Saturday, August 31, 2013

September's Transition Down on the Dairy

Down on the dairy farm, September holds a lot of promise in the midst of this month of  transition...
Chester, my faithful friend,  is looking forward to cooler days,
the roses will be showing off  in their late summer glory,

and new babies will celebrate birthdays.
 It's these new babies that represent the beginning of high-quality milk from down on the dairy farm.
Happy September!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Last week I was presented with a plaque from  Benton County Farm Bureau for my volunteer service as the Chairwoman of the Benton County Farm Bureau  Women's Committee. I've been blessed to work with the greatest volunteers, who I call my friends,  and with  the support and help of my family. I'm thankful for the opportunity I have had to help educate others about agriculture in a variety of activities!


Monday, August 26, 2013

Back to School Breakfast

A protein packed dairy and egg  Back to School breakfast is a winning combination for any student or  hard working parent. I'm thinking even an old dairy farmer might enjoy this recipe!

Egg and Cheese Waffle Sandwich


2 frozen round waffles (4 inch)
1 egg, beaten
1 slice co-Jack or American cheese


Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Generously coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Place waffles on baking sheet.

Spoon egg over waffles, spreading to fill cavities. Bake in 400 degree oven until egg is set and waffles are crisp, 10-12 minutes.

Top one waffle with cheese. Cover with remaining waffle and press together. Let stand 1 minute to allow cheese to melt.

Helpful hint: For more servings, multiply ingredients by the number of sandwiches desired. Use a second baking sheet if needed.
You can find more Back to School recipes at Incredible Egg or Dairy Makes Sense.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Birthday Blessings Down on the Dairy Farm

Although birthdays don't happen everyday down on the dairy farm, eating a nutritious balanced  diet is an everyday affair for dairy cows. Even our pregnant cows are provided a special diet formulated by our dairy nutritionist  for  the last two months of pregnancy to maintain  body condition, prepare for  the delivery of a healthy calf and  provide adequate calories  for   milk production  after having a calf.
This group of pregnant  cows will calve in the next two weeks and are being provided with grain, hay and a mixture of silage in a measured amount every day.
Although August is hot, it's a good month to be a dairy cow resting in the pasture, eating all you want and drinking lots of water as you wait for a new baby calf.
Healthy babies are always welcome blessings  on the dairy farm!
Twenty three years ago, we had a healthy birthday blessing  of our own down on the dairy farm.
( I did eat a nutritious diet but I didn't get a two month rest before I had this eight pound boy!)
Happy Birthday,Casey!

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Volunteering as the Zoo Keeper at the Benton County Farm Bureau's Petting Zoo at the Benton County Fair for the last 13 years  has provided many opportunities to share agriculture's story in a very fun environment.

                                 I'm thankful for the fun  I've had watching  children and adults
                                   of all ages enjoying the chicks at the Benton County Fair!

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Back to School Breakfast Tips

If you're getting back into the school moood this week,  make sure to include breakfast every day as part of the formula for your child's  success.
Midwest Dairy Registered Dietician Stephanie Cundith developed these  5 quick tips to help families incorporate a nutrient-rich breakfast into the morning routine:
  1. Stock a mom-approved breakfast bowl with grab-and-go nutritious foods, like cereal, yogurt, string cheese, and fruit.
  2. Mix it up! Mix oatmeal with milk instead of water. Or, use yogurt to whip up a smoothie or build a parfait for a simple kid-friendly breakfast that can be enjoyed at home or on the go.
  3. Break breakfast boredom by thinking outside the cereal box. Consider eating lunch, dinner or snack foods like a ham and cheese sandwich, pizza or Rainbow Fruit and Cheese Kabobs.
  4. Role model good breakfast behavior. When kids see breakfast is a priority for adults, they will be more likely to eat it themselves.
  5. Take advantage of the School Breakfast Program, which supplies 25 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowances of nutrients that a child needs.
                                  You can find helpful Back to School nutrition information at
                                                                         Dairy Makes Sense.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

August Hay Marathon

Typical August hay baling in Northwest Arkansas  is usually as quick as a 100 yard dash because  the grass is short and it takes a day or less to cure before baling. With the combination of  an abundance of  late July and early August   rain creating a lush, thick field of grass and this week's  cooler temperatures and low humidity, hay baling this August  actually seems more like a  long distance marathon with the farmer  running slow and steady to complete the hay race.

                                    This field of mostly Bermuda hay was cut on Wednesday.

                 Finally after four days, it was cured enough for raking rows of mowed hay together.
Hopefully, tomorrow it will be baled into small square bales.
The ultimate  winners of this hay marathon will be these
young calves!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Ryan attended a Town Hall Meeting this week  hosted by our Congressman Steve Womack  in Bentonville. It was an opportunity for farmers  to speak about the need for immigration  legislation that will provide a stable workforce for agricultural production.
I'm thankful for this third generation farmer's passion for agriculture and the family farm!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Dairy Cow's August Treat

In the middle of last year's drought, we would never have believed  August 2013 would have more rain days than dry days! Even though the weather man was predicting possible showers through the next week, it  was  decided that Saturday  was the day  to begin the 'green chop' routine. Our dairy cows love this green energy and protein filled  treat and show their appreciation by giving more milk!

Our typical green chop routine is  to  mow enough of the sorghum Sudan grass to dry for a day before chopping it  and feeding to the dairy cows with their other feed ingredients. Our cows' diet   is formulated by our dairy nutritionist. Anytime a change is made to the diet, like adding 'green chop',  we consult with our nutritionist to make sure it continues to be  a balanced nutritious diet.

 In trying to think ahead of the possible rainy weather,  we managed to chop enough for two days of feed. We were on schedule until it rained...
It may take a few days of sunshine before we can get back to mowing and chopping in this very wet field, but  our cows are still eating a balanced and nutritious diet--it just doesn't have the nutritious cow  candy!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

August Green

                               Did you ever see a color in the crayon box called August Green?

 If I were naming a crayon color for this school season, the green of our pastures and fields could be  called August Green. The normal  farm August color  in Northwest Arkansas is typically a burnt to the crisp brown color so--- it's easy to love August Green!  As I watched our Holstein  cows walking through the pasture to the milk barn for the evening milking, it was quite a beautiful sight.

Even though I won't get to name any color in the crayon box, I do have the awesome privilege of working every day  to produce high-quality nutritious milk for you and your family to enjoy at home and at school!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Dairymom's Thankful Thursday

Crystal clear water flows from this spring located in Cave Springs at the Illinois River Watershed Partnership's latest project at Lake Keith. As we walked around the Lake, we enjoyed learning about the history of this Lake located  on Main Street that thousands of people pass every day on their way to the Northwest Arkansas Regional Airport.
Many years ago, this spring water supplied the water to the Cave Springs residents. The cave behind the spring is full of Arkansas bats.

In later years, it had a trout farm, a swimming pool, a skating rink and the  man-made lake filled with trout.
It was great to see people fishing and paddling canoes around the lake.

I'm thankful for  the dedication of organizations like the Illinois River Watershed Partnership and the Arkansas Game and Fish that are working together to preserve our beautiful habitats  and educate others about our precious natural resources. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Milk Celebrates National Chocolate Cookie Day

What's not to love about a chocolate chip regardless if it's in cookies ,brownies  or any sweet treat!
Although today is National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day, I celebrated by baking what must be a cousin to the chocolate chip cookie. This recipe got the dairy farmer stamp of approval!

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Brownies

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup smooth or chunky peanut butter
1/3 cup butter
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 6-ounce package chocolate chips

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt. Mix peanut butter and butter. Gradually add sugars, beating until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Stir in flour mixture until thoroughly mixed.  Mix in 1 (6-ounce)  package chocolate morsels before turning into pan. Turn into greased 9 inch square pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until cake springs back when touched lightly. Cool.
Yield: 16 (21/4-inch) squares

           The best thing about any treat that has chocolate chips---it's perfect with a glass of milk!

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Rainy Day Dairy Rule

Rain-filled mud puddles  in August--what a blessing! After last year's drought, I've pretty much celebrated every rainfall this year. With rain in the last few weeks of July and now 2 inches of rain on the third day of August, our crop fields and pastures are spring green. 
 The cows didn't seem bothered by the rain--they went   to the barn to be milked and then  headed  straight for the feed barn to get their breakfast like usual!  It's obvious by their behavior that this is  part of the everyday dairy farm  routine--rain or shine. 
Even though we don't usually receive a lot of rain in July and August, we are always working to protect the environment by utilizing  our  nutrient management  system to recycle  the manure from our cows.  Nutrient management plans guide the amount, source, placement and timing of manure on fields designated by our farm plan. Federal, state and local clean water laws regulate how manure is applied on cropland, so nutrients are absorbed by crops, not groundwater. One of those rules is: No manure spreading on rainy days!
You won't find anyone on our dairy farm that is too upset to give up one job on a rainy August day!