I'm writing for the same reason I hope you are reading; because dairy is important and it deserves some attention! It's not just because dairy farmers are good people, or because cows are wonderful animals to work with, or even because milk is a wholesome, delicious food; it's all of that, but for me, it's because I am wholy invested in the dairy industry, and I'm concerned you aren't getting the whole story.
Let me elaborate.
I have loved cows since I was 7. Unlike many dairy farmers, I wasn't born into a farm family. I started working on a farm when I was 8, trading summer afternoons helping with farm chores for the privilage of taking a calf to the county fair to show as a 4-H project. From there, I spent more than a decade as an active 4-H'er, honing my skills in public speaking, dairy knowledge, teamwork, and leadership, all the while working on that local farm, learning to care for cows. At 12, my parents bought my first calf, Dee. At 18, I left home to attend college for Agri-Business and Dairy Science. Now, just shy of 24, I spend my work days teaching dairy farmers about milk prices. I still have Dee, she's a retired show cow now, but I have a daughter and granddaughter of hers to show at the fairs this summer. I When I call home, I'm asking how the cows are. When I talk to my boyfriend, it's impossible to avoid topics such as milk prices or a story about one of the 1,500 cows he works with every day.
I'm not just invested. I'm immersed. and I love it.
I want you to love it too. Maybe it's because you had a grandfather or uncle who milks cows, maybe it's the cows grazing in the field on your way to work, maybe you just really love cheese. Whatever the connection, I hope you have one. If not, consider this your invite into the dairy industry. I'll do my best to share stories about how milk is produced, as well as the folks who make it all happen. I want you to know where your food comes from and I'm hoping to shine a positive light on all things dairy, because we don't always get the glowing spotlight. Some of what is publicized is just wrong- animals being mistreated, poor farming practices, and mistruths about dairy product safety and nutrition- things that just shouldn't happen. I hope to show you that a vast majority of dairy farmers do it right, and are proud of the results of their efforts. It's a great way to earn a living.
So that's why I get up every morning and go to work, and why I get up at 4 am to wash my cows at the fair, and why I'm writing. That, and I really do love cheese.
'til next time,