Friday, June 29, 2012

Dairy Diversion for Hot Weather

As a diversion from the hot weather and stressful weather conditions that we are experiencing on the dairy farm, I'm thinking about next week's holiday celebration that we will enjoy as a family. Even though fireworks won't be part of our July 4th celebration due to the drought, we will be making our traditional freezer of ice cream to go with our hamburgers and hotdogs! If I can find some ripe peaches, I'm going to try this recipe I found in my Jim Graham's Farm Family Cookbook for City Folks which is a collection of recipes from a lot of good cooks in North Carolina.

Fresh Peach Ice Cream

1 quart milk
1 10-ounce package of marshmallows
2 cups sugar
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups Half & Half dairy creamer
3 cups mashed fresh peaches

Combine milk and marshmallows in Dutch oven. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until marshmallows melt; remove from heat. Add sugar and remaining ingredients; mix well. chill. Pour mixture into freezer container of gallon hand-turned or electric ice cream freezer. Freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Pack freezer with additional ice and salt, and let stand for 1 to 2 hours to ripen before serving.

                     Hope you have a safe, dairy good July 4th!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

While June Dairy Month has been celebrated in a variety of ways in our community, I'm thankful for the opportunity to live and work everyday with my dairy farm  family   to produce a nutritious product for all of us to enjoy!
                  Thank-you for celebrating with us this month!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Dairy Water Patrol

It is a serious problem when you have thirsty dairy cattle any day but even worse on 100 plus degree days! Early this morning,while patrolling the water tanks, it was discovered that we had no water available for the dairy cows to drink in hte water tanks located in the pastures and the feed barn. After determining it wasn't an easy fix, we called for the repairman's help and  began  our  emergency no-water plan.

Water is an important nutrient year round for our dairy cows. A plentiful supply of good,clean water  is needed for milk production and proper growth and metabolism. A dairy cow will typically drink a bathtub full of water every day and that amount increases even more when the temperatures rise above 90 degrees.

Our morning was spent hauling water from a separate water system to the water tanks in the feed barn and pastures while waiting for the pump repair man to restore the system. By early afternoon, the water was flowing freely and we were feeling great relief to know that the water system had been restored and the cattle would have plenty to drink.

Water tank patrol is  part of our everyday routine in taking care of our dairy cows and providing high-quality milk for all of us to enjoy! 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Drive Easy with Dairy

No matter what age or stage of life, exercise and good nutrition are   important for good health. A few weeks ago, my sons presented me with a new Panama Jack Huffy bicycle for my birthday. It's a drive easy dream and  everything I desired--no hand gears or hand brakes,big tires for easy dirt road riding,comfortable seat, normal positioned handle bars and of course,girly looking. The drive around the dairy on my new bicycle is easy on the flat ground but I definitely need refueling when I reach the top of the hills!!

Dairy is a drive easy choice because it plays a critical role in the daily diet to  provide nine essential nutrients. One of my favorite drive easy dairy choices is chocolate milk. According to information provided by Midwest Dairy (, chocolate milk is a great choice after exercise because:
  • it is 90% water and replaces fluids to prevent dehydration
  • the carbohydrate in milk fuels muscles during exercise and refuels muscles after exercise
  • the protein in milk contains all the essential amino acids to maintain healthy muscles
  • milk provides potassium needed for normal muscle contractions and balance body fluids
  • the calcium and vitamin D found in milk promotes strong bones
  • milk contains B vitamins that help convert food to energy to fuel working muscles
While I'm not training for any races, I do hope to drive easy with dairy and  build my stamina for a bike trail ride in town with my sons by the end of the summer!

Drive Easy with Dairy!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Twenty three years ago a group of dedicated Benton County 4-H parents  who had a love for dairy began what we know today as 4-State Dairy Days in Bentonville,Arkansas. Before the dairy cattle show on Saturday, 4-H members from the four state area participated  in dairy quiz bowl,dairy skill-a-thon events ,dairy cattle judging, just for fun dairy olympics and grooming their cattle  for the show on Saturday.

I'm thankful for the dedicated volunteers
 that are still making Dairy Days
a successful fun event for families during
June Dairy Month!

Summertime Smoothie

By the weather we've been having for the last month in Northwest Arkansas,summer started a month ago!  It's so hot and ohhh...,so dry.While we can't make it rain, we can provide comfort measures to make sure our cows are as comfortable as possible. Fans and sprinklers are already in use to keep the cows cool while they eat and wait to be milked and water tanks provide fresh,clean water in the feed barn and pastures.

Enjoying a nutritious smoothie made with high-quality milk seems a perfect fit for celebrating summer and June Dairy Month. I found this tasty recipe at

PBB&J Smoothie

2 tbsp strawberry preserves
2 tbsp chunky peanut butter
1/2 cup ice cubes
1 banana
1 cup lowfat or fat free milk


In a blender combine all ingredients. Cover and blend until smooth. Serve immediately.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Arkansas Dairy Ambassador

It's official--Arkansas has it's very own Arkansas Dairy Ambassador! Jessica Crawley,15 of Maysville, will serve as the first Arkansas Dairy Ambassador. She will represent the Arkansas dairy industry at the state fair, 4-State Dairy Days and the June Dairy Month proclamation at the capital in Little Rock plus assist with 4-H activities. The contest for the title included participation in a county Farm Bureau dairy recipe contest, a  dairy promotion activity in the participant's community, an essay, an interview and a prepared speech about dairy.

Although the competition did not require the applicant to live on a dairy farm, Jessica certainly has working knowledge of what it takes to produce high quality milk. She  is the fifth generation to live and work on her family dairy farm every day, loves to exhibit cattle, and strives to think of ways to promote dairy. In the required essay about why she woulde be a good candidate for the Arkansas Dairy Ambassador she stated,"People need to know how important dairy is to their diet and that milk is the most nutrient dense beverage there is."

After being interviewed by a distinguished panel of judges, Jessica delivered a promotional message titled "Milk--Nutrient Powerhouse." It's the perfect message for the first Arkansas Dairy Ambassador to share with consumers at every opportunity.

Even though the number of Arkansas dairies has been on the decline, as a member of the committee that supported this new program, it is my hope that the Arkansas Dairy  Ambassador program will open the door for young people in Arkansas to not only promote dairy but explore career opportunities in the dairy industry and agriculture. 

Congratulations Jessica!!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Daddy's Girl Treasure

  Father's Day is a day to treasure Dad. From childhood through adulthood, our lives have been enriched by the relationship with our fathers.   Now that  both of our dads have passed on, we are blessed with  many fond    memories and lessons learned   that we treasure as we transition from being Daddy's girl and Daddy's boy to  becoming  the older generation. This transition is hard!! One of my 'Dad'  treasures is a typed page of recipes from my dad that he   often prepared for special family dinners.  It seems fitting on Father's Day  to share one of his favorite salad recipes.

Holiday Salad
1 15 oz. crushed pineapple
1 3 oz. wild strawberry jello
1 small carton small curd cottage cheese
1 8 oz. Cool Whip

Heat pineapple to boiling.
Add jello and dissolve well and
let partially set in refrigerator.
Add cottage cheese and Cool Whip,mixing well. Place in dish and
let chill.

Between farm chores and church, we'll be celebrating Father's Day  with our sons.  From our dairy farm family to you--

                                                          Happy Father's Day!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Practice paid off for Ashton Yarbrough last week when she was awarded first place for her Chicken Chili Lasagna at the Arkansas Dairy Foods Contest in Little Rock. It was fun to watch the contestants working diligently to prepare recipes for the judges.

                        Ice Cream was the perfect dessert for celebrating a job well done! I'm thankful for Arkansas Farm Bureau's support for programs  that  focus on education and youth development.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Dairy Farmer's Pantry

Our dairy cows rely on us to provide plenty of good feed every day so they can produce high quality milk. Because feed costs are the largest expense on the dairy farm, we're always carefully shopping for the best deals in grain and hay purchases. We rely on grain farmers,hay farmers,feed companies and the trucking industry to help us feed our dairy cows. When we receive grain or grain products, it is unloaded into the farm's kitchen pantry known as the commodity storage shed.

We rely on our dairy nutritionist to formulate a balanced and nutritious diet with the combination of grain and hay that we have availiable. Each of our cows will eat approximately 90 pounds of hay and grain that is mixed together for what is known as a total mixed ration. Providing a balanced diet is important to the cow's health and producing high-quality milk. Watching the cows eat in the feed barn is one of my favorite places on the farm. I love to see them bury their nose in the feed,take a bite,and then lift their head as though they were just coming to the surface after a dive in the pool!

Since 1944, improvements in dairy cattle nutrition and dairy science have played an important role in reducing the environmental impact of a gallon of milk that has resulted in:
  • 90 percent less cropland
  • 75 percent less manure
  • 65 percent less water
  • 63 percent less carbon
You can find more facts and  information about dairy production or dairy sustainability  at or


Monday, June 11, 2012

Dairy Party Recipe

Two  of the best outcomes of the Arkansas Dairy Foods Contest and the dairy recipe contest that we sponsored in our county, are  getting to taste  alot of delicious  food and taking home a new selection of recipes to share with family and friends. Congratulations to   Alexis Looper of Greenwood,Arkansas for  winning first place  in the party idea category with Vanilla cupcakes with Strawberry Cream Filling and Cream Cheese Icing.  What's not to love about a sweet treat  recipe full of dairy products!

Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Cream Filling and Cream Cheese Icing
3 cups cake flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter,softened
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cups milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line cupcake pan with baking cups. Sift together flour,baking powder, and salt;set aside. In large bowl,cream butter and sugar with electric mixer until light and fluffy.Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Add flour mixture alternately with milk,beating well after each addition. Continue beating one minute. Pour into prepared baking cups. Bake 18-20 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center of cupcake comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes. Turn out onto cooling rack; cool completely.

Strawberry Cream Filling:
1 package (16ounces) frozen sliced strawberries in syrup,thawed
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Combine strawberries,cream and cornstarch in medium saucepan. Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly until thickened, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and chill before filling cupcakes. Fill cupcakes with strawberry filling using decorating tip #230.

Cream Cheese Icing
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter,softened
2 packages (8ounces each) cream cheese,softened
8 cups confectioners' sugar (about 2 pounds)
1 tablespoon milk
Icing color,if desired

In large bowl, beat butter and cream cheese with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Gradually add confectioners' sugar and milk. Beat on high until smooth (30-60 seconds). If icing seems too thin, add confectioners' sugar 1 tablespoon at a time.  If it seems too thick,add more milk, 1 teaspoon at a time, until icing reaches desired consistency. Add icing color as desired, and mix well.
Frost cupcakes using a disposable decorating bag and a 1M decorating tip. Hold decorating tip approximately 1/4" above cupcake top, at a 90-degree angle to cupcake surface. Pipe a spiral of icing beginning at outer edge and working inward. Pipe a second spiral,smaller (not as wide) on top, and end spiral at center. Pull tip straight up and away. Add any sprinkles or decorations at this time.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Arkansas Scrub Cow Extinction

While researching for information about agriculture history in Benton County, I learned  how the dairy industry evolved in Northwest Arkansas. In the late 1920's and early 1930's, Arkansas "scrub" cows produced not more than a gallon or two of milk a day and had a butterfat content lower than today's standards. With limited production from the family cow and only occasional surplus to sell, most farmers were content with status quo. Status quo was pushed out of the way in the early 1930's by drought and disease that opened the door to improved cattle genetics that lead to improved milk production without increasing the feed cost. Dairy herd improvements led to the extinction of the Arkansas "scrub"cow.

Extinction of the Arkansas "scrub" cow brought increased productivity that led to the development of markets for the milk. In 1947 Kraft opened the Bentonville plant. It was recorded that 740 producers provided 77,000 pounds of milk in 10 gallon cans on 18 routes. The plant was originally equipped to produce cheddar cheese but later changed to Swiss production. Today the plant produces cheese product ingredients.

On opening day of the Kraft Plant, five thousand people came to the rural town of Bentonville to celebrate and tour the plant. It was stated that people came from four states in wagons,battered pick-up trucks,and on horseback. I found this even more interesting when my mother told me that she was marching in the parade with the Bentonville High School Band for this special celebration!

Learning about Benton County's dairy industry history has given me a greater appreciation for the hard work and dedication of Arkansas dairy farmers and industry leaders that blazed the trail for the fourth generation of dairy farmers in my own family! 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

June Dairy Month Recipe

The Arkansas Dairy Foods Contest is a great way to celebrate June Dairy Month! Although Arkansas Farm Bureau has sponsored this contest for many years, it was my first time to attend this very special dairy event.
I was amazed at the composure of the eight 4-H contestants   as they worked to prepare and present their recipes to the three judges. From the efficiency and organization displayed by each youth, it was obvious there must have been a lot of practice in the kitchen to prepare for this  event.  Congratulations to the contest participants for a job well done!

I'm sharing the winning recipe of the  main dish category prepared by Ashton Yarbrough from Benton County.

Chicken Chili Lasagna

2 packages (3oz) cream cheese,softened
1 medium onion,chopped
8 green onions,chopped
2 cups shredded Mexican-cheese blend,divided
2 garlic cloves,minced
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin,divided
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh cilantro or parsley
3 cups shredded chicken
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup sour cream
1 can (4oz) chopped green chilies,drained
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
12 flour tortillas (6inch),halved

In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese,onions,1 1/2 cups Mexican cheese blend, garlic,1/4 tsp. cumin, and cilantro. Stir in chicken;set aside. In a saucepan,melt butter. Stir in flour until smooth. Gradually add chicken broth. Remove from the heat. Stir in Monterey Jack cheese,sour cream,chilies,thyme,salt,pepper, and remaining cumin. Spread 1/2 cup of the cheese sauce in a greased 13x9x2 in. baking dish. Top with six tortilla halves,a third of the chicken mixture and a fourth of the cheese sauce. Repeat tortilla,chicken and cheese sauce layers twice. Top with remaining tortillas,cheese sauce and Mexican cheese. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 10 minutes longer or until heated through. Let stand 5 minutes before cutting.
Yield: 12 servings

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Winning a trophy at the Dairy Days cattle show is a perfect part of June Dairy Month in Benton County.

   I'm thankful for all the dairy farm families and 4-H  friends that come together  to celebrate June Dairy Days!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Milk's Merits

I never questioned my mother when she told me to drink all my milk  but with the many food choices available to us, it's important to know that all  milk has merit.  Whether you choose to drink regular or flavored, whole,2%,1% or skim milk, all kinds of milk have nine essential nutrients.  Healthy nutritional choices are important in every age and stage of life. Dairy foods provide essential nutrients for good health and are an excellent way to build a healthier diet. Milk's nine essential merits include:
  • Calcium--helps build and maintain healthy bones and teeth
  • Potassium--regulates the body's fluid balance and helps maintain normal blood pressure plus aids in normal muscle activity and contraction
  • Phosphorus--helps strengthen bones and generate energy in the body's cells
  • Protein--builds and repairs muscle tissue and serves as source of energy
  • Vitamin D--promotes the absorption of calcium and enhances bone strength
  • Vitamin A--maintains normal vision and skin and important to bone growth
  • Vitamin B12--helps maintain healthy red blood cells and nerve cells
  • Riboflavin--helps convert food into energy and important to normal eyesight and healthy skin
  • Niacin--helps bodies digest sugars and fatty acids
In case you question your mother's advice or just want to learn more about the nutritional and economical benefits of milk,more information can be found at or

   June Dairy Month is the perfect time to celebrate Milk's Merits!

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Double Dip Celebration

It's fitting that a dairy farmer celebrates his birthday during June Dairy Month!  June 3rd will mark a record number of 58 birthday cakes my dairy farmer husband has enjoyed on his special day.  His requested birthday cake  this year was  applesauce cake. I used the recipe I found in my mother-in-law's recipe file but unfortunately, there's no recipe for the icing.  Until I find the icing recipe that was almost like a vanilla candy, I'm using the butter frosting  recipe found in my old faithful Better Homes and Garden cookbook. It will have a double dip  of vanilla ice cream on top so maybe he won't notice it's not just like his mama made!

Mom-Bonnah's Applesauce Cake


2 cups applesauce
2 cups sugar
2 cups flour
1 cup raisins
1 cup black walnuts
2 Tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2  teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cloves

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and lightly flour 9x 11 pyrex baking dish.
Mix sugar,flour,and spices. Soak raisins in water till they plump then drain and squeeze dry; mix with flour mixture. Heat applesauce with butter; add soda. Fold applesauce mixture into flour mixture. Fold nuts into mixture.  Pour into prepared pan.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes. 

Buttercream Icing
6 tablespoons butter
3 1/2 cups sifted powdered sugar
Light Cream (about 1/4 cup)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

Cream butter; gradually add about half the sugar,blending well. Beat in 2 tablespoons cream and vanilla. Gradually blend in remaining sugar. Add enough cream to make of spreading consistency.

                                           I love celebrating birthdays with this dairy farmer!
                                              June Dairy Month is perfect for a Double Dip!