Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Everyone Shout "MOOOOO!"

I spent the day yesterday on a small dairy farm. I walked through all the processes of the daily activity and helped where I could and stood back where I would have hindered.

Cows are such wonderful creatures. Each has a personality and each seems to know its duty on the farm. They knew where to stand and when. They knew which cows were higher and lower in the pecking order. They knew what moves to make to get grain to eat while they were being milked. They knew where to go when milking was finished. This ritual goes on twice a day, every day.

Now to the dairyman and dairywomen; they know their daily routine as well. There are no excuses or reasons to miss a milking. There are no sick days, and rarely can they find anyone able to help on short notice.

The milk truck comes once a day, and that’s where the funding comes to keep the whole thing going. They take samples of your milk back to the milk lab to test butterfat content, more butterfat = more money. They test the milk for anti-biotics and to make sure the milk doesn’t contain any rBST hormones. If they detect anything wrong with your milk, you have to pay for the entire load that your milk spoiled. That’s around $6,000.

The thing that surprised me most was the amount of shit cows put out while they are being milked. The farm I was on is a small operation which milks fewer than 20 cows in three batches. I easily spent over an hour with a hose and squeegee cleaning the deck and the pit when it was all over. Fortunately the building was designed correctly with gutters that lead to manure tanks. And in that sort of business shit happens. I just wasn’t prepared for the volume.

So the next time you enjoy a dairy product, ice cream, milk, yogurt, cheese…please give a thought to the dairy men and women, who don’t get a day off even if they don’t feel well, and keep their milking parlors sanitized with all the muck that comes out of those animals. Think of the plant that processes the raw milk and tests it to ensure that a healthy product reaches your lips.

Most of all, the next time you drive by a dairy farm, roll down the window and shout “MOOOO!” to thank the girls in the field for their part in the process.


Blogger Syd said...

You already know I adore my cows. They are pets on my farm and very entertaining.

Do you just wander the countryside volunteering your services to farmers? Sounds like a good gig.

7:29 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

No Syd, I don't go knocking on doors. I have friends in all sorts of different branches of agriculture. I ask if I can come down when something of interest is going to happen or people often say, come on down and I'll show you what it's about. I always accept an invitation for something I've never done or seen before.

Plus I always make myself available when they need extra help with a project. I'm sure you know what it's like to take on a project with fewer people needed to get the job done.

8:57 AM  

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