Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

When I saw these cows resting in the pasture early one morning this last week, I thought about the phrase in the the 23rd Psalm--"he maketh me lie down  in green pastures".  I'm thankful for the green pastures of springtime!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Registered Dieticians Rock!

Just a few weeks ago, I attended the Arkansas Farm Bureau Women's Conference in Little Rock. It's always great to see friends from across the state and share information and ideas that will help us in our mission to educate about agriculture. I'll have to admit I was proud to attend the workshop that was presented by  Midwest Dairy's registered dietician Ashley Anderson about the Fuel Up to Play 60 program that is funded by dairy farmers. Fuel Up to Play 60 empowers youth to be physically active and choose tasty nutrient-rich foods in the school environment.

Midwest Dairy employs several dieticians that work across the Midwest educating consumers about good nutrition and the benefits of dairy foods. As I listened to Ashley's presentation, I was reminded of the importance of the registered dietician's role to the success of the Fuel Up to Play 60 program. Registered dieticians are involved from the moment a school enrolls in the program educating and advising the adults and students as they make changes in school nutrition that will impact life-long nutrition and health habits. Providing this expertise to schools is one reason I believe the Fuel Up to Play 60 program will meet the objective to solve the childhood obesity crisis.

You can learn more about the Fuel Up to Play 60 program at or My heartfelt thanks to all of our registered dieticians in the Midwest and across the nation that are making a difference for our children's health.  Registered Dieticians--You Rock!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Foodie Facts about Dairy Food Safety

Dairy foods are the safest and most regulated foods available due to proper milking procedures,animal care, and pasteurization. For over 100 years, pasteurization has been the key to providing safe,nutrient-rich milk and cheese. During pasteurization, the temperature of milk is raised to 145 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes or to at least 161 degrees Fahrenehit for more than 15 seconds and then rapidly cooled. Pasteurization kills any harmful pathogens that are found in raw milk.

According to the Raw Milk Fact Sheet provided by Midwest Dairy, here are some proven facts about milk and pasteurization:
  • Pasteurization DOES kill harmful bacteria.
  • Pasteurization DOES save lives.
  • Raw milk DOES NOT kill dangerous pathogens by itself.
  • Pasteurizing milk DOES NOT cause lactose intolerance and allergic reactions.
  • Both raw milk and pasteurized milk can cause allergic reactions in people sensitive to milk proteins.
  • Pasteurization DOES NOT reduce milk's nutritional value.
  • The American Medical Associaton and the American Academy of Pediatrics endorse the importance of pasteurization and warn against raw milk consumption especially for children,pregnant women,the elderly, and those with compromised immune systems.
Even though it is a violation of federal law to sell raw milk for consumer use across state lines, raw milk regulations vary by state and some states allow the sale of raw milk within their borders. Arkansas does not allow raw milk sales in the state.

The Food and Drug Administration advises consumers to avoid raw milk and offers these tips when buying milk or milk products:
  • Read the label on milk or milk products before you buy them. Many companies put the word "pasteurized" right on the label, but it is not required by law.
  • Ask store employees if specific brands are pasteurized.
  • At farm stands or farmers' markets, ask if the milk and cream being sold have been pasteurized. If the market sells yogurt,ice cream or cheese, as if they were made with pasteurized milk.
You can find more information about dairy food safety and the benefits of milk pasteurization at Dairy farmers and the dairy industry overall have a history of providing safe and healthy products.  It's a fact---consuming pasteurized milk is a matter of food safety.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Recipe for Upside Down Week

The dairy cows have adapted to Daylight Savings Time really well but I'm still  feeling out of sorts from losing that one hour of sleep! Actually, the whole week was crazy and I found myself looking for a delicious and easy to fix recipe for Friday night supper. I found Inside-Out Cabbage Rolls on the Midwest Dairy website and it fit the criteria for the end of my crazy upside down week perfectly!

Inside-Out Cabbage Rolls

1 lb lean ground beef
1 large onion,chopped
1 large green pepper,chopped
1 small head cabbage,chopped
1 can (10oz) diced tomatoes and green chilies
1 cup reduced sodium beef broth
1 can (8oz) pizza sauce
1 cup cooked brown rice
1/2 cup shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese

In a Dutch oven, cook the beef,onion,and green pepper over medium heat until meat is no longer pink; drain. Stir in the cabbage, tomatoes,broth and pizza sauce. Bring mixture to a boil.Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until cabbage is tender; stirring occasionally. Stir in the rice; heat through. Remove from the heat. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover and let stand until cheese is melted.

                                           You can find this and other great dairy recipes at
My family gave this recipe the thumbs up and I definitely would recommend it for any upside down week!
                                                             Happy Friday!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Even though it was dreary and raining as we traveled home today from a meeting in Kansas City, it was evident that spring has arrived  as we passed   green fields and flowering redbud and dogwood   trees.   I am thankful to be back home safely to the dairy farm and for  the view of spring  to enjoy from my own front door.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Hoof Trimming Artistry

Yesterday's schedule included the monthly visit from our cows' podiatrist, commonly known as the "hoof trimmer".  Providing hoof care prevents lameness that creates discomfort and leads to decreased milk production. It's a fact---high quality milk is produced from cows that are healthy and comfortable. One of the most common hoof problems for cows on our farm is when the hooves grow long in the front of the hoof making it difficult for the cow to walk.

Ben, our hoof trimming specialist, identifies hoof problems and works with precision and great skill to carefully trim each hoof as needed. He brings a special hoof trimming table that allows each cow to be treated individually. One by one, each cow walks into a chute that is connected to the hoof trimming table. Once secured in the chute, the hydraulic equipment secures the cow to the table and turns the cow on her side. After trimming the hooves, the cow is turned to the standing positon released from the chute and ready to eat or return to the pasture to rest. I find it amazing to watch how Ben works much like an artist, carefully making sure every precise movement of his tool results in a perfect hoof shape to provide comfort for the cow when walking.

I'm thankful for professionals, like Ben,  that work with us to make sure our  dairy cows are healthy and comfortable and able to produce  high-quality milk for my family and yours!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Walking from the feed barn yesterday, I noticed all these birds gathering on top of the pipe next to the commodity barn where feed is stored.

Watching these birds fly from what appeared to be mass confusion to perfect order, I thought how thankful I am for the many ways  nature's perfection is displayed  to me  everyday on the dairy farm.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Contented Cows

Today was a beautiful day in Northwest Arkansas and a perfect day to be working outside on the dairy farm. While waiting on our veterinarian to arrive for our scheduled herd health check-up day, I walked over to the feed barn to watch the cows eat after being milked this morning. I love watching contented cows eat their balanced and nutritious diet designed by our dairy nutritionist.

Everyday our milking cows are fed a total mixed feed ration of grain,silage and hay. All of the feed ingredients are measured,mixed together in a large mixer wagon and fed to the cows in the feed barn. We monitor how our cows are eating and enjoying their feed everyday because the cows' health,milk production and reproduction are dependent on good nutrition.

Our commitment to producing  high quality milk begins with taking good care of our cows by providing a nutritious diet, good medical care and healthy living conditions. As I watched the cows eating, I couldn't help wondering if those cows were as contented as me!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Chocolate Lover's Challenge

As Benton County Farm Bureau Women's Committee members, my friend Tara and I volunteered to serve as two of the eight judges for the county 4-H baking contest last week. Participants of the contest were given recipes for banana bread,biscuits,snicker doodle cookies, and chocolate cake.  Our assignment was to judge the chocolate cake. For two chocolate lovers this seemed like a real treat  but by the twenty-eighth piece of chocolate cake that we had to taste and judge, it became quite a challenge to judge each piece. At the end of the morning, we agreed  that chocolate cake was no longer   our favorite flavor. If we get invited to judge next year, we've already decided to ask to judge the biscuits!

Although I've avoided chocolate of any kind since our judging experience,I do plan to make my family's favorite chocolate cake later this week.

Chocolate Sheath Cake

1 stick butter
1/2 cup Crisco
4 Tablespoons cocoa
1 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 tsp soda
2 eggs,slightly beaten

Bring butter,Crisco,cocoa,and water to a rapid boil. Pour over the sugar and flour and beat well. Add buttermilk and soda,vanilla,cinnamon and eggs. Beat, then bake at 400 degrees F. in metal loaf pan for 20 minutes. Cover with the following.

1 stick butter
4 Tablespoons cocoa
3 1/2 cups powdered sugar,sifted
6 Tablespoons milk
1 cup pecans
1 teaspoon vanilla

Bring butter,cocoa, and milk to boil. Add powdered sugar,vanilla and pecans. Beat well and pour over cake while hot.
Options: No nuts needed

For the perfect addition to this recipe, pour a tall glass of cold milk or add a big dip of vanilla ice cream!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Happy National Agriculture Day!  It's a great day to celebrate and bring recognition to   America's farmers for  producing the safest,most affordable and available food supply. It's a fact that one farmer supplies food for more than 144 people in the United States and abroad compared with just 25.8 people in 1960 and on less land every year.  I'm thankful for all of the farm families that are working everyday to make sure we have a safe and secure food supply.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Super Tuesday--Dairy Style

Even though we didn't have elections in Arkansas  today on Super Tuesday, this has been a Super Tuesday for having new calves born on the dairy farm. We have baby calves born throughout the year but in the spring and fall of each year, a group of heifers will give birth to their first calf.  Right now we are waiting on thirty six heifers to give birth in the next couple of weeks.

Calving season, in my opinion, is more exciting than the political season because we are anxiously waiting  to add these new heifers to the milking herd to insure the continuance of our family dairy farm. It is a great feeling of accomplishment to watch theses dairy heifers that have been born and raised on our dairy farm grow and develop and produce their first calf. Our commitment to providing high-quality milk begins with taking good care of our cows and heifers and begins at birth.

We've been anticipating the arrival of new calves for several weeks and today was a hotbed of activity as two heifers and one cow gave birth within just a few hours. It's not really unusual to have two or three new calves to care for when a group of heifers are calving but today's births brought us to twelve new calves in three days. Adding more calves at bottle feeding time gives new meaning to Super Tuesday for us on the dairy!

Monday, March 5, 2012

How Do You Get Your Plate in Shape?

National Nutrition Month is the perfect time to think about your overall health and well being and consider how to improve your food choices for better nutrition. Since the 1980's, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics has been bringing recognition to nutrition in the month of March to improve the nation's health.

"Get Your Plate in Shape" this month with these tips (
  • Make half your plate fruits and vegetables
  • Make at least half your grains whole
  • Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk
  • Vary your protein choices
  • Cut back on sodium and empty calories from solid fats and added sugars
  • Enjoy your food but eat less
  • Be physically active your way
As a dairy farmer and dairymom, I take great pride in providing high-quality milk that plays an important role for good nutrition for children and adults. Families can choose from a variety of milk, cheese and yogurt products to meet their taste and nutritional goals. It's a fact: that together, milk,cheese, and yogurt play a critical role in providing nine essential nutrients, including calcium,magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus, in addition to 48 percent daily value of protein.

You can find more information about ways to improve your plate and nutritious recipes at or

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Wagon Full of Love

Several years ago I found a small wagon seat stuffed in the back of an old garage on our farm. The wagon seat had been used on a small wagon pulled by a team of mules  to haul wood in the early 1920's by Ryan's grandfather.  The boards on the wagon seat were very weathered and rotten but in good enough shape to sit on the patio and hold a few colorful summer potted plants. A few weeks ago, the wagon finally rotted and fell completely apart. I mentioned to youngest son Casey that I would give up on the wagon and throw it away.  The rotten boards and metal springs disappeared soon after my remark and I assumed it was carried to the dumpster.

Last week I was shocked when Casey presented me with the rebuilt wagon seat. I was speechless and deeply touched by this thoughtful gift.  Casey and a friend with carpentry experience spent several evenings secretly working to rebuild the wagon just for me.  It is a great keepsake for me and our family because it connects us to Grandfather Grover and the establishment of our family farm.  This sentimental gift of the heart is truly priceless and too precious to sit out in the weather but it's perfect for my indoor plants and interesting conversation connecting the past and present. It's not every wagon seat that is so full of love and has a fourth generation story to tell!