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Flavored Milk Memory

One of my favorite memories about first grade was drinking chocolate milk after our afternoon recess. When my boys started school, I found out that afternoon milk was a thing of the past. I was shocked. Thankfully they could still have their choice of white or chocolate milk for lunch. That choice was important to me then and now because as a mother I know that not every day's school lunch would be eaten by my child or any child. Milk,flavored or white, always offers a great nutritional package. As things evolve, will flavored milk completely be removed from the school menu? I hope not and here are the reasons why:

  • Studies show that children who drink flavored milk drink more milk overall,have better quality diets, do not have higher intakes of added sugar or fat, and are just as likely to be at a healthy weight compared to kids who do not consume flavored milk.

  • Flavored milk contains the same 9 essential nutrients found in white milk.

  • With school lunch budgets feeling the increasing stress of high food prices just as our family food budgets, it would be even more costly for schools to add the additional food it would take to replace the important nutrient package of flavored milk.

As in all decision making, we need to look at the sound science and research that support decision making about nutrition. You can find more factual information about flavored milk and a great blog post written by Midwest Dairy's registered dietician Caroly Hudson titled "Flavored Milk=Nutrition in Disguise" at http://www.midwestdairy.com/0p48b1be47/dairy-makes-sense/airy.com/Op48b1be47/dairy-makes-sense.