Food Safety Starts on Our Farm

Note: This post is sponsored by ENOUGH Movement. As always, I am sharing what happens on our farm. The views and opinions are my own.

I have a confession, I absolutely despise grocery shopping. I know that many people might think that as a farmer we must have most of what we need grown or raised right here on the farm but that simply is not the case. Most of what our family eats comes from the very same grocery store where my neighbors shop. We are fortunate to eat our own beef, eat eggs from our own chickens and know that we always have fresh milk.

The truth is though that I have no problem buying meat from the local grocer, a package of eggs when our girls cannot keep up with demand and we proudly fill our cart with dairy products made with our milk by our farmer owned cooperative. While there is a lot of concern these days about food safety and confusion over the massive amount of labels companies are placing on food products. As a farmer, I know that there are many rules and regulations in place to keep our food supply safe regardless of the amount of labels and I feel confident filling my cart with products grown/raised by my fellow farmers As a mother, I am more concerned about feeding my family a well-balanced meal and know that food safety is top priority no matter if the food was grown/raised on a conventional or organic farm. Continue reading Food Safety Starts on Our Farm

What’s in a glass of milk?

What’s in a glass of milk?

Calcium (30% DV*) – Calcium helps build and maintain strong bones and teeth. It also plays an important role in nerve function, muscle contraction and blood clotting.

Potassium (11% DV) – Potassium regulates the body’s fluid balance, helps maintain normal blood pressure and is needed for muscle activity and contraction.

Phosphorus (20% DV) – Phosphorus strengthens bones and generates energy in the body’s cells.

Protein (16% DV) – Protein builds and repairs muscle tissue and serves as a source of energy during high-powered endurance exercise.

Vitamin A (10% DV) – Vitamin A helps maintain normal vision and skin, helps regulate cell growth and maintains the integrity of the immune system.

Vitamin D (25% DV) – Vitamin D helps promote the absorption of calcium and enhances bone mineralization.

Vitamin B12 (13% DV) – Vitamin B12 helps build red blood cells that carry oxygen from the lungs to working muscles.

Riboflavin (24% DV) – Riboflavin, or vitamin B2, helps convert food into energy – a process critical for exercising muscles.

Niacin (10% DV) – Niacin (or niacin equivalent) is important for the normal function of many enzymes in the body and is involved in the metabolism of sugars and fatty acids. Source: http://bit.ly/2mr8YHw

What’s not in a glass of milk?

Pus- Read more here: http://bit.ly/2o9MTRm

Antibiotics & Painkillers- Read more here: http://bit.ly/1XL7vsz

Blood, Feces, Bacteria & Pathogens- Read more here: http://bit.ly/2bzq3wI

What you should know about milk:

Approximately 80 percent of the protein in milk is casein protein, while the other 20 percent is whey protein. This is not a bad thing. Read more here: http://bit.ly/29nhPF7

Hormones are naturally occurring in all milk- Read more here: http://bit.ly/2ngaHxV

The naturally occurring hormones in milk do not cause early puberty- Read more here: http://bit.ly/2nu3qfV

Dairy farmers are committed to the care of their cows and providing others with a safe, healthy and affordable products. We feed our families the same products we provide for yours. Have questions about how dairy farming works? Ask a dairy farmer.

Dairy Farming: Perception vs. Reality

Note: This post is sponsored by U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance & they will also be sharing on their blog as well. As always, I am sharing what happens on our farm. The views and opinions are my own.

With the vast majority of the U.S. population being several generations removed from the farm, it’s incredibly easy for folks to have misconceptions of what really happens on a dairy farm. I know this because I used to be one of those people.

With smooth talking marketing companies, restaurant chains trying to make an extra buck and all the confusing labels; let’s take a moment to break down the public’s perception of dairy farming and dairy products vs. the reality with facts from farmers and scientists.

Perception: Milk in stores contains antibiotics.

Reality: Milk is the most highly regulated food in stores. All milk–regardless of label–is antibiotic free. A common misconception is that organic dairy farmers do not use antibiotics. This is not true. If an animal is ill and antibiotics will save it’s life, organic farmers use antibiotics. That animal then has to be removed from their herd. On our conventional dairy farm, antibiotics are also a last resort for  treating sick animals. While the cows do not have to leave our farm if treated, their milk is disposed of and we follow strict precautions and milk withdrawal periods to ensure their milk never enters the milk supply.

So, grab that gallon of milk (or two) and know that whichever label you choose your milk is antibiotic free.

Perception: Large dairy farms are unregulated.

Reality: The truth is 97% of U.S. dairy farms are family owned. That includes farms of all sizes, including organic and conventional. In Washington State, all licensed dairy farms are held to the state regulations. My friend Angie of Douglas Falls Creamery owns a small micro dairy farm with five cows, our farms are held to the same standards. On our farm, we milk an average of 140 cows and have the same rules and regulations as our friends of DeBoer Dairy whom milk 1,000 cows.

Perception: Dairy cows are only fed corn.

Reality: On our farm, we have a nutritionist who  we work with to formulate a special ration for our cows. A cow’s diet is filled with forages, grains and minerals.  The majority of our cow’s diet is alfalfa hay and alfalfa silage. We change their ration throughout the different stages of their–life from birth through milking–to ensure all their nutritional needs are being met.

Perception: Cows fed GMOs produce GMO milk.

Reality: Recent research found that:

“A very tiny amount of small DNA fragments (smaller than is needed for a complete gene) from digested plants can sometimes be found in milk. These tiny fragments in no way represent complete genes, any more than a few bricks stuck together are a prison. What is a “tiny” amount? No genetically modified genes or gene fragments were found in milk, while fragments of a “normal” plant gene were found.”

What does that mean? The claim that if a cow eats crops that were grown from seeds that were genetically modified that somehow after the plant grows, the cow eats it, digests it, produces milk that is then is pasteurized contains GMOs is simply false.

Perception: Cows are mistreated on many U.S. dairy farms.

Reality: Over 90% of the U.S. milk supply comes from farms that are part of the National Dairy FARM Program. Our cooperative is part of this program. We are inspected by our local inspector and are subject to third-party inspections as well. What these inspections do is ensure that each of our farms are taking the best possible care of our cows. They check our facilities to make sure our cows have adequate housing, if their living conditions are clean, if they have access to fresh food and water and the condition of their overall wellbeing. In addition to the housing and the care of our cows, they also check to make sure we have proper protocols for sick cows, down cows, cows that need to be put down, etc. To learn more about the program, visit their website.

If you have questions or concerns about what you have seen online in regards to farming, reach out to farmers. Don’t take sound bites and “undercover” footage from activists groups and paint an entire industry with the same tainted brush.