About Me

Morrisville, New York
Hello Everyone!!! Being new to the Blogging World, this can be a little overwhelming, so please be patient. I'm a student at Morrisville State College and as a semester long project I have chosen to blog on various (and sometimes arguable) aspects of the dairy industry. Keep watching for a weekly post on issues I feel are important to today's dairy industry. Growing up on a farm in Central New York, I've experienced the ups and downs that many others have gone through. I have formed my own opinions on various topics and have heard many others. Keep watching for Frosty's Farm Factoids.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Respect and a Lesson on Gossip

Farmers love gossip... plain and simple. They thrive on knowing what the neighbors are doing and how they can be better. Some call it benchmarking, others call it strategic planning, and then others call it jealousy and gossip.  But sometimes, farmers get so caught up in trying to out due the next, that they cross  a line. That line is the line of respect. Respect is not giving easily, it must be earned. According to Dictionary.com the definition of respect is to show regard or consideration for. This definition is what some farmers lack when they begin to gossip. They don't consider what spreading, sometimes untrue, rumors can cause others in pain and hardships. 

Respect and Gossip are polar opposites but if you don't have one, it seems you have the other. This is not limited to the farming industry, but seems to be everywhere within it. Outside of the industry, I have found lack of respect within my everyday travels. Little acts of respect or putting someone else first, really do go along way. Every time I hear the word respect, all I can think of is Arethra Franklin belting out the word respect.

The world would be better place if everyone stopped to think about if they really are being disrespectful towards others. A little less gossip and a lot more respect will make the world go around. 


Saturday, April 16, 2011

Finally a Break for Dairy Farmers

A local news station ran a story from Albany the other day, entitled "Spilled milk no longer an oil issue." In the article is stated that the federal Environmental Protection Agency is going to exempt milk from the provisions of the Clean Water Act. The revisions that took place to the act in 2002 changed the original 1970 law to require enterprises, dairy farms included, to have plans to deal with  spills of product and chemical, similar to the manner required of oil companies. Milk was included into this because it contains animal fat, an oil. But thanks to U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, federal EPA is making milk exempt.

I believe this is a great thing for the dairy industry. We already have so many hoops we have to jump through with every regulation under the sun. It's about time we got a break. Yes we are businesses and should be treated like businesses, but when the BP Oil Spill happened, it took forever for the spilled to be contained and cleaned up. Dairy Farmers spill milk and immediately do their best to contain and clean. It seems that every new regulation that comes along, dairy farmers are put into it with some special clause, afterall.... everything is ultimately our faults.

Some might argue that by changing the regulations, dairy farmers will become careless and won't worry. But most dairy farmers are very conscientious, they try to preserve the land because they know it will be providing food for their animals in the future. Not only do dairy farmers take care of their animals, they take care of their land.

With the changing of the 2002 revision, dairy farmers won't have to worry about the extensive red tape for spilling milk... How does the saying go.... "There's no use crying over spilled milk!"

News, W. (2011, April 13). Spilled milk no long an oil issue. Retrieved April 16, 2011, from WKTV.com: http://www.wktv.com/news/local/Spilled-milk-no-longer-an-oil-issue-119780949.html

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Radiation Found in Milk.... Just what the Dairy Farmers want to hear

Along on the line of last weeks post, here's another way the dairy farmers are going to be in controversy. This time the cause it out of our hands. In an article in Dairy Herd Management titled, "Very Low Levels of Radiation found in Wash. State Milk," it states that in the March 25th milk sample taken from Spokane, Wash, there were levels of Iodine-131. It was still 5000 times BELOW the levels of concern for all to be worried. But I'm sure it will influence some peoples concerns of dairy products and influence some consumers to steer away from them.

The radiation from the nuclear power complex in Japan is causing the devastation to many. But the dairy farmers don't need anymore devastation in their lives. Everything is always bombarding the dairy industry and we are always under the microscope. This time, we are going to be under the microscope and questioned for something we have no control us and can not do anything about. Radiation is a very serious matter, but as the article states, we live with radiation in our daily lives. The radiation found in the milk was minuscule compared to what people experience in their daily lives. Flying cross-country, watching TV, and construction materials can all be sources of radiation.

The radiation issue have increased the level of monitoring milk, precipitation, and drinking water. A spokesperson for the Spokane Regional Health District, said "this is not a major health concern." Luckily, the U.S. was smart enough to halt the imports of dairy products and produce from Japan, but we are still importing seafood, but testing it first. Why are we doing that? Completely cut imports from Japan would be the best bet. Until the radiation can be stabilized and controlled, the US should just focus on our own issues and take care of our own. We have the products here, lets utilize them and boost our own economy.

Want to read the article yourself?

Press, A. (2011, March 31). Very low levels of radiation found in Wash. State milk. Retrieved April 9, 2011, from DairyHerd Network: http://www.dairyherd.com/dairy-news/latest/Low-levels-of-radiation-found-in-US-milk-118980594.html

Friday, April 1, 2011

Keep scrutinizing the farmers and you won't have food!?!?!?!?!

Why is it that Dairy Farmers are always under the microscope? Isn't it time to stop treating dairy farmers like minions and actually give them the respect that is due to them? The general public will need a wake up call and I fear it's going to come soon, and then what will happen.

If it is not one thing, it is another that the Dairy Farmers of the United States are having issues with. Now I'm not saying that these scrutinizations haven't helped to improve the dairy industry, but it seems as though, the dairy industry can never be out of the negative spotlight.

First came the "Mad Cow" issue and the beef boycotts. European countries have had Mad Cow and Hoof and Mouth disease long before the United States, but one outbreak and the dairy industry is in shambles. But being optimistic, as I am, in every bad situation there is good. Because of the outbreak, stricter feeding regulations have been put in place, as well as, stricter importing of cattle. Dairy Farmers are also restricted in the condition of the animals that they can send to slaughter. Ultimately making our food system safer.

Then there's the issue with environmental pollutions and neighbor relations. Dairy Farmers are constantly being blamed for the foul odors that neighborhood smells come spring and fall. Additionally, they have so many hoops to jump through with environmental issues. Any time there is a small manure spill or anything that could possibly contaminate any public water sources, Dairy Farmers make national news.

And who can forget the controversy over BST or BST free. Dairy Farmers have all different opinions about whether it's good or not. The biggest problem with this is what the consumers believe is the best is dictating what milk cooperatives want. Misconceptions on the consumer level is influencing what happens to the dairy industry. This means that the dairy industry doesn't truly have a say upon their own business.

Then there is the animal welfare kick. How dairy farmers only abuse their animals and house them in unsafe conditions. Now dairy farms need to be certified that they don't abuse their animals and that they have adequate space provided. Dairy Farmers know that they make their money from their cows. Cows are the "Foster Mothers of the Human Race", they aren't going to abuse their mothers, so they aren't going to abuse their "Foster Mothers."

Lastly, the argument over hiring Hispanic Workers as labor force, is a big topic and never ending one for discussion. Most community members argue that by farms employing Hispanic workers, that lowers the need for community employee's. With the unemployment rate so high, nationalists argue that by hiring foreign labor at cheaper wages it is taking away for the possible jobs of those unemployed. But the dairy industry has found that the foreign workers want to work and will work until the job is done, whereas, some people just don't feel the need to work.

My point is... no matter the situation, no matter the controversy, Dairy Farmers seem to be the ones at fault and are the one's having to change their ways. This is because dairy farmers are too busy working with the cows or working their fields to be able to fight for their own rights. My question for you... is what's next? With the dairy industry always under the microscope, what will we be blamed for next? What will be out of our hands, but yet we'll be blamed for it?

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Adventures of the Dairy Club Part II

As a continuation on from last week, I will continue to tell all what the Morrisville State College Dairy Club did the remainder of Spring Break week.

When I last wrote I told about our first days adventure and our travels down to Gettysburg. On the second day, we toured the Gettysburg Battlefields. Not only was it a historical landmark, it was really eye opening and a moving experience to see and hear what the soldiers and families had gone through. We did an auto tour, where we drove around the battlefields in our vans. During the auto tour, we heard what the three day long battle was about.

After leaving the battlefields, we drove to Maryland and went to Windsor Manor Holsteins. We got to see some of their top cows and the Maryland landscape. This farm houses their milk cows in mainly pack barns. All cows come outside to eat in a bunk in the barnyard. It was really eye opening to see the climate difference really makes a difference in farming styles. While there, we were giving advice, which is always great to hear advice from current producers. We were told to think positively and we can put our minds to anything we want to do.

Our next days adventure began with a drive to Harvue Holsteins. This is where Frosty was bred and then they then sold her. They said it was one of the smartest decisions they have ever made. They said that the World Dairy Expo Supreme Champion winner, would never have looked as good as the current owners can make her if she was still being shown by the Hardesty family. They took the time out of their day to bring Frosty's full sister up to the main barn so we could all see her. They also showed us all around the facility.

Next we went to Waverly Farms. This facility milks strictly Jerseys. They also showed us some of the cows they were most proud of and their stories. It was great to hear that they had to say. Even though both the brothers are aging, they were both still enthusiastic about the industry.

After we left Waverly Farm, we went to Virginia Tech and met and stayed with members of the dairy club there. We did mixer activities and stayed in their apartments at night. The next morning we had a tour of the campus and the opportunity to speak with Dr. Katherine Knowlton. Dr. Knowlton is an associate professor at Virginia Tech and talked to us about all the opportunities we could have from transfering there. After all, she's trying to have her program grow.

 Our final stop was Washington D.C. After having to deal with all the traffic, it was great to be able to spend two days here. On the first day we had free time to be able to walk around, most of us were just tired and wished to hang out in the hotel. But the next day we started the day by meeting with an Assistant to the Senator and  learned about dairy policies she is working on. We had a tour of the Capital Building and then we had the remainder of the day for ourselves. We explored the Smithsonian Museums and other sites of the Nations Capital. The next morning, was time to drive back home. But we stopped at Arlington National Cemetery first. It was the most moving experience to see the changing of the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It really is remarkable to see all the headstones and grave sites. We learned that 4 soldiers a day are still being buried at the cemetery.

After a week long and too many hours in the vans, we arrived back at the Morrisville State College Dairy Complex on Thursday. This gave us enough time to go visit our families for a couple of days before starting classes on Monday.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Adventures of the Dairy Club 2011

Although I won't be posting everyday, I decided to title this week about the Adventures of the Dairy Club. This week is our Spring Break from college, but 23 members of the Dairy Club, along with 3 chaperon's, have ventured out to visit various attractions along the Eastern States from New York to Virginia and then back up again.
We started today by leaving, with snow all around, from the Morrisville Dairy Complex, and headed towards Pennsylvania. After 6 hours of driving we arrived at our first destination, Mason Dixon Farms. This farm, located in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, prides itself on "innovation through technology." This is because they have recognized that change is inevitable, but success optional. They have been farming partly in Pennsylvania and partly in Maryland since they bought the original farm in 1784. The original homestead is still on the location, and the current facilities have just expanded and evolved around it. The current facility houses 2400 milk cows and 2000 replacement heifers. They also have a crop base of 2900 acres, all within a 3.4 mile radius from the farm. The most interesting thing, I thought, about the farm was that they currently have 20 robotic milkers, along with a double 24 parallel parlor on the farmstead. The owners have designed the barns for enhanced ventilation and cow comfort in mind. They have also made innovative advancements in silage harvesting and storage.

The final destination for today, was Trans-Ova Genetics in Sharpsburg, Maryland. At this facility they specialize in embryo transfer and invitro fertilization of elite female cattle. Trans-Ova has been in business for 20 plus years, but they had not obtained the facilities in Maryland until 6 years ago. The main headquarters are located in Iowa, but they also have facilities in Texas. Trans-Ova is priding themselves on being ahead of the game in ET and IVF work. While donor cows are at the facilities in Maryland, they can be milked in the 12 stall step up tie stall parlor. They are expanding the operation and will have many job opportunities available in the near future for people in all areas of bovine related.

We hope to learn lots from this experience and have already begun developing ideas. We have learned about navigation skills, as our direction reading skills are sometimes lacking. At the end of the day, it's not the destination, but the adventure on the way that makes the difference and the biggest lessons to be learned.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Reaching Out

Last night I attended the America's Greatest Heart Run and Walk Health Expo. I went to this on behalf of my counties dairy promotion. We had a booth set up there where we gave away free dairy products to passerby's in hopes that we help them to achieve their recommended three servings of dairy products everyday. I went for the last part of the night and we had run out of product, so we instead resorted to passing out posters and stickers and milk mustaches. I really saw a wide age range of people that took posters because their favorite singer, actress, sports player, or even cartoon was sporting that familiar milk mustache. With every poster given out was the constant and subtle reminder to consume your three servings of dairy products.
I enjoy getting to interact with the young minds in hopes to shape them into knowledgeable consumers of the future. But I overheard one young passer-byer with her mother, and the statement that came out of her mouth really hurt. No it wasn't that milk doesn't taste good or that she'd rather prefer a soda, it was that "I hate this," she was referring to the posters. She then continued with,"they have these all over my cafeteria and they are so annoying." I wanted to jump right over the booth and promote that much more, but her mom stopped her, made her come back to the booth, look at the posters and then said, "You need to apologize, dairy farmers are just trying to promote their business and constantly advertise to young people like you the importance of dairy products." Of course the look of "I hate you Mom" was on the daughters face at this time, but her mother continued with "You don't see soda companies and sports drinks advertising in schools, because they are constantly on tv commercials." The little girl at that point changed her opinion and asked for a milk mustache of her own show she could be like her favorite singer, Taylor Swift, and promote dairy.
This just goes to show the power of advertisement. The milk mustache posters have been around for years and you can often see your favorite celebrity sporting that mustache. It's the mustache that's even cool for girls to wear. It wasn't until last night that I realized the true power of advertising, that little girl sees those posters every school day and they stick with her. I did ask her what she drinks with her lunch and was very pleased to hear it was a refreshing chocolate milk. So have you had your three today?

To find out more on the milk mustache program or find your favorite celebrity, check out www.bodybymilk.com. Keep on consuming!