Cool Cows: How One Dairy Farmer Helps His Herd Beat the Heat

With 11 children and thousands of cows to milk every day, I try not to sweat the small stuff. I’m a fourth-generation dairy farmer, and if there’s one thing my father taught me, it was to just keep your cool when working through any situation

When I do sweat, though, is when my cows sweat. This summer’s heat wave, much like the one five years ago, has been really hard on many of us around the country — including our animals. Even in Utah, where we are, we’ve seen many days of 100-degree-plus temperatures, which is very unusual for us.

Keeping the cows cool is essential to keeping them happy and healthy. After the heat wave five years ago, we stepped up our extreme heat control efforts here, investing in more equipment to help make sure our cows are comfortable. We cool the cows with soakers where they feed. We have invested in sprinklers in the holding pens and areas where the cows exit the barn. We also have both sprinklers and fans in the barns. Our cows pay back the favor by producing high-quality milk that we are proud to sell.

Eleven children, thousands of cows… Sure, sometimes it’s hard to keep your cool. But I love being a dairy farmer and wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world.

Lance Bateman, Bateman’s Mosida Farms, Dairy Farmers of America Member

Posted on July 23, 2012

Cheddar with a New Smoky Twist

There are many things I love about developing new products. But my favorite thing by far is when one of our innovative creations becomes a reality. Our two newest products, Smoked Cheddar Singles Sensations® and Smoked Cheddar Natural Slices are the culmination of hours of research, ingredient testing and sampling (oh, the sampling!).

Our new smoked cheddar products couldn’t be launching at a better time. According to a new market trends report from Packaged Facts and CCD Innovation, hot, spicy and smoky flavors are growing in popularity. And more than that, this emerging trend is helping bring comfort flavors to new foods. If smoky, fiery flavors are what people want, that’s what we are going to deliver. After all, that’s exactly why our product development team exists — to help deliver the flavors that people crave.

You’re probably wondering what meals pair well with these new smoky flavors. A burger is a given. With 45 percent of U.S. households grilling during the summer months, Smoked Cheddar serves as a perfect complement to any burger. But thinking beyond a burger? Try our Smoky Bacon Cheddar Turkey Panini Melts. It’s a new, tasty twist on a classic sandwich.

I hope you enjoy our two new Smoked Cheddars. Feel free to share any of the great dinner creations you discover on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/friendsofelsie.com. OK, it’s back to the research and ingredient testing. It’s time to find another product that you and your family will love.

Erin Kouri, Senior New Product Development Manager, Consumer Brands, Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.

Posted on July 13, 2012

From the cubicle to the parlor.

I was not born into dairy farming. It certainly wasn’t in my career path either. I got a degree in business administration, and I took a corporate job out of school. But that all changed in 2003. My husband, Matt, and I made the decision to take over his family’s fourth-generation dairy farm. I traded my cubicle for more than a hundred cows, and in the process discovered an entirely new life and a new set of values.

Dairy farming has given me a new perspective. The decisions we make revolve around the family and the farm, not us as individuals. The cows we care for need to be looked after around the clock. And the decisions we make for our animals each and every day matter immensely to them. Dairy farming is more than a full-time job, but it’s a job we wouldn’t trade for the world.

One of the things I have come to appreciate the most from our family farm is the impact it has had on our children. Each year, they get to experience new milestones – rooting themselves deeper and deeper into the work ethic and commitment a job like this takes. They understand the value of a dollar, and they understand responsibility. It’s important to us. After all, one day, we hope that our children are running the farm.

I’m proud to be a dairy farmer. It’s been fun, challenging, exciting and tiring all at once. Trust me, I could use a lot more adjectives to describe it. The hours we work have allowed us to stay involved in all aspects of our children’s lives. As I’ve grown as a dairy farmer, we’ve grown as a family. We’ve laughed. We’ve learned. And we’ll continue to do that well into the future.

Cindy Damm, Damm’s Dairy, Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. Member

Posted on June 21, 2012