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End June Dairy Month with a SQUEAK!

The Secret Behind Squeaky Cheese

sharing a post from our sister site “Our Earth, Our Products, Our Passion“.

Cheese curds, often called “squeaky cheese,” are a popular snack, not only for the taste, but also for the small mouse like squeak sounds when you take a bite. So what makes squeaky cheese squeak? To find out we asked two local cheese experts, Dave Larsen with Gossner Foods in Logan, UT and Pat Ford with Beehive Cheese Co. in Ogden, UT. They gladly shared the secret.

Gossner Foods Cheese Curd

Gossner Foods Cheese Curd

The squeak in squeaky cheese is produced by it’s cheddaring process and freshness.  These tasty little curds are not a byproduct, but rather the first product of cheese making. The traditional cheddaring process starts with letting the milk ripen, which allows bacteria to convert lactose, the natural sugar found in milk, into lactic acid. This lowers the pH and causes the milk to curdle. The addition of rennet, an enzyme used in cheese making, also aids in this curdling process. As the milk curdles, it sets. After setting, the mixture is cooked and the liquid whey is drained. You are now left with curds which are cut into strips and turned over and over to remove the moisture. This process is called “cheddaring the cheese.” Lastly salt is added to keep the pH from dropping further and improve the flavor. The result: yummy cheese curds. When the curds are less than 36 hours old the protein in the cheese is not yet broken down by the bacteria in the added cultures. This gives the cheese a more rubbery texture and causes that fun squeak.

Beehive Cheese Curds

Beehive Cheese Curds

Curd can be eaten as is or pressed into a mold and allowed to age. As the curds age they loose their squeak and turn into the blocks of cheese typically purchased at the store.

Other fun facts:

  • The orange color (see photo of Gossner cheese curd above) is due to a vegetable based food dye, they would otherwise be white.
  • Cheese curds taste so yummy in part because of the extra salt on the outside.
  • Because they don’t have to age, cheese curds allow quick revenue for cheese makers to purchase new milk, while their other cheeses age.

Tips from Dave and Pat:

  • Cheese curds are great fried, melted over fries, or are great fresh for snacking, or picnics.
  • To bring some of the squeakiness back, pop a couple curds in a microwave for just a few seconds.

You can purchase Gossner cheese curds at their store in Logan, UT and find Beehive Cheese Curd at their storefront in Ogden and at grocery stores across the state.

We hope Dairy Month has been good to you. Take it out with a SQUEAK!

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A Cow Show

By Braden Anderson

This past month Utah held their annual Western Spring National Show, known as Richmond Black and White Days to most of the locals.  At this year’s show, dairy farmers came from all over the western United States. and as always, it turned out to be quite a tough competition. Not only is it the longest running show held west of the Mississippi, but next year will mark the show’s 100th Anniversary.

Our Cows at the 99th Richmond Black & White Days

Our Cows at the 99th Richmond Black & White Days

What Goes On at a Cow Show:
It takes many hours of preparation to be all ready for a cow show.  Everything from walking the cows several months before the show to washing and grooming them to giving them a special diet that fits each cow individually. Once arriving at the show we make sure all of our cows are comfortable by giving them nice bedding consisting of straw and wood shavings. In addition to getting plenty of water and exercise, these show cows get constant attention from their owners. Like a little baby, we clean their bums after they poop, and we make food (hay and grain) available at all times so they get the nutrients and energy they need.  We also wash and brush the cows everyday to make sure they stay clean and look the best that they can.  As you can tell at these shows, the cows are definitely spoiled.

Awards Ceremony

Awards Ceremony (I’m #131)

I had two cows at this year’s show – a calf who took 7th place in the open show, 1st place in the junior show and received honorable mention junior champion. I also had a cow place second in the open show, 1st in the junior show and take reserve grand champion. It was a good show for us!

Showing Our Calf

Showing Our Calf

I enjoy cow shows and the people that I get to work with. They are some of the most funny, hardworking people I know. Not only are cow shows a great way to socialize and meet with other dairymen, but the experience helps my dad and me buy and sell cows in the most convenient and professional way possible. I am looking forward to next year’s 100th Richmond Black & White Days.

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The Front-Seat Calf

By Lacey Papageorge 

About two weeks ago, we had a heifer on our dairy who was acting under the weather.  It is easy to tell when a cow or heifer is not feeling well because they often droop their ears and head.  To get this little one to feel better we tried feeding her more regularly to keep her hydrated and gave her a few different types of medicine, but she wasn’t responding. A couple mornings later, she had a hard time getting up, and my dad could tell she was dehydrated and needed an IV. Just a few week’s old, this young heifer’s veins would be difficult to find, so we needed a professional’s help.

Our usual vet was already out on a call that morning, so we called our cousin who has a small animal veterinary clinic not to far from where we live, and he encouraged us to bring her in. Not wanting to waste any time, we loaded our baby girl into the front seat of the truck so we could get her to the vet’s office as quickly as possible.  She was so tired that she laid on the floor of the truck the whole way there.  At the vet clinic we got lots of attention.  It is not very often that you see a calf in the small animal clinic, and everyone pulled out their phones to snap pictures.  As soon as the vet took her in, he was able to put an IV in and get her hydrated.  We left her there for a few hours, and when we came back she was standing and had improved tremendously.  The vet said that she had responded well to the IV, she drank some milk, and that we were free to take her home.

Taking our young heifer to the vet

Taking our young heifer to the vet

My dad and the vet put her back into the front seat of the truck for the ride home, but now that she had some pep, she refused to lay down on the floor of the truck. Instead she stood in the cab with her bum against the passenger door and her nose almost touching the steering wheel. Excited to be headed home, she proceeded to lick my dad and the steering wheel! I keep my arms around her to keep her from falling. While driving back to our farm through town we got a lot of strange looks. Some people pointed and others honked and waved.  It was fun to see all of the people we made smile with our silly little calf.

Our calf in the front seat!

Our calf in the front seat!

Once back at the farm, we set up a new pen full of sawdust so she would be warm and clean.  After her long day and ride around town, she was tired and crawled right into her house for a good nap.  (We did have to squirt the floor of the truck out with the hose because she had to go potty while she was on her ride, but it was an easy clean up.)   I was excited when later that day I fed her a pint of milk and she drank it all.  Still living in her own little house, she is doing well and has continued to improve each day.  It is now two weeks later and she is back to being a happy, healthy baby girl and we couldn’t be happier.

Dairy farmers would do anything to keep their cows and heifers healthy. We work consistently with vets and nutritionists who visit our farm to make sure our whole herd is doing well.  Just like with people, we do everything we can to prevent our animals from getting sick, but sometimes we still have one get sick.  When that happens, its all hands in to get her feeling better.  We love our babies, and we do everything in our power to keep them happy and healthy.

Happy and Healthy

Happy and Healthy

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A ‘Lax’ Story About Chocolate Milk

Guest Post by, Beth Coffey-Curle

If you would have told me that cartoons of chocolate milk could bond a team, create a cheer, and put a positive spin on a lost game, I would probably have smiled and moved on. It did, it does, and the energy created by the efforts on behalf of our local lacrosse high school teams by the Northern Nevada Dairymen, the Nevada Dairy Council and Model Dairy is amazing.

Last summer, I had the opportunity to see first hand how the Northern Nevada Dairymen invest in our local community, especially if the activity was centered around children. I approached them during the winter to see if there was any willingness to associate with my children’s high school lacrosse teams. Lacrosse is the fastest growing sport across the country, and it is taking off in leaps and bounds here locally in Northern NV. Still recognized as a club activity and not a varsity sport, the parents raise finances to fund all of the high school club’s expenses including field rental, uniforms, game referees, and game balls. The Northern Nevada Dairymen responded to our request with an offer to provide post-game chocolate milk for the athletes. My initial reaction was “what a nice treat,” but a bit of education later, I learned that chocolate milk is the new “recovery” drink. Put down the sugary energy drinks, welcome back milk!

Chocolate Milk Recovery

Recovering with Chocolate Milk post Lacrosse

If picking up 350 cartoons of milk to cover the first four home games – all played over three days time – was comical, finding refrigeration space for it all was down right hilarious. Some went into coolers with ice, others shared space in my husband’s beer frige and still more was stacked on top of kegs in the beer cooler. (My husband is a zymologist!) I headed to the first game with 150 cartoons of TruMoo split between two rolling ice chests. The head boys’ coach knew what was stashed in the coolers but nothing was said to the boys. When I was asked if I had enough milk to cover both teams, I replied “I have milk for Africa. Model Dairy has me covered!”

In a very physical game, the Galena Boys team beat the North Tahoe Boys team 12-2. At the end of the game, I opened each cooler that was positioned behind the team’s bench and offered the boys a drink. Their faces lit up, and I got out of the way. The boys were grabbing and tossing cartoons to each other like baseballs. The smiles on their faces were perfect. One older boy, who I recognized as the goalie from last season walked up to me. He had graduated and was home from college on spring break. He asked very politely, almost shyly, if there was milk available for a team alumni. I smiled and said I was pretty sure there was milk for returning players.

I walked over the North Tahoe bench and all the boys all came over to thank me. Before they left the field, I offered one of the straggling players another cartoon. He said he’d already had had 5 them. I said “Well, it’s a long drive home, let’s make it six,” his smile would have lit a room. On their way off the field, one young Truckee player walked over to me and said “We lost today and that was bad but the chocolate milk made it all right again.”  These kids are  teenagers – each one feels the pressure to have the coolest clothes, listen to the hottest music, and have seen the latest instagram post but push all of that aside, they’re still just our kids and a simple gesture like chocolate milk can turn their day around fast.

By the third game, the boys’ head coach said, “You know Beth, there’s something to this post-game chocolate milk. They’re too young to have a beer together after the game but to watch them post-game bond over cartoons of milk is something to see.” I knew the Northern Nevada Dairymen and Model Dairy had hit one out of the park when in a post game team huddle, the team chant was led off with “TruMoo! TruMoo! TruMoo!”

Blog post author Beth Coffey-Curle is a mom in Northern Nevada, she says, “there is a new success story for every game!”

For the past 3 years, The Northern Nevada Dairymen have partnered with the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association to name chocolate milk the official beverage of high school sports.

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Home (Farm) Improvements

Our New Commodity Shed

by Guest Blogger – Jennifer Olsen

New Commodity Shed

The New Commodity Shed at Sage Hill Dairy

Our family purchased Sage Hill Dairy in the Fall of 2006. This dairy and its cows are our life, our livelihood and our future, so despite a tough economy over the past 8 years, making improvements has been an integral part of our operation.

So…over the past several years we have been busy! Here are a few things we have been working on:

We have updated how our cows eat. When we bought the dairy, the cows ate their feed off the ground and now they eat off concrete, a clean and consistent way for them to munch away.  We added canopies to the corrals so that now all of the cows have shade to help keep them cooler during the hot summer months and dry when it is raining or snowing. We have made some improvements to the milk barn, and our latest improvement has been the construction of a new commodity shed. Our old one was working great but we were running out of space and a giant wind storm had blown off the roof, so instead of rebuilding, we decided to construct a new one.

A commodity shed is basically a storage area for our feed sources, such as rolled corn, cottonseed, almond hulls etc. It is important to properly store the feed sources to ensure the best nutritional quality, which is essential to each cow’s health and her milk production. We work with a cow nutritionist to mix these various feeds into a balanced ration and mix feed from each portion of the shed in a large feed wagon. We then distribute to the cows.

Commodity Shed

Loading the Feed Wagon

My husband and brother-in-law continue to make great decisions by simply investing in their COWS – our livelihood and our future.

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What is a Factory Farm?

A Farmer’s perspective by Katharine Nye: Utah State University Dairy Science & Agricultural Leadership Student. 

Factory farms.  Just those two little words elicit such strong emotions in us, and depending on your perspective, those emotions might be a little bit different.  For some, it might evoke images of confined animals or automated milking machines being attached to cows.  For me, those words are a call to action – a call to share knowledge, perspective, and experience, to talk with people about what life is really like in large-production agriculture.  You see, I am a 5th generation dairy farmer, and I grew up on a 3,000 cow dairy farm.  I’ve been told that my family runs a factory farm, that with such large numbers of cows, it’s impossible to be a family farm.  Did I mention, I’m the 5th generation? Yes, we’ve grown quite a bit since my great-great grandfather started out in a small barn in New England with 4 Guernsey cows.  Growing our herd has meant that more of my family can stay on the farm – often larger operations can support the livelihood of more family members. It has also allowed us to take advantage of advancements in farm technology, monitoring devices, milking equipment, and barn design to improved cow health and longevity as well as our farm’s sustainability.

Katharine Nye

Katharine Nye

According to the National Agriculture Statistics Service, more than 98% of United States farms are family owned. Corporation-owned farms make up less than two percent of the farming landscape in our country.  Just because a farm is big, doesn’t mean that the people who run it don’t care.  In fact, it’s in our very best interest to make sure that the animals in our charge are treated like kings, because unhappy animals don’t produce well.  A cow who is sick can’t make milk.  If my cows were cramped and not fed very well, they wouldn’t make milk, and my family’s livelihood would go down the drain.

But it’s not just about the money.  We genuinely care for our cows.  We like the lifestyle of dairy farming, and we find joy from having happy, healthy cows.  Cows are fun, and we enjoy being around them.  My cows have more people taking care of them than I do.  They have a nutritionist, a hoof care specialist (yes, our cows get pedicures!) two veterinarians, and a team of 6 people to make sure their corrals are clean, dry and fluffy every single day.  Then there’s my family and our employees.  We ensure that the cows are fed a balanced ration twice per day, that they are milked with care, and that they are monitored daily to make sure that no one is sick. In our pregnancy pen, the cows are checked on every half hour to ensure that no new mamas are having problems.  If our cows do get sick, they go to our hospital barn, where they can rest and recover before rejoining the main herd.

Mountain View Dairy

Mountain View Dairy

It takes a lot of people and a lot of coordination to care for 3,000 cows. Each and every single person on my dairy wants to be there.  You have to want to, because the patience and time isn’t always easy to give.  But we do, because we care, it is what my family has wanted for 5 generations. Dairy farming is about caring for the cows and building their trust in me.  It is about creating a sustainable livelihood that is good for our cows, our family, and our community.  Most especially, it’s about making sure that you, my customer, has the safest and tastiest milk that we can possibly provide.

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My Experience on the Farm

by Dawn Reed – Utah State Dietetics Student

I recently had the chance to visit the Wisers on the Circle B Dairy in Lewiston, UT and wanted to share my experience…

The Wiser Family - 3 generations on Circle B Dairy

The Wiser Family – 3 generations on Circle B Dairy

This was a great opportunity that let me see the everyday happenings of a dairy farm. I grew up in Idaho and always lived within a mile of some dairy or another, but I’d never been too familiar with how they were actually run. Going to the Circle B Dairy gave me some insight as I was shown the milking parlor and got to see the process from start to finish with some of their cows. I was amazed when I was told that they generally produce 6-8 gallons of milk every day. Brad then discussed with me the daily routine on a dairy farm. To me, the job of a dairy farmer is the definition of  commitment and hard work. There are so many aspects of the job including animal care, development of feed rations, milking the cows, upkeep of the farm, growing crops (seasonally), managing finances, and not getting a single day off all year. I’m so grateful for dairy farmers who are committed to providing the rest of us with quality dairy products through their hard work.

Cody Wiser feeding calves

Cody Wiser feeding calves

Brad continued the tour and taught me about the lifecycle of a dairy cow, what the cows are fed, and how they are cared for. I never realized there was so much science involved in dairy farming! We then walked around the farm, and I got to see where the cows bed down, look at what’s in the food they actually eat, and my personal favorite, got to play with the calves for a few minutes. I thoroughly enjoyed my tour of the Circle B Dairy and felt like I learned so much from this experience. It was a great chance for me to see what really happens on a dairy and to be reminded of where my milk comes from. It strengthened my appreciation for dairy farmers everywhere and made me appreciate all the hard work that goes into a gallon of milk, a block of cheese, butter, yogurt, etc. Thank you to Brad and Cody for taking the time to show me around!

Brad and Cody Wiser

Brad and Cody Wiser

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My Year as a Utah Dairy Ambassador

This Saturday, January 11, we get ready to name our 2014 Utah Dairy Ambassadors. As she prepares to pass the torch, Lacey Papageorge, one of our 2013 Ambassadors shares her experiences this past year.

By Guest Blogger and Dairy Ambassador Lacey Papageorge

I was born and raised on a dairy farm and as a little girl, I always watched the dairy princesses at various events my family attended.  I made up my mind way back in elementary school and I had a dream, a goal to become one of those princesses.  Since then, the title has changed, but at 18 I was selected as the Weber County Dairy Ambassador.  At 19, my ultimate dream was realized when after interviews and demonstrations, the 2013 Utah Dairy Ambassadors were announced, and I was one of them.  I was ecstatic when I realized I was about to live my childhood dream.

My first event was in St. George Utah, and I was very excited to attend the Utah Dairy Convention.  This is when I really got to know Hadley, my co-ambassador, and we became best friends.  This was a great first event – we helped set things up and had the opportunity to meet dairy farm families from around Utah.  We had a lot of fun, and the keynote speaker was Alex Smith, so we were able to meet him!  The last night of the convention they had a hypnotist at dinner, and we willingly volunteered to be hypnotized.  I don’t remember much of this, but from what I have been told it was very funny to watch.

Alex Smith at Utah Dairy Convention

State Dairy Ambassadors meet Alex Smith

My favorite part of this year has been teaching elementary school students and their parents and teachers about dairy products and cows.  Teaching has allowed me to share my passion for the dairy industry with over 3,000 people in Weber, Utah, Salt Lake, and Cache Counties.  Events I taught at included Farm Field Day events when students go on field trips to a farm and visit various booths to learn about different parts of agriculture.  Of course I taught about dairy!  I also helped lead a few school assemblies.  I enjoy the challenge of teaching. While presenting I always have to stay on my toes and be ready for questions, some of which require creative answers.  One of my favorite, commonly asked questions was “How does a mamma cow have a baby calf?” This question always required some creativity because I did not want to explain reproduction to groups of second graders.  It was also fun to learn from the students and adapt to what type of teaching they were used to.  Some classes liked to answer lots of questions and be loud while others preferred raising their hands with their answers.  Overall I thoroughly enjoyed speaking to the public about the dairy industry.

Farm Field Day

Teaching kids about dairy – farm field days

As ambassadors, we were able to help at a new event in May called “Day on the Farm.”  It was held at a dairy farm in Midway, Utah, and we had hundreds of people come out and see the farm and learn about cows.  We answered questions, helped lead farm tours, and passed out free snacks like milk, cheese sticks and ice cream.  On the farm tours we helped lead and answer questions while the owner of the farm told us about his cows, their food, and his farm.

In mid-July, we had a media tour.  Earlier in the year we did training on how to do TV and radio interviews, and this proved to be very useful.  The morning started out with a lot of fun because my mom and I were taking a calf from our farm down to the Channel 2 News Studios in Salt Lake City.  The calf was only a few days old, and we loaded her into the back of the truck complete with a topper for her to be safe and inside.  We wanted the calf to be happy and safe during our adventure, so we gave her sawdust to lay in, and frozen two liter bottles to lay on if she got hot, since it was the middle of the summer. Once we got down to Salt Lake and took the calf out of the truck, she was nervous being in the big city and did not want to walk very much, so my mom carried her.  As we walked down the street, everyone we passed and the news studio employees stopped what they were doing to come pet the baby calf.  It was so fun to talk to people and let them pet her.  They got to pet an animal they had never been around before, and we got to tell them about dairy cows.  Our news interview went great, and we had fun sharing information about the dairy industry with their viewers.  My mom took the calf home as soon as our TV interview was over; she was tired after being a star.  Our media tour continued with an interview at KSOP radio station and then a trip to a children’s hospital where we gave out Got Milk? shirts and cow glasses to kids and their families.  It was really fun to see how excited the little kids got when we came to visit.  The staff was very excited we were there and insisted getting a picture with us to add to their dairy ambassador wall.  Meeting all of these sweet people was an amazing experience, and it sure made me appreciate being healthy a lot more.  This was one of my favorite days of the summer.

Calf interview with 2 news

A young calf visits the Channel 2 News Studios

Continuing our summer of events, we represented farmers in July at the Ogden Farmers Market.  At this Agriculture Day event, farmers of all different kinds get together to bring farm animals and equipment into the middle of Ogden for all of the people to see.  We ran the dairy booth and gave out cheese sticks and answered questions about the cows, and their products.

At the Utah State Fair in September, we helped hand out ribbons during the heifer show.  Having participated in this show in the past, it was fun for me to watch all of my friends show their heifers.  Later that afternoon we helped at the annual Utah Ice Cream Festival, which is an all you can eat ice cream party. We handed out prizes, and talked to people.  Both events this day were a lot of fun and I loved the all you can eat ice cream.  This was my last state event, and I was sad to see them end.

Lucky for me the Cache County Dairy Princess who are part of the same program were very kind and asked me to assist them at two events.  Cache County is where I live now that I am attending Utah State University.  The first event I helped with was a College of Agriculture event it was a Utah’s Own Barbeque.  We were able to set up our tent and hand out local cheese to everyone who came in.  I had a lot of fun getting to know the three Cache County girls.  Later they asked me to help at the Gossner Foods Traveler Classic Basketball tournament.  This is a basketball tournament put on for Utah State by Gossner Foods a local dairy product plant.  There were six games and we attended all of them.  We assisted with give a ways and competitions during time outs and half time.  My favorite part was walking through the crowd between games and talking to fans about having three a day of dairy and giving out teddy bears to the littlest fans.  We were also honored during the Championship game on the last day of the tournament.  Wearing my red Jr. Prom dress I was escorted my dad a dairy farmer and presented for my year of work as a Utah Dairy Ambassador.  By the end of the tournament I had made three awesome new friends.

This year was fantastic I feel truly blessed to have been given the opportunity to represent the Dairy Farmers of Utah.  I loved every second of it, and I would do it again in a heartbeat.  I love all of the people I got to meet and work with, and I made a lot of new friends in people I would have never met otherwise.  There were many things I learned and even a few events I did not have time to talk about.  This was one of the best adventures of my life, and it was because of all of the people I met along the way.

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Keeping Cows Warm During a Deep Winter Freeze

With much of the country just emerging from a deep freeze, we have focused on how to keep ourselves warm and our cars from icing over, but what about dairy cattle? Winter takes on a new meaning when you have a dairy farm, and keeping the cattle warm and thriving through the winter can be challenging with the huge temperature drop, snowy ground, and sometimes windy conditions. We caught up with young farmer, Braden Anderson, who farms with his father in Northern Utah to understand more about what it takes to keep cattle healthy during frigid temperatures.

For each stage of a diary cow’s life, we have tactics to keep them healthy and warm during these cold months. For our milk cows (those members of the herd who are actively milking), we do the following:

  • Keep feed in front of them all the time. When it is cold, cows’ metabolisms are revved up in order to help their bodies generate warmth. As a result, they need to eat more during the winter in order to maintain an appropriate weight and continue to produce milk.
  • Keep their bedding dry. It is harder to stay warm when wet, so everyday we go through the cows’ stalls with a pitchfork to clean out and fluff the straw. Twice per week we add or replace their straw bedding.
  • Make sure their water is always unfrozen. Despite the cold temperatures, cows need just as much water in the winter as in the summer, so we make sure that they always have access to fresh, unfrozen water.
Fresh Straw Bedding

Fresh Straw Bedding

Our Heifers (young cows before they have had a calf) need to be taken care of too. Even though they are not part of the active milking herd, they are an essential part of our dairy – they are the young cows that will keep the dairy going in the future. In order to stay healthy and keep growing, we do many of the same things that we do for our milk cows – primarily keeping their bedding dry and always providing fresh, nutritious hay.

Winter can be tough on baby calves. The most common ailments include scours (diarrhea) and high temperatures. We do our very best to keep them as healthy as possible by providing lots of straw bedding so they are in a dry, warm environment. When a baby is born in the winter you have to do things a little differently, since you cannot leave a wet-newborn calf out in the cold for long. Here is the way we do things on our farm: After the calf is born we let the momma lick it for about 15-20 minutes.  We then dip their navel with iodine to prevent infection and we cover the newborn with a clean blanket and put them under a heat lamp. Once the calf is warm and dry, we give it the colostrum from the mother. This first milk is highly nutritious and helps build immunity in the young animal. We leave the baby calf under the heat lamp for about 2-3 days depending on how the calf is doing and the weather. If you get the calf off to a good start, she will do great throughout the remainder of winter.

Anderson Momma and Baby

A Momma licking her newborn calf

We take care of our animals all year long, but in the winter, we have some extra work to do, and we are always keeping our eyes open for signs of sick cattle. If we can catch an ailment early, we have a much better chance for a healthy recovery.

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Flat Stanley Visits the Farm

One afternoon, I opened my office mail to find Flat Stanley in an envelope attached to a note from one of our local Reno schools. The school asked if I could take Flat Stanley on a field trip to a local dairy farm and then share a story of his adventures. That sounded like a great opportunity to head down the road to Liberty Jersey Dairy Farm to pay the Christophs a visit and introduce them to Flat Stanley.

Flat Stanley at Liberty Jersey Dairy Farm in Fallon, NV

Flat Stanley visits the farm – here he is with Ted Christoph

Flat Stanley learned a few things that afternoon.

History: This particular farm was founded in 1976 – the year we celebrated our country’s bicentennial. and The farm’s namesake, “Liberty” honors that event.

Etymology: The farm’s name not only relates to our country’s history but the word Jersey is important and it describes a key feature of the farm. The Christoph family milks Jersey cows. There are several varieties of milk cows, and Jersey cows are typically brown and smaller than Holstein cows – the most popular black and white dairy cows. Jerseys are really curious, friendly animals. You can learn more about the different types of dairy cows here. Flat Stanley thought the girls were really pretty, and he loved their big brown eyes.

People: Flat Stanley got to meet Ted Christoph who gave us the grand tour. Ted recently graduated from Cornell University and  is excited to be back home working on the family farm. He farms with his mom and dad – Val and Bill Christoph. Almost all of the dairy farms in America are family owned and operated!

Cows: Flat Stanley met a few baby calves – one young girl who was 10-days old and another just hours old. He learned that calves are housed in their own houses or pens, sometimes called “hutches” in order to keep them safe, clean, and healthy.

Flat Stanley Meets a Young Calf

Flat Stanley Meets a Young Calf

Flat Stanley learns about dairy calves

Flat Stanley visits a calf in her hutch

Cows’ Food: Flat Stanley learned that cows can eat all sorts of things, and many of the things they eat cannot be eaten by humans, like almond hulls. At Liberty Jersey Dairy Farm, the Christophs feed their dairy cows grain, canola, dried brewers, almond hulls, cotton seed, and hay. The cow’s food is called a Total Mixed Ration (TMR), and it is specifically formulated by a nutritionist to make sure that each cow gets just the right amount of nutrients so they can produce wholesome, nutritious milk. Learn more about a cow’s diet here.

Flat Stanley learns about what dairy cows eat

Flat Stanley learns about what dairy cows eat

Milk: We visited the milk parlor just after the cows finished being milked, so the equipment and stalls were being cleaned and sanitized – this extensive cleaning process takes place after each milking to ensure high quality, safe, clean milk.

Flat Stanley had fun on his dairy farm adventure. After his day on the farm, we headed back to his school where he enjoyed a cookie and an ice cold glass of milk.

Posted by Libby Lovig, RD – Dairy Council of Utah/Nevada

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