Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Through the year I volunteer  for the Benton County Farm Bureau Women's Committee. Our committee works to educate others about agriculture, promote agriculture, and  support youth involved in  agricultural activities.  As I prepared a report about the committee's activities in this last year, I thought about one of my favorite activities.   I'm thankful for all the opportunities I have had this past year to talk to children about dairy and enjoy the delight of children when they milk Freida, the Arkansas Farm Bureau cow.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Cinna-Yummy Rice Cereal in Six Easy Steps

Are you looking for a new idea for breakfast?  Rice and dairy are a winning nutritional combination to get your day started in the right direction.  I found this recipe several years ago  in the Kids in the Kitchen booklet produced by the USA Rice Federation.  You can find more information about rice and rice recipes at

Cinna-Yummy Rice Cereal

1 cup cooked rice
2/3 cup milk
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/4  teaspoon ground cinnamon
       Fresh blueberries,raspberries or strawberries*

1. Combine rice,milk,brown sugar and cinnamon in small saucepan.
2. Turn burner to medium heat.
3. Place saucepan on burner,cook and stir until thick and creamy, about 10 minutes.
4. Turn burner off.
5. Spoon rice cereal into small bowl; cool 3 minutes.
6. Top with fresh berries.

Makes 1 serving.

*Or use sliced peaches or bananas,if desired.

Microwave Instructions:
1. Combine rice,milk,brown sugar and cinnamon in small microwave-safe bowl.
2. Cook on high power for 1 minute and 30 seconds.
3. Stir well.
4. Cook on high power for 45 seconds.
5. Remove bowl from microwave.
6. Stir well,let cool 3 minutes.
7. Top with fresh berries.

Hope you have a very dairy good day!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Dairy Technology Yields Efficiency

It's easy to work every day on the dairy farm and take for granted how utilizing dairy science and technology allows us to produce a nutritious product with great efficiency.  Last week when I was gathering cow information from one of our young employees, I noticed he was looking at the antique wall telephone hanging in our kitchen and comparing it to the cell phone he was holding in his hand.  "Did they really use that phone?" he asked. I explained to him that this was the original phone used on our third generation farm in the early 1930's and was also the community phone used for emergencies by many neighbors. Telephone technology provides efficiency on the farm.  We use our cell phones every day to record information with pictures and data and communicate with each other about farm activities. Our conversation then turned to how technology has improved dairy farming and our everyday life on the farm. When our farm was established in the late 1920's, there was no electricity,no telephone,a few cows were milked by hand, and apple crops went to market by a wagon pulled by a team of mules.  That phrase,"you've come a long way,baby"--keeps coming to mind!

Efficiency is one of the core elements of sustainability on any farm.  Today's dairy farmers are producing almost three times more milk with about half the number of cows compared to 1960.  Improved genetics, feed and management have enabled dairy farms to become more efficient and productive. Efficiency-enhancing technologies also reduce resource usage on the farm. Compared to 1944, producing a gallon of milk today uses 65% less water,uses 90% less land, produces 76% less manure, and has decreased the carbon footprint by 63%.(Capper,J.,Cady,R. and Bauman,D. 2009."The environmental impact of dairy production:1944 compared with 2007".J.Anim.Sci.87:2160-2167.)  You can find more information  about sustainability and dairy farming  at

Thank goodness today we have cell phones, electricity, milk in a milk parlor with electric milking machines,cool the milk in a refrigerated tank and have tractors and equipment to feed our three hundred dairy cows every day.  It's hard for me to imagine not having all these necessities that my mother-in-law considered a convenience!
Our commitment to producing high quality milk on our family dairy farm  includes caring for our dairy animals and protecting our natural resources by using sound science and technology for the greatest efficiencies.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dairymom's Fall Yard Harvest

Happy Fall Ya'll!  It's finally here after our long,hot dry summer.  I love every season and the changes that we enjoy and adapt to as we work on the dairy farm everyday.  Yesterday's perfect first day of fall in Northwest Arkansas inspired me to work in the yard after feeding calves in the afternoon.  I'm not wishing my life away, but one of my fall chores is going to get me ready for spring!  I planted several caladium plants in pots in the shady areas of my yard.  My plan is to try saving the caladium bulbs for planting next spring.  The caladiums are still pretty but beginning to look a little tired after summer.  Experts say it is time to dig the bulbs when the leaves begin to turn brown and the plant stops growing.  You must dig the bulbs before frost.  When I decide the day has arrived to dig the bulbs, these are the steps to follow according to online expert gardeners:
  • Remove the bulbs with a hand tool such as a trowel by loosening the soil around the bulbs and then gently tugging to pull up.
  • Don't cut into the bulbs because this could cause them to rot.
  • If small bulbs are attached, you can leave them and divide into new plants in the spring if desired.
  • Let the bulbs dry for 1 week, then remove the soil and pack in single layer in dry peat moss or vermiculite;you may also store bulbs  in a cardboard box or hang in mesh bags.
  • Store in single layer at 50 degree temperature.
  • Check bulbs frequently for rotting.
Hopefully, I still have a few weeks to enjoy this colorful plant before frost!  I'd love to hear any tips or tricks  about your experience with saving caladium bulbs.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday


Quality milk begins with caring for our animals everyday on the dairy farm. One of my daily chores is to feed and care for the baby calves. Every heifer calf that we raise is important to the future of our milking herd.   I'm thankful for each new calf that is born on our farm and for the opportunity to live and work on a dairy farm. 

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Chocolate Milk-A Healthy Choice

Chocolate milk has been a favorite healthy choice for a very long time.  I can remember enjoying chocolate milk when I was in elementary school  fifty years ago. Choices then were limited to whole white or chocolate milk.  In the last five years, the dairy industry has responded to nutrition concerns about flavored milk by developing reduced or fat-free milk and reduced the added sugar. In fact, the amount of added sugar in flavored milk has declined by thirty percent.  All milk has 12 grams of natural sugar straight from the cow.  Fat-free chocolate milk has 22 grams of total sugar, that's twelve grams from naturally-occurring lactose and 10 grams of added sugar.

Flavored milk is a healthy choice because it contains the same nine essential nutrients just like white milk.  The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans listed four nutrients of concern for adults and children: calcium,vitamin D, potassium and dietary fiber. White and chocolate milk contain three of these: calcium,vitamin D and potassium.  Low consumption of these nutrients can affect not only health in childhood but in the future.  Here's a few facts about  flavored milk:
  • kids who drink flavored milk meet more of their nutrient needs
  • kids who drink flavored milk do not consume more added sugar,fat or calories
  • kids who drink flavored milk  are not heavier than non-milk drinkers
  • studies have shown when chocolate milk is removed from the menu, kids drink less milk and get fewer nutrients
Bessie, the Midwest Dairy Cow, invites you to find more  information about flavored milk and dairy nutrition at  I just love hanging around with Bessie, how about you?

Monday, September 19, 2011

How to Make How Now Brown Cow Pudding in Eight Easy Steps

As the harvest continues in the  Arkansas rice fields in September, we'll enjoy cooking with rice and celebrating the harvest with our east Arkansas farmer friends.   For a midweek treat for your family, you may want to try this Kids in the Kitchen recipe from  the USA Rice Federation.

How Now Brown Cow
Chocolate Rice Pudding

2 1/2 cups milk
2 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Combine milk,rice,sugar and chocolate chips in 2-to3-quart saucepan.
2. Place saucepan on burner and turn to medium heat.
3. Cook,stirring often,until pudding is thick and creamy, about 20 minutes.
4. Turn burner off.
5. Remove saucepan from heat and place on hot pad.
6. Stir in vanilla.
7. Spoon into serving dishes; cool 10 minutes.
8. Serve warm or cold

Makes: 6 servings

Have a dairy good week!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Dairy Builds Bone for Healthy Aging

As I anticipate a visit to the doctor for my yearly check-up, I'm thinking about my healthy and unhealthy habits that I will be quizzed about,confess to and take responsibiity for my actions or lack of action.  As a Baby Boomer born in the mid fifties, I really wasn't thinking I would get old some day.  Guess what --I'm aging!  The first time the doctor used the phrase,"at your age", I realized that I was transitioning into my era of healthy aging.

Healthy bones are needed for healthy aging.  Do you ever think about how important your bones are? Bones give support, allow movement, protect your heart, lungs and brain from injury and store vital minerals.  Calcium and Vitamin D  are needed for strong bones.  According to the National Institute of Health, calcium is one of the nutrients most likely to be lacking in the American diet and has been singled out as a major public health concern.   Calcium deficiency can lead to osteoporosis.  Osteoporosis weakens bones and may result in fracture of the spine,hip or wrist.  Although osteoporosis is considered a woman's disease, it can also affect men. 

Bone health begins in early childhood.  Healthy nutritonal choices begin  in early childhood  and have a huge impact on healthy aging.  The strength of our bones depends on their size and density which depends in part on the amount of calcium, phosphorus and other minerals bones contain. Our bones have been continuously changing since childhood,reaching peak bone mass around age thirty.  The higher your peak bone mass is at age thirty, the less likely you will develop osteoporosis as you age.  Including calcium rich dairy foods such as milk,yogurt and cheese in your daily diet can reduce the risk of osteoporosis.You can find helpful nutrition information at

It's never too late to evaluate your health habits and strive for improvements. Osteoporosis prevention includes:
  • Adequate amounts of calcium
  • Adequate amounts of vitamin D
  • Regular weight bearing exercise such as walking,jogging,running, or stair climbing.
Recommended calcium intakes and other information about bone health can be found at the National Institue of Health website:
Healthy habits help us keep the bones we have.   What are you doing for bone health "at your age"?

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

  A cool  weather front moved in to Northwest Arkansas today and it is a welcome relief to dairy cows and dairy farmers. I'm not going to miss summer one bit (at least not until we have twenty four inches of snow).   I am thankful for the  cooler weather so  our cows will be more comfortable, will eat more and produce more milk!

Daily Care Provides Quality Milk

After feeding baby calves this morning, I went back to look at each calf that has been born since the beginning of September.  We have added twenty to our group so far and about eighty more to be born! Although we will have calves born through the year, we usually have a group of heifers to calve in the fall.  We will have a total of thirty heifers this fall.  Adding heifers to the milking herd is important to the future of our farm.  It's one of my daily jobs to feed and monitor the health of each calf when brought to the calf hutch area.  For the first eight weeks, each calf is raised in an individual hutch, fed milk and grain twice a day and monitored closely for any illness.


While I was checking calves, Casey was in the pasture checking on the cows and heifers that will be calving today and in the next two weeks.  Next to the calves in hutches is a group of babies that we weaned last week.  As I looked at each group, I  thought about this full cycle of growth and development of our dairy cattle.   Everyday on the farm we are taking care of our animals  through every phase of their growth by providing nutritious food, appropriate medical care and comfortable surroundings.  Caring for our animals is how we provide quality milk!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Celebrating Arkansas Rice Month on the Dairy Farm

Arkansas farmers have faced extreme weather conditions in every season this year.  Although our crops and animals have been stressed with the extreme drought and heat, we are thankful that fall is evidenced by the cooler weather and harvest time. While we are beginning to harvest our hay and corn silage crop in Northwest Arkansas, our farmer friends on the east side of the state are beginning rice harvesting.  Here are a few Arkansas rice facts:
  • Arkansas ranks #1 in rice production in the United States.
  • Rice is planted on 1.3 million acres in Arkansas.
  • The Arkansas rice industry contributes one billion dollars to our state's economy.
  • Managed rice fields and natural wetlands provide wintering habitat for migratory and wintering waterfowl.
Last week Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe declared September as Arkansas Rice Month. I'm celebrating the rice harvest  and supporting Arkansas rice farmers by trying a few new rice recipes this month.  I found Taco Ricos in a recipe booklet produced by USA Rice Federation.

Taco Ricos
1 lb lean ground beef or turkey
1 16 oz. jar prepared chunky salsa
11/2 cups precooked rice, uncooked
11/2 cups water
1 11oz. can corn,drained
1 cup (4oz.) shredded Monterey Jack Cheese
18 flour or corn tortillas,warmed

Brown beef or turkey in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; drain fat and liquid, if necessary. Stir in salsa,rice,water,corn. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low,cover and simmer 5 minutes or until rice is tender and no liquid remains. Spoon 1/3 cup mixture in each tortilla, top with about 1 tbsp. cheese; roll up and serve.

You can find other recipes and great information about rice at Do you have a favorite rice recipe  for Arkansas Rice Month?

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Remembering 9-11-2001

                                                        On God, my salvation and my glory rest;
                                                        The rock of my strength,my refuge is in God.
                                                        Trust in Him at all times,O people;
                                                         Pour out your heart before Him;
                                                         God is a refuge for us.
                                                                                  Psalm 62:7-8

                            May we never forget the sacrifices made by fellow citizens on 9-11-2001. 
                                                          God Bless America!


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Dairy Delivers Commitment 24/7

Although the calendar says it is still summer, it's got the feel of fall with the cool eighty degree days and fifty degree nights in Northwest Arkansas.  On the farm, fall means time for harvesting. Fall harvesting for us includes chopping corn for silage to feed the cows, baling and wrapping hay and closely watching our dairy cows and heifers give birth to a new crop of baby calves.  We have brought both cows and heifers that are due to calve in the next two weeks to the pasture next to our house for closer monitoring during the day and night.  It is our hope that each cow or heifer will calve in the field without assistance but if assistance is needed, we can quickly move the animal to our maternity ward  which is a small open barn with three clean stalls filled with sawdust bedding for the cows to lie on and access to water.

Fall calving has begun! Yesterday we had four new calves born. Two calves were born in the field during the day and two at midnight. When the two cows at midnight were not progressing in their labor it was decided that assistance was needed. Both cows were walked to the maternity barn, put in seperate stalls and examined for progress. Delivery assistance was needed for both cows because the calves were coming backwards (feet first). Close observation and delivery assistance saved both calves.  From our dairy farming experience  it's obvious  that dairy cows and heifers do not check the clock for convenient delivery times!

You can find more information about dairy farming at  Our commitment to providing high quality milk begins with taking good care of our dairy heifers,cows and calves.  It's a 24/7, 365 day commitment!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Before receiving three inches of rain just a month ago, it looked like we would have no hay to harvest.  Today I am very thankful that we cut,baled and wrapped  139 large bales of haygrazer to feed our dairy and beef cows through the fall and winter.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Perfect Dairy Project for Drought

Instead of making hay while the sun shines, we've been digging in the lagoon during the dry weather.  Our lagoon is basically a large pond that sits at the end of the dairy cow feed barn.  Its purpose is to provide protection for our land and water quality by capturing any water or manure from the feed barn.  Since being built in 1988, the lagoon has never been completely emptied or cleaned out.  Drought conditions this summer made this the perfect time for cleaning out the lagoon and refurbishing the banks under the technical guidance of the Conservation District. 

Because milking the cows and caring for our dairy animals takes priority, it has taken several weeks to complete this project. The project began in July with pumping the water and progressed to scooping out the solids in the bottom. Labor Day weekend was the grand finale of the lagoon cleaning with a bulldozer operator sculpting the sides of the lagoon bank to allow us an easier angle for mowing and maintainence.

Caring for our natural resources is a responsibility that we take seriously because we live and work on our land.  The lagoon is an important part of our manure management system that meets the requirements of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality and allows us to recycle the water and manure that is produced on our farm to fertilize the soil for  our crops and pastures while protecting the  land and water for us and our neighbors.

We celebrated the completion of this project with a steak dinner, a tall glass of milk,   and a big sigh of relief.
Now--let it rain,let it rain,let it rain!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Labor Day Resolution for Encouragement

After the extreme heat and drought of this summer, the cooler fifty degree temperature this morning brought smiles to my family as we finished breakfast,dressed in jeans and sweatshirts instead of shorts and sleeveless shirts and went outside to feed baby calves and bring cows to the barn to be milked. As I returned to the house after feeding baby calves, even the flowers in the yard seemed to be breathing a sigh of relief! Although resolutions are usually made at the beginning  of the New Year, today I feel like Labor Day is a time of renewal and refreshment as we begin our harvest season for our corn and hay crops.

Making a plan and setting priorities is important to the success of any accomplishment. My list of resolutions includes a mixture of personal goals and home and garden chores that often end at the bottom of every list. At the top of the list is to be more attentive to the time I spend in prayer and Bible study.  It is so easy for me to become discouraged and think negatively when faced with challenges that are beyond our control like the weather and the input costs of farming.  Labor Day and all my other days will be successful and I will be encouraged if I remember Proverbs 3:5-6:
               " Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
                 In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."

Do you have a resolution for Labor Day?

Friday, September 2, 2011

Celebrating Seasons on the Dairy Farm

Although we will be milking our cows and caring for our dairy cattle everyday of the Labor Day weekend,it is still a time to celebrate the seasons of change. While you may be planning the weekend trip to visit family, the football game or make the last summer outing to the lake, I'm celebrating the fact that today I finally found okra in my garden. Even though okra thrives on hot weather, I really wasn't sure I would have any okra to harvest due to the excessive heat,drought and the insects that come with it. For weeks I have watched for blooms and hoped the plants could overcome the summer stress. Finally, blooms appeared this week and just like magic--okra!

Sometime during this weekend, I hope to have a mess (that's Arkansas talk) to fry for the family. I haven't planned my menu for the weekend but I'm sure it will include grilling hamburgers or steaks to go with my okra. Seasonal celebrations also include recipes that are quick and easy to prepare like BBQ-Ranch Quesadilla Wedges.

BBQ-Ranch Quesadilla Wedges


1 package (16 ounces) frozen pepper stir-fry blend(green,yellow,red)peppers

1/4 cup diced onion

1 1/2 cups prepared shredded barbecue beef

1/4 cup barbecue sauce

1/2 cup light ranch dressing

8 (8in.) whole wheat tortilla

1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Non-stick cooking spray


Prepare stir-fry pepper blend with diced onion added and heat barbecue beef according to package directions.While vegetables and beef are cooking,mix barbecue sauce and ranch dressing in small serving bowl; set aside for dipping sauce.

On a tortilla, evenly layer 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons each of shredded beef and cheese. Add about 1/4 to 1/2 cup vegetables. Cover with a second tortilla.

Repeat for total of 4 quesadillas. Spray large skillet or counter-top grill with non-stick cooking spray. Cook each quesadilla for 3 minutes on each side or until golden and cheese is melted.

Cut into 8 wedges; serve with barbecue-ranch.

Substitution Idea:

For fajita-ranch quesadillas, substitute chicken strips for the shredded beef. Mix light ranch dressing with salsa instead of barbecue sauce for dipping.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

You can find other great recipes for your family at While I'm enjoying my fried okra and working on the farm this weekend I hope you and your family enjoy a dairy good Labor Day!

Celebrating Seasons on the Dairy Farm