Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

August always seems to melt slowly into September as the seasons begin to change,school starts and we are beginning to harvest our crops. It's also the time for a birthday celebration in our family. Our birthday traditions include dinner with the family, birthday cake and ice cream. I'm thankful for the twenty one birthdays that we have celebrated with Casey!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Reasons to Serve Chocolate Milk for Breakfast

Tonight's local news announced that Fayetteville School District in Northwest Arkansas will no longer offer chocolate milk for school breakfast to decrease the sugar that kids are getting in the morning but it will remain a choice for lunch. Why would you decide to decrease milk consumption? Studies in other school systems have shown that if you remove chocolate milk as a choice, consumption will decrease. School age children are needing the nutrients in milk to support bone development during these peak bone building years. I'm not sure what rationale supports the school district's decision but I do know that flavored milk accounts for less than 3.5% of added sugar intake among children ages 6-12 and less than 2% of added sugar intake among teens. Studies have shown that children who drink flavored milk meet more of their nutrient needs, do not consume more added sugar,fat, or calories and are not heavier than non-milk drinkers.

Reasons to support flavored milk as a school breakfast choice include:

  • Flavored milk provides essential nutrients for good health and kids drink more when flavored.

  • Flavored milk contains the same nine essential nutrients as white milk.

  • Flavored milk helps kids get three daily servings recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

  • Lowfat chocolate milk is the most popular choice and kids drink less if taken away.

You can find more information about the nutritional benefits and the scientific research supporting flavored milk in child nutrition at or I'm raising my glass for chocolate milk! Will you join me?

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cheese Lover's Enthusiasm Flows Like Lava

Earlier in the month, Ryan and I drove to Cooper's Cafe in Anderson,Missouri, to meet with other family members for supper. To our pleasant surprise, the owner of Cooper's Cafe was none other than Roger King, the winner of Midwest Dairy's "Put Some Cheese On It" contest in 2010. As the contest winner, Roger received a new HHR Chevrolet car decked out in a cheese theme, complete with a slice of cheese on the top. Roger is still driving the cheese car and enjoying the curious looks when driving in the area. You will find the cheese car parked in front of the cafe everyday to entice those cheese loving customers to come in for a tasty entree' with cheese or other dairy delight. Dairy farmers are definitely benefiting from Roger's love of cheese and dairy products and the promotion he does through his restaurant business and in his community.

Just a couple of days ago, we stopped at Cooper's Cafe for lunch before traveling on to Springfield for farm business. As I looked at the menu, I was intrigued with the many types of burgers, the unusual names and the fact that most of them contained cheese. Lava Burger caught my attention as I read the description--"flowing with cheese on top". Curiosity got the best of me and I ordered the Lava Burger. I was so intrigued by the cheese on top that I did not notice it was a double meat burger. When the waitress presented me with the Lava Burger, the cheese was mounded on top of the bun and flowing over the top and sides just like lava from a volcano. I knew then why the waitress looked at me funny when she took my order. From my experience, I would say you need to be very,very hungry or plan to share with others if you intend to order this burger!

If you need a little enthusiasm and a smile to start the week, think about Roger and the cheese car and put some cheese on it! How could you not smile when a cheese slice passes by?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Routine Transitions Provide Quality Milk

Planning for transition is part of our dairy farm routine. Preparing a dairy cow for the birth of a calf includes a two month rest period before she gives birth. On the farm we call this transition the "dry period". During this sixty day dry period the cow will rest in the pasture and be fed a specially designed low energy diet that provides adequate protein,vitamins and mineral to maintain body condition . The inputs of good nutrition and health care during the dry period will be returned by a more productive and healthy cow after giving birth.

We had three cows this week that needed to begin their sixty day dry period. After the morning milking, each cow was dry treated. Because cows are most susceptible to environmental mastitis infections during this rest period,dry treating a cow includes treating all four quarters with an approved long-lasting antibiotic product. When the cow calves and returns to the milking herd, the milk is thrown away until it is tested by our dairy cooperative lab and shown to be free of antibiotic because any milk that tests positive for antibiotics cannot be sold to the public.

After dry treatment was completed with a prescribed vitamin shot and wormer, Cody loaded the cows into the trailer and moved them to the dry pasture located a couple of miles from the dairy to begin their days of rest and rejuvenation. These cows will be fed and monitored daily. Two weeks before they are expected to give birth, we will move them to the pasture by our house. Since we have calves born through out the year, we are basically on pasture call twenty four hours a day,seven days a week!

It's a fact--healthy cows produce more milk. Our commitment to providing high-quality milk begins with taking good care of our cows everyday--24/7!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Watching the school bus pass by this week reminded me of the many transitions that we watch on our farm and in our family life. This is the first time that both boys will be working on the farm together since Cody started school in 1994. I'm thankful for all the milestone moments with my family and for the transitions that we see daily on the farm as we care for our dairy cows and work to produce a delicious healthy product.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Dairy Farm Full of Transitions

As I walked across the pasture tonight to check on our dairy cows that are due to calve any day, I heard the loud chorus of the crickets proclaiming the end of summer. It seems like life around us right now is full of transitions--school starting,seasons changing,county fair finished,both sons home on the farm for the first time in four years. Even the cows are in transition! These cows that I'm checking tonight have been moved close to the house within the last two weeks so that we can monitor them frequently and provide assistance with calving if needed.

Dairy cows experience a transition period from sixty days prior to calving until forty days after calving. During this transition period, known as the dry period, the cows are removed from the milking herd and allowed to rest in the pasture until they give birth. A carefully managed dry cow diet that contains adequate protein,vitamins and minerals, medium quality forage, and a small amount of grain will prepare the cow for a smooth transition into the milking herd, provide optimum milk production in early lactation and reduce the incidence of metabolic disorders.

Caring for our cows during this important transition time in the cow's life leads to high quality, wholesome milk. Tomorrow we have three more cows that will begin their transition into the dry period and be removed from the milking herd. One thing is constant in life and on the dairy farm--transition!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Detour To A Healthy Dairy Snack

Our county fair is rich in tradition and one hundred seven years of history. What makes each fair special are the families and individuals that are involved in all of the fair activities. Friday at our county fair has always been "Kids Day" which allows all children to come into the fair for free. Today as I watched all the 4-H members in the livestock barn preparing their animals for these special guests, I couldn't help but feel a measure of pride in the dedication of these 4-H members that are devoted to making our county fair a great success. One of my favorite groups of course is the Benton County 4-H Udder Dairy Club. This morning club members used a theme of "Body Under Construction" to draw kids to the dairy area. As children walked through the barn to watch the cows being milked in the parlor, dairy club members were sharing information about their 4-H dairy projects and dairy nutrition,exhibiting their dairy animals and providing a squeezable yogurt for every child attending Kids Day.

Yogurt is a healthy snack choice for any time--at the fair,after school or at work. It provides a package of nine essential nutrients that improve overall diet quality,keep hunger in check, and help provide energy through the day. Besides squeezable yogurt, you might try these yogurt snack ideas:

-Tropical Smoothie: Blend fresh orange slices with strawberry yogurt and ice.

-Freeze squeezable yogurt for a quick and creamy popsicle.

-Parfait Pleaser: Layer granola and fresh fruit with your favorite lowfat yogurt.

You can find other healthy snack suggestions at Think I'll go see if I can find any yogurt on my way back to the fair to work in the Benton County Farm Bureau Petting Zoo!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Today was the first day of our Benton County Fair. Benton County Farm Bureau began sponsoring the petting zoo at least fifteen years ago. I've been the zoo keeper for ten of those years. Kids and adults can pet two baby pigs,chicks,a dairy calf, a goat , a lamb and milk Sophia, our special milking cow. I'm thankful for all the volunteers who willingly help to make the petting zoo a great experience for thousands of kids and their families.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Connecting with Consumers at the Petting Zoo

Rural makes connection with urban this week at the Benton County Fair in Northwest Arkansas. It's a gathering place that preserves our county's rich agricultural history and educates the public about agriculture in our now urbanized area. The fair actually begins its 107th year tomorrow but the fairgrounds was buzzing with activity late this afternoon as trucks and livestock trailers pulled up to the barn to bring the assortment of animals that will be shown by 4-H and FFA members through the week. You could feel the excitement in the air and the anticipation of that possible blue ribbon as the kids moved their animals into the barn!

My sons were kind enough to help me this afternoon to get ready for the fair by setting up the Benton County Farm Bureau Petting Zoo. I'll be unloading my livestock tomorrow in the petting zoo. Our zoo will include baby chicks,a dairy calf, a baby pig,a lamb and a goat. Because most consumers are three generations from having any connection to a farm, providing the petting zoo is a great way to share information about agriculture while having a fun family experience. It's up to the two percent of us who work in agriculture to share how we care for our animals and work to produce safe,affordable food.

More information about our fair can be found at I'm looking forward to all those smiles I will see this week and the chance to talk a little about Benton County agriculture!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Fueling Up with Health Habits

Eat Healthy. Get Active. Make a difference. Those are the messages dairy farmers want to impress on our youth through the Fuel Up to Play 60 school program. It is our hope that this dairy farmer funded program will help combat childhood obesity and help our children to make lifelong healthy choices. Fuel Up to Play 60 utilizes years of nutrition and physical activity experience to focus on the whole picture of healthy living. In the 2009-2010 school year, the program reached thirty six million youth in 60,000 schools. Look on the map provided at to see which schools in your area are participating in Fuel Up to Play 60.

The unique feature of this program is that the kids actually take ownership and responsibility for the decisions they make to create lifelong healthy habits. The program encourages the consumption of low-fat and fat-free dairy, fruits, vegetables and whole grains and 60 minutes of physical activity daily. When a school signs up to participate, a team of students will be chosen to begin selecting goals for their school and plan programs and activities to meet those goals. Utilizing the NFL star power provides initiative for students to work towards their goals while the National Dairy Council provides the nutrition information based on sound scientific research.

You can find more detailed information about the Fuel Up to Play 60 program at

As a dairy farmer and mother, I am very proud that we are working for the health of our youth. Can you make the pledge: Eat Healthy-Get Active-Make a difference? Our youth are watching us!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Are You A Breakfast Champion Mom?

Did you eat your breakfast? That was a pretty standard question each morning before my boys left for school. Milk was and still is part of the usual breakfast menu at our house. Breakfast is essential for fueling the brain for learning. Research has shown that breakfast eaters will experience increased physical energy,creativity and memory, improved attendance, higher math and reading scores and overall better mood.

Midwest Dairy council registered dietitian Bridget Sheehan suggests three simple strategies for making breakfast a habit:

  • If you're pressed for time in the morning,take advantage of school breakfast programs.

  • Be a role model parent. Eat breakfast yourself and with your children when possible.

  • Keep easy-to-serve breakfast foods or grab-and-go options on hand:

-Mom-approved "breakfast bowl" filled with yogurt tubes,string cheese

-Cup of yogurt with animal or graham cracker sticks for dunking

-Trail mix or dried fruit with a plastic re-sealable container of milk

You may want to try this easy breakfast recipe shared by Dairymom Jennifer Gross of South Dakota:

Oatmeal Yogurt Breakfast Blend

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats

3/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt

1/2 cup diced apple

2 tablespoons raisins

2 tablespoons sliced almonds

2 teaspoons brown sugar

dash of cinnamon


Mix all ingredients together and serve. For best taste results, prepare the night before and store in refrigerator. Serves:1

More information about dairy nutrition,recipes and tips to help you be a successful Breakfast Champion Mom can be found at

I'll be thinking about you as your new school year begins and I hope you have a great start to the new school year!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Dairymoms Create and Model Entrepreneurial Style

Dairy farms produce much more than milk--we generate economic activity in our rural communities and invest time and effort into making our communities the best places to live and raise our families. After looking at ways that we might diversify our farming business, Ryan and I decided to launch Anglin Beef. We've always had beef cattle but wanted to try selling packaged frozen beef from our farm to local customers. You will find that there are many farmers who wear the entrepreneurial hat with great style and success.

Hats seem to be a perfect marketing and advertising tool for a farmer so we enlisted our dairymom friend Becky to design a few for our faithful customers. It's the perfect example of entrepreneurial style. Becky lives and works on her family dairy farm in Oklahoma but also is the business owner of Becky's Embroidery Designs. Becky fits the definition of an entrepreneur perfectly--someone who starts a business and is good at finding ways to make money. Modeling my new pink custom embroidered Anglin Beef hat brought smiles and laughter from Becky and our husbands.

I think it is interesting to find out why an entrepreneur selects a particular business. Becky shared with me how she started her embroidery business in 1999. After selling a group of cows, Kenneth and Becky were looking for an investment. Because sewing had always been something she enjoyed, Becky purchased a twelve spool Toyota embroidery machine to begin her embroidery business. Basically, if you need it embroidered, Becky can do the job! Becky organizes and manages her time to keep both customers and her family happy while working on the farm. Just thinking about those twelve different thread spools on that machine and the absolute mess that I could create convinces me that Anglin Beef is the business for me!

Whether it's dairy farming,beef farming or embroidery projects, I would agree completely with what Becky's business card states at the bottom--All things are possible through our Lord Jesus Christ. Mark 10:27! Hope you have a great day!

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Rain and cooler temperatures made us all feel like we were on vacation yesterday. It normally takes ten minutes to bring our dairy cows from pasture to the milk parlor but yesterday's walk took forty five minutes because the cows were enjoying grazing on revived grass. I am so thankful for the soul refreshing rain that we have received and the cooler temperatures for our cows, my family, and our neighbors.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Safeguards for Dairy Food Safety

As a dairy farmer and producer of food for the consuming public, I take food safety very seriously. Dairy products are among the most tested and regulated foods in our nation. Before dairy foods reach the grocery store, dairy farms and processing plants must meet stringent federal and state regulations that are in place by the U.S. Department of Agriculture,FDA and state regulatory agencies. From the birth of a baby calf in our pasture to the dairy cow being milked in our milk parlor, we are doing everything in our power on the farm to make sure our dairy cattle are healthy and well cared for to assure production of safe,high quality milk.

Producing safe milk is the priority of every dairy farmer. These are ways we work to provide wholesome,safe milk on the farm:

-follow strict sanitary procedures each time the cow is milked and work to keep all

equipment clean

-milk is never touched by human hands because the milk flows directly from the cow through a

stainless steel pipe into a refrigerated tank

-cool the milk in the tank to 45 degrees F or less within two hours after completion of milking

-keep milk refrigerated at or below 40 degrees until transported to the processing plant

Safe milk handling continues at the processing plant by checking the temperature of the milk to ensure it has been kept at or below 40 degrees F during distribution and delivered within 48 hours after the cow has been milked. The milk is then pasteurized,homogenized, packaged, and distributed. These are facts about pasteurization:

- Pasteurization is the scientific process used to kill any harmful microorganisms that might be present in the milk by heating the milk to 161 degrees Fahrenheit for 15 seconds and then cooling it rapidly.

- Pasteurization is a critical step in the production of safe milk.

-Pasteurization assures milk safety and also extends the shelf life of the milk.

-There is no scientific evidence to suggest that there is any meaningful difference the nutritional value of pasteurized and unpasteurized milk.

- Because of pasteurization, less than 1.5 percent of annual food borne illness outbreaks in the United States involve dairy foods.

Are you concerned about the safety of milk or the dairy foods you purchase? I'd love to answer any questions or respond to concerns. You can find more detailed information about milk production and how we produce safe dairy products at

Thursday, August 4, 2011

"Blue Q.Red Chek" Quality

While running errands this morning, I spotted the Hiland Dairy truck making a delivery to a local coffee shop. Seeing the truck reminded me of a question that I was recently asked while giving a tour of our dairy farm--Where do we sell our milk? As members of Dairy Farmers of America Cooperative, our milk is marketed and sold by the cooperative. Our milk actually goes to the Hiland Dairy plant in Fayetteville for bottling. If you buy Hiland Dairy milk, you may be drinking milk from our farm or another family dairy farm in our area.

Hiland Dairy actually started in 1938 in Springfield,Missouri, by two men and a fifty cow dairy herd. The Hiland business was sold to Prairie Farms Dairy,Inc. and Dairy Farmers of America,Incorporated, in 1979. Currently, Hiland has eight manufacturing plants located in Missouri,Nebraska,Oklahoma,Kansas and Arkansas. Hiland's wide variety of dairy products are endorsed with the Quality Chekd trademark (the "Blue Q.Red Chek") that assures consumers are getting the best in fresh,wholesome and delicious dairy foods.

You can find more information about Hiland Dairy, great recipes, and coupons at It takes quality milk for quality dairy products--from our farm to your table!

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

You don't need a thermometer to know it is beastly and dangerously hot for our dairy cows and us. As I was watering plants in the yard and garden after feeding baby calves, I found Skittles, one of our farm dogs, enjoying the wet dirt under the garden corn. I'm thankful that on these hot and challenging days of drought on the farm, we still have plenty to smile about and be reminded of the blessings we enjoy daily.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Summer Time Kitchen Relief

I didn't have to flip the calendar to August to know it was the dog days of summer! We've been having temperatures above 100 degrees for almost three weeks and breaking heat and humidity records for our area. Due to the heat, we have changed our chore schedule to try avoiding the very hottest times in the afternoon and make sure our animals are as comfortable as possible.

After feeding calves and working in the yard and garden, I'm not too anxious to come into the house to cook. However, the farmers of the family will be expecting something when they arrive for lunch. If you are feeling this way about summer time kitchen duties and need summer time kitchen relief like me, you can find some interesting and easy dairy recipes at I plan to try Summer Fruit and Pasta Toss to go with today's hot summer time menu.

Summer Fruit and Pasta Toss


8 ounces whole wheat spiral pasta,uncooked

1 1/2 cups cubed cantaloupe(about 1/2 of cantaloupe)

1 1/2 cups cubed pineapple(about 1/2 of pineapple)

1 1/4 cups strawberries,sliced

1 cup halved seedless grapes

1 1/2 cups (12 ounces) low fat yogurt


Cook pasta according to package instructions,drain and cool in refrigerator for 10 minutes.

While pasta is cooking,prepare fruit and place in large serving bowl. Once pasta has cooled, add to bowl. Gently mix yogurt into pasta mixture. Chill for 30 minutes in refrigerator before serving.

Thanks to Minnesota Dairymom Kristine Spadgenske for sharing her recipe with us!