What one local dietitian learned on a recent (and first) dairy farm visit.
by: Kary Woodruff MS, RD, CSSD
I recently had the fortunate opportunity to take a tour of some of Utah’s dairy farms – an experience more insightful than I had anticipated. I am not sure what I expected – perhaps to see some cows being milked and several large vats of milk? But this isn’t what I saw. Instead, I witnessed and experienced a way of life.
For generations, these dairy farm families have poured their hearts and souls into what they produce – dairy – a product that not only sustains them economically, but a product that provides quality nourishment for all of us.
If I had to find one word to describe the feeling I got from these farms it would be pride. All the farmers we meet took time from their incredibly full days to show us their livelihood. It quickly became apparent that this was more than just a way of making a living. Though, like many industries, the economic situation for dairy farmers has been bleak these past few years, I saw passion in these families. For them, dairy farming not only seemed to be something they did, it seemed a part of who they are. They believe in what they do and they stand behind their products.
My appreciation for dairy products deepened through this process. The milk produced on these farms came from cows that are treated humanely and respectfully. They get fresh air daily and are not crammed in the tight quarters I imagined them to be. Nor are they pumped with high doses of hormones and antibiotics as we are lead to believe from the media. These are cows doing what their bodies are designed to do in a safe and ethical manner. My experience revealed quite plainly that quality dairy is being produced from quality ingredients.
I went home that night and enjoyed my glass of milk more than I ever had. I had a much deeper respect for the process that brought this carton from the dairy farm up the road to my own refrigerator. If you ever get an opportunity such as this I recommend you take it! You sure won’t take your dairy foods for granted!
Kary Woodruff is the sport dietitian at The Orthopedic Specialty Hospital in Murray, UT.
If you are interested in visiting a dairy farm and learning a bit more about what local farming is all about, please contact us!