Category Archives: Farmer Profile

Late Season Snow Hits Utah

Late Season Snow - Hay Barn

Late Season Snow on the Farm – the Hay Barn at Munk Farms – Amalga, UT

Utah had weather confusion this year. After one of the hottest-driest winters on record, A late season snow storm hit Utah this week that in some areas dropped over a foot of snow, downed trees and caused traffic accidents. Depending on what you had to do on Wednesday, it was either a welcomed treat (skiers rejoiced to 3 feet of fresh powder in the mountains!) or a bit of an annoyance.

How did our farmers feel about it?

Kyle Anderson farms with his son in Newton, Utah. He said that for them the storm was “great,” dropping some desperately needed water to help his crops. “What really worries us with a late season storm,” says Kyle, “is the potential for frost, but the overnight low wasn’t too bad, so our crops are just fine.”

This storm also brought with it a significant amount of wind. “Wind can be really tough on range animals, but dairy farmers in our area have covered corrals for their cattle,” says Kyle. “It can be a problem if the roof blows off, but we were fortunate and didn’t sustain any damage.”

Tammy Munk farms with her family just a few miles south of the Andersons. She says, “the snow wasn’t much of a problem for our crops. It may have slowed down our hay growth just a little, but overall it was wonderful. Everything was so dry, it was a blessing to get that much moisture.” She is also a photographer and just before it melted, captured these shots of her farm (and cows) in the snow.

cows in the snow

The Munk’s cows don’t seem to mind a bit of the white stuff

Now the snow is almost gone and we are looking ahead to a weekend in the high 60’s. The adage, “If you don’t like the weather, stick around a minute,” absolutely holds true this spring in the mountains.

The Munk Farm in snow

The Munk Farm in snow

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Our 12 Cows of Christmas

Over the last 12 days we have been featuring cows from all around Utah on Instagram. In case you missed our 12 Cows of Christmas, we wanted to share these cow cuties again.

Day 1: Mini Oreo. A new member of the Otten Family Farm

Dutch belted

Day 2: Baby Cow Kisses!

Circle B-496

Day 3: The Font Seat Calf

front seat calf

 Day 4: 6 year old Tilly is Branden Anderson’s favorite show cow.

Attachment-1

Day 5: Baby Show Calf

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Day 6: Trent Brown’s attention seeking best friend.

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Day 7: Rosie, the matriarch of the Dutch Belted herd at Barex.

Rosie

Day 8: Snug as a bug calf from Katharine Nye

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Day 9: The Cuddle Cow from Lacey Papageorge

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Day 10: Megan’s love at first sight

Megan and Baby Cow

Day 11: Matt Leak’s Christmas Cow
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Day 12: Two little dolls give two gifts of milk to two little babies at the Munk Farm

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Merry Christmas!

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Cheesy Adventure: Rockhill Creamery

Rockhill CreameryThe next stop on my cheesy adventure was to Rockhill Creamery in Richmond, Utah. It had been a long time since The Cow Locale featured Rockhill Creamery, and I had never been. What a treat! This micro dairy is located on a rustic, beautiful historic farm. Owners Pete Schropp and Jennifer Hines, warmly welcomed me, as did their cows coming to the fence to say hello.

Rockhill Creamery Cheese Cave

Rockhill’s Cheese Cave

Rockhill cheese is made from milk produced by their six Brown Swiss cows: Clara, Ingrid, Chloe, Iggy, Eve, and Elsie. Jennifer and Pete, along with their apprentice, care for the cows, milk the cows twice per day, and make the cheese.

Their cheese is a raw milk cheese, which means that the milk from their cows in not pasteurized prior to cheese making and the cheese must be aged at least 60 days before it can be sold. Because it is raw, they take extra care to ensure sanitation and safety.

Their cheese is aged in an underground “cave” from months to years (depending on the variety) to provide rich, complex flavors. When ready to cut and package, instead of wrapping each piece in plastic, Jennifer uses a special paper, which allows for development of a flavorful rind and enhances the flavor.

Rockhill-CheeseAfter learning about the process, Jennifer took me to the old granary, they converted to a shop. We tasted their different European cheeses including:

  • Dark Canyon/Snow Canyon Edam
  • Wasatch Mountain Gruyere
  • Farmhouse Gouda
  • Zwitser Gouda
  • Peppercorn Gouda
  • Boo Boo Baby Swiss
  • Desert Red Feta

She had me try 3-month-old cheese compared to 12-month-old cheese, and the difference was astounding. The additional aging with the natural rind produced an incredibly rich, sharp flavor. We enjoyed many types of cheeses and then said our goodbyes. Even the cows stopped eating apples from the tree to come lick me goodbye. IMG_0099

What started out as a kitchen hobby for Jennifer has turned into their way of life. Their delicious artisan cheese is available at the Richmond Harvest Market on Saturdays from 10-1 (June-October), the Cache Valley Gardeners Market in Logan (May to October), and the Downtown Market in Salt Lake City (August – October). Or… you can buy at the Gossner Cheese store in Logan Utah or online at their website. They also open up their historic farm for fun events and tours, and their unique spot is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area.

Read more about Rockhill – recently featured in a special edition of John Deere’s The Furrow and follow them on Facebook.

Megan Ostler is a registered dietitian, lover of all food, and communications manager for the Dairy Council of Utah/Nevada.

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Filed under Farmer Profile, Nutrition and Health

What’s a Farmer Eat For Breakfast?

We talk about it a lot – breakfast…waking up and fueling your body with a quality meal sets the stage for the day – and there is a great connection between good nutrition (including breakfast) and physical activity with improved academic performance among kids. Sometimes, rather than just talking about breakfast, it’s fun to see what other people eat and how the meal works into their daily routine…like dairy farmers…what do they eat for breakfast?

Brown Family

We caught up with Trent and Holly Bown – dairy farmers in central Utah to find out what a typical (and special) breakfast looks like for their family. Here’s what they had to say…

TRENT: “As far as my typical breakfast, as much as I would love for it to be pancakes and eggs with bacon, its not. It’s usually a bowl of cereal with a tall glass of milk. Getting three kids ready for school and out the door by 7:00am has diminished my breakfast time, but at least I’m still getting the milk in right?”

Even though Trent doesn’t have loads of time in the morning, he still manages a breakfast packed with energizing carbohydrates (cereal) and protein (milk) that keeps his body going until lunch.

If they have time, Holly whips up this hearty egg dish for her family. She says, “This a recipe that I use sometimes that we really like. It could be made in a dutch oven, or you can cook it in a crock pot over night.”

Overnight Breakfast CasseroleOvernight Breakfast Casserole

  • 6 slices bacon (but we usually use a whole package) / or 1 lb of sausage
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 (2 pound) package frozen hash brown potatoes, thawed
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 12 eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 teaspoon dried dill weed
  • salt and ground black pepper to taste

DIRECTIONS

Spray the inside of a slow cooker with cooking spray. Place bacon in a large skillet and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned, about 10 minutes. Drain bacon slices on paper towels and crumble.

Spray a skillet with cooking spray and place over medium heat; cook and stir onion, red bell pepper, and garlic until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Stir potatoes into onion mixture. Spoon 1/3 the potato mixture into the slow cooker; add 1/3 the bacon and 1/3 the Cheddar cheese. Repeat layering with remaining ingredients, ending with cheese.

Whisk eggs, milk, dill, salt, and pepper together in a bowl; pour over ingredients in slow cooker.

Cook on Low, 8 to 10 hours.

It can be a bowl of whole grain cereal and milk or a hefty breakfast casserole, just remember to start your morning off with breakfast and give your brain and body energy to start the day!

Want more breakfast recipes? Check out our Pinterest Page

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Filed under Farmer Profile, Human Nutrition, Nutrition and Health, Recipes

Raising A Family on a Farm

The Smith Family

The Smiths – Lewiston, UT

When you grow up in the city, thinking about growing up on a farm seems really different, almost like something out of a novel or a history book. Farm life carries a mystique of hard work and strong family values, early mornings, and the smell of fresh hay. Wanting to learn a bit more about what it is like to raise a family on a farm and how farmers teach their kids about work and values, I caught up with Oralie Smith. She and her husband, Jackson, are raising their 8 sons on their dairy farm in Northern Utah.

As one of 11 children, Jackson Smith grew up farming, and when the couple got married, they knew that having a large family was what they wanted. They felt that a dairy was a really good place to raise kids – good opportunities to be outside and work.

What are some of the benefits of raising your kids on a farm?

I feel like our kids have really learned how to work, and we’ve been able to teach them about managing money. Each of them has chores and there are real consequences to not getting them done – someone else will have to pick up the slack or the animals suffer for it, so it has taught them responsibility.

Our kids get paid for the work they do on the farm, which has enabled us to teach them about money from a really early age.

Money and financial discussions can be uncomfortable at any stage of life, how do you talk to your kids about money?

We just always talk about it. Our kids start out with age-appropriate chores when they are about 6 years old. At that point, I cash their pay check for them into small bills that they can count. I have them count the money back to me, and then we talk about splitting it up. 10% gets set aside for the church, half of what’s left gets set aside for savings and the reminder gets put into an envelope as spending money. When they are young, they are especially proud of their earnings and my little ones count out the bills in their envelope frequently. Sometimes they will spend it on something I would consider frivolous, but they have earned it and it is their money to spend.

Our conversation changes a bit when the kids turn 12. As their responsibilities change, their pay increases, but we also expect them to pick up some of their own expenses – things like fees / equipment for sports teams they are interested in joining, or more name-brand school clothes. Our goal is to teach them about paying for things that will become bills in the future.

When the boys turn 15 or 16, the conversation changes again as responsibilities include things like a car, gas money, school lunch…

Do you ever have tough financial conversations with your kids?

Absolutely! Sometimes big things happen. One of our sons had an engine blow up on his car, another got a traffic ticket, and another got in a little fender bender. This is when we talk about pulling money out of their savings account to cover these unexpected costs.

This isn’t necessarily a tough conversation, but sometimes it’s just tough for me as a mom. My boys reach 15 or 16 and I realize that they don’t need me much anymore – they have money in the bank, they can pay for their own dates, their car, school-related things. I guess that’s the point of all of this, but you always want to be a mom :)

Since your kids have a real and important role on the farm, how involved are they in other extra curricular activities like sports? 

All of the boys have played a little T-ball and soccer. If they express an interest in taking it to the next level, like wanting to join a traveling team, we’ll have a talk about priorities. If they make the sport choice, they likely won’t have time to work on the farm and earn money. Almost all of them have chosen the farm. The biggest thing for us is that we give the boys a chance to make their own choices. They are all into horses, and that’s something that keeps them on the farm.

The Smiths newest addition

The Smiths newest addition

I know your boys each have a dog. Can you tell me a little about that?

When our boys turn 8 years old, they each get a dog. Jackson really wanted each of the kids to have the opportunity to have their own animal. As a perk to living and working on the farm we supply all of the food for the animals, but each of our boys is responsible for caring for his own dog. Jackson has encouraged them to get a female so that they could breed her and sell the puppies to make money. As they get older, they usually get another dog for hunting. Now we have a bunch of dogs, but the boys have done really well with them.

Have any of your kids expressed an interest in coming back to the farm to work and/or raise their families?

Our oldest son just got married, so we are just getting to that point, but we start talking about this from the time they are young. If the kids want to come back to the farm, we want them to go away first, gain some life experience, learn about having a different employer than their parents, and bring something back to the farm that is new (i.e., a new way of feeding). Some of the kids have laid out a plan. Our goal is to have them come back to the farm excited with fresh and new ideas to keep the dairy progressive and able to provide for all of the families involved.

Do you run the farm any differently knowing that some of the kids may come back to raise their families?

We are always looking ahead and asking ourselves the question: ‘When the kids graduate, how will the farm benefit them and their families in the future.’ I think that helps keep us from getting stagnant and set in a rut. We always want to be progressive.

Do you feel like you have any unique challenges to raising your kids on the farm?

I don’t think we do. Whenever I talk to friends, whether they live in the city or on another farm, I recognize that we all experience the same issues as parents. We all try to teach our kids how to be appreciative, how to work, how to pick up things. I don’t think we are any different.

Smiths feeding calves

Farm Chores – Feeding Calves

But what about the fact that you have 8 boys, how do you manage just the day-to-day household chores like cooking and cleaning?

Laughs…We have to buy a lot of food and we have really big pans! Sometimes if I bring brownies to a social function, friends can’t believe the size of the pan. But likewise I look at their tiny pan and wonder who that would feed!

As far as laundry – I try to take care of all of it during the week so I can take the weekend off.

A favorite recipe that is always a hit at BBQs:

Baked Bean (Or 3 Bean Casserole) 

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb browned hamburger
  • 1 onion
  • bacon (optional)
  • 1 can pork and beans
  • 1 can butter beans
  • 1 can kidney beans
  • 1 can black beans or garbanzo
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 2 Tbsp vinegar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp mustard

Method:

Add everything to crock pot and cook until thickened and hot; usually a few hours on low. This recipe can be doubled and will still fit in a large crock pot.

Note: Can add green pepper if desired and can also mix in different combinations of beans

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Kristi Spence, VP Communications Dairy Council UT/NV conducted this interview. Though she has been living in Utah for the past 10 years, and working for dairy farmers for the past 4, Kristi grew up in Los Angeles.

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Why We Appreciate Our Cows

In honor of “Cow Appreciation Day,” we caught up with some of our contributors and local farmers to ask them, “Why do you appreciate your cows?” Here’s what they said:

Chace Fullmer

“I’ve never not had cows…don’t know what it would be like not to have them. Our cows are the reason I get up every morning – to try to do something to make their lives better.”

Chace with Calf

Chace Fullmer with Newborn Calf

Braden Anderson

“I love working with cows and making a lot of them pets. I enjoy taking my cows to the shows and getting them ready for the shows. I’m appreciative of my cows for the wholesome product the produce. I’m grateful for how they produce our livelihood.”

Braden Anderson

Braden Anderson

Katharine Nye

“Cows were my first friends. When I’d go to work with my parents when I was very small, playing with calves and watching as my parents worked among our herd were my daily activities.  Cows have been a mainstay in my family, and they are a legacy that my siblings and I are working to continue. Our cows work hard for us: taking care of them brings me joy, and knowing that my cows provide the world with a safe and delicious food is just the whipped cream on top!”

Katharine with Calf

Katharine and a young calf

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The Modern Dairy Farmer

In many cases, dairy farming today looks different than it used to: barns are more efficient, cows’ diets are now formulated by a dairy nutritionist to match the exact needs of the herd, cows are monitored more closely than ever before for health, movement, and milk production, safety has improved, genetics play a big role in herd health… Yet, the people behind farming are the same.

I heard it summed up well by a farmer recently:

While the proverbial red barn might not be today’s norm,  those red barn values are still the core of what drives dairy farmers.

What are red barn values? hard work, commitment, family, animal care, and environmental stewardship (just to name a few). But who are today’s dairy farmers? Here’s a quick snapshot.

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