Crazy Moos

Moosworthy Information Straight from the Dairy!

Is Modern Dairy and Animal Agriculture Sustainable?

Dairy Cares

**What Sustainability Means**

Sustainability

When people think about sustainability, dairy and animal agriculture is usually not their first thought. In fact, many people think that dairy and animal agriculture are one of the largest sources for environmental pollution, but it’s not true. The dairy industry has made some major changes with new knowledge and science. On our family farm, we use these advancements to improve our farms and lessen our impact on the environment, but as an industry we have done little to show what we are doing on our farms.

Fewer Cows More Milk

**Fewer Cows with More Milk. 9.3 million cows produce 59% more milk than 25.6 million cows that were around in 1944**

 

Greenhouse gases in California

**Dairy emissions are less than 3% of the total emissions in California. This includes all the emissions from all stages of production including processing, transportation of dairy products, and wholesale retail impact** 

In 1944, there were 25.6 million cows in the U.S. compared to 9.3 million cows today that produce more milk than all the cows combined in 1944. So with 16.3 million less cows in the U.S. dairy farms are producing more milk than ever before. In fact, milk production has increased 59% since 1944 despite the number of cows decreasing.

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**Cows today are more efficient at converting feed to milk so less feed needs to be used**

Making more milk with fewer cows has made a significant impact on our environment. Fewer cows’ means there are less cows eating and making emissions.

But how can you make more milk with fewer cows. At first glance the numbers don’t seem to make any sense, and seems impossible. But dairies have accomplished the task by the simple implementation of using new technologies on farms to improve efficiencies.

On Our Family Dairy…

feeding cows

**Our Feed Mixer. The feed wagon mixes the various feeds that are specified by our dairy nutritionist to make different feeds for cows at different stages**

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**We feed cows corn silage which is fermented cut-up corn. Corn is a great feed source for cows because the cows can digest the entire corn plant. Compared to grazing, corn silage is more friendly to the environment noting there is much more feed produced per acre of land**

On our dairy, we use a nutritionist to make the different feed rations on our farm. Cows at different stages of milk production have different energy requirements. Cows producing a lot of milk need to eat high energy food in order to stay fit. Likewise, cows that aren’t producing milk need feed that is lower in energy otherwise they will get fat very quickly. It’s all about balancing the cow’s diet to make sure she stays healthy.

Specially formulated feed for our cows not only helps keep our cows healthy, but it also improves the amount of milk a cow can give. Basically by taking care of our cows and ensuring that they get a balanced diet, our cows can do they best job they can do.

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**This is one of our balanced dairy cows with great genetics. She combines strength and a tight udder with great milk production and butterfat**

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**My sister showing one of our cows with great genetics**

In addition to feeding cows better, there has been tremendous improvement in genetics. Some cows have better traits, so we breed our cows to the best bulls with these traits in the industry. Cows can even be genomically tested to determine her genetic potential and what the best mating is for that cow. On our dairy we like to breed for a very balanced cow. We like to breed for cows that are very efficient at producing milk using less feed. We breed them to produce milk with higher protein and butterfat, but we also breed for a cow with good strength, tight mammaries, and a long life expectancy. Better genetics have made our cows master milk producers, that stay healthier, and live longer.

We have made many improvements on our dairy and monitor our impact on the environment. We do a lot of environmental testing on crops and waste water to make sure our impact is minimal. Many dairies are putting methane digesters on their dairies to turn waste into electricity or natural gas. The future of dairy is looking quite bright, especially as technology improves and helps us reduce the impact of our cows and farms.

The Problem with Organic Agriculture

When people think about sustainability, People often associate organic agriculture with sustainability. It may be because people confuse the words “green” and “organic” as meaning the same thing, but they don’t.

I am not anti-organic by any means, but want people to understand the difference between organic and modern ways of farming.

The problem with organic agriculture is that organic farming often means eliminating all the technologies (other than genetics) that have developed to make our cows more efficient. An organic dairy farm means that cows must be on pasture and cannot be fed a specially designed feed ration. So organic dairies produce less milk and use more land and other inputs. Organic farming is simply going back to the old ways of farming when my grandpa started our family farm in the 1950s.

If you want to see the impact that organic farming has on the environment, all you need to do is look at the impact that the industry used to have on the industry. Organic farming while seeming “green” is not really sustainable.

Organic farming is not sustainable in the fact that the global population will grow an additional 2.5 billion people by 2050. All these people need to eat, and the world will need more food. The current increases in food production are growing much more slowly than the pace of population growth. Organic farming is going back to a time with reduced production. Looking back at the past, it’s using 16.3 million cows to produce 59% less milk. It’s unsustainable, so hopefully people take notice of these fundamental facts.

Building a Brighter Future

With our family farm, we are hoping to build a brighter future for everyone, and really to make our contribution to society by being responsible dairy people. We work hard on our dairy to reduce our impact on the environment around us, and we do this without much news coverage or attention. I hope that people do start to notice what we are doing on our farm to reduce our impact. I will hopefully be sharing more about what we do on our farm to help make people more aware.

The following is a video that one of our industry organizations put together. You can also download a sweet PDF brochure about what the dairy industry is doing to reduce its environmental impact on the environment

Filed under: Dairy, Dairy Issues, Family Farms, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Oliebollen: Our Families New Years Tradition

Oliebollen

**Oliebollen**

Our family has a tradition where every new years we eat oliebollen. Oliebollen is basically a Dutch donut and literally translated in English means oil balls. The dough is deep fried in oil, and taste like a greasy donut. Sounds strange, but just add some powdered sugar, and believe me they are awesome!

The recipe for making the Dutch treat is handed down from generation to generation, so not everyone knows how to make them. My mom has our family’s secret recipe, and closely guards it from falling into the wrong hands. Many other Dutch families have their own recipes, and every year they make their version of the special treat. While many people only claim to make the best oliebollen, my mom actually does make the very best, and her recipe remains unmatched.

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**Making Oliebollen, the Dough Rising**

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**The Finished Oliebollen**

Making oliebollen is actually kind of an art. You have to know how to make the dough the right consistency; otherwise you end up with a rock hard ball. My mom’s oliebollen are light and fluffy. Sometimes she adds apples or raisins to change things up. I don’t think I’ve meet anyone who hasn’t like my mom’s oliebollen.

Traditionally oliebollen are only supposed to be eaten on New Year’s Eve, but at our house December is pretty much oliebollen season. By the end of December, we all feel ourselves growing into oliebollen so good thing we only eat them in December and not all year long.

It’s an interesting New Years tradition, but I’m not going to complain. I like eating oliebollen.

Filed under: Dairy, Family Farms, , , , ,

Wow Wow Wubbzy Goes to the County Fair

In previous posts, I mentioned that every year our family takes a few cows to the local county fair. The fair, while fun, takes a lot of preparation. It’s essentially a beauty pageant for the cows, and they are judged according to how they look. The kids showing have a direct influence on how the cows look, so if you want to win with your cow, you must work hard to help clean her up.

Washing, clipping hair, scrubbing toenails, and fluffing the tail is just some of the work that needs to be done. Fair time definitely means a time of excessive luxury for the cows.

Wow Wow Wubbzy Wubbzy Wubbzy Wow Wow went to the fair this year. Wubbzy’s growth was stunted when he was just a small calf, so he never grew very big. Usually the bigger the calf is the higher chance of winning the show so we urged my sister not to take him. But how could you not want to take Wubbzy!

Wubbzy was probably one of the smallest calves at the fair. But even though he was small in stature, Wubbzy was enormous in personality. You couldn’t find a more popular calf with the ladies.

Wubbzy had loads of fun at the fair, and my little brother couldn’t help but show Wubbzy around all over the fairgrounds. My little bro took Wubbzy around showing him off.

When it came time for the show, Wubbzy was the calmest calf there. Unfortunately Wubbzy didn’t win, he lost like we all expected. But Wubbzy didn’t care. I think he just likes to think he was a winner from the other end!

Here are some of the pictures from the fair!

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Filed under: County Fair, Dairy, Dairy Pets, Family Farms, , , , ,

No extra time!

time-management-clock

Many people may think that I have given up on my blog since there have been no new posts for awhile. I would like to say that that is not the case; I’ve just been busy doing other things, and haven’t been able to find time to do any writing. I’ve been busy doing a variety of things which I will share in my blog, so keep reading my blog.

Work never ceases on the family farm. Most people don’t realize that the dairy operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Worst of all, there is no holidays. In fact, all the problems seem to happen around those times. 🙂

The craziness has settled down a bit, so I’ll be writing regularly again. My next posting should be posted in a little bit, about Wow Wow Wubbzy going to the local county fair!

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Filed under: Dairy, Family Farms, , , ,

If Cows Could Vote…

country-morning-sunrise

If cows voted the world would be a better place.. at least for the family dairy farmer, and dairy aficionados it would be. The Family Farm Estate Tax Relief Act (H.R. 5475) would definitely help out family farms.

Contrary to popular belief that dairy farms are factory farms run by greedy corporations, 99% of family farms in California are family owned and operated. Dairy farms are typically family owned, and the whole family (or most of the family excluding the slothful family members) work on the dairy to help take care of the cows.

One of the downsides to the family business is transferring the business on to the next generation. In some cases, there is little planning for the transfer of the business to the next generation and the next generation gets stuck with a huge estate tax on the operation. In some cases there is no way to survive the tax, and the family business collapses and are forced to exit the industry.

The Family Farm Estate Tax Relief Act would exempt family farms and ranches from the estate tax as long as the estate keeps farming. National Cattleman’s Beef Association President Steve Foglesong  says “Preserving the legacy of American agriculture for future generations should not be political issue; it’s the right thing to do.” Allowing family farms and ranches to be taxed out of business will put our national food security and global competitiveness at serious risk.”

If cows could vote they would definitely vote for this bill. It allows a brighter future for the families dairies that take care of the cows, and secures dairy consumers a high quality nutritious product that they can depend on for years to come!

Read more about this issue at TheDairySite.com in the article titled “Protecting Family Farms And Ranches”


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Crazy Moos

About Crazy Moos

Welcome to the Crazy Moos blog! Crazy Moos is a play on words, basically trying to create a fun environment (crazy) for dairy news (moos). The overall goal of this blog is to communicate “moosworthy information” (newsworthy information) about the dairy industry and important happening on the dairy farm. Hopefully this blog will help people learn about various aspects of the dairy industry and what happens on the dairy farm. Visit regularly for new blog postings!

About Me

I am a 3rd generation dairyman in California, and our dairy farm really is a reflection of the American dream. My grandfather came to America from Europe after World War II in search of greater opportunities, and a safer place to raise a family. He came to America with hardly anything except his exceptional appreciation for hard work. My grandpa after a few years was able to start his own dairy farm and start producing high quality, nutritious milk. In the 70’s, he moved the operation to a more remote area (our current location), and started growing the herd.

Today, I am actively taking part in the farms daily responsibilities. I’m well qualified to be in the dairy industry, and consider myself pretty knowledgeable about the dairy industry having just graduating college with a degrees in dairy science, and dairy processing.

Many people today believe that the dairy industry has been taken over by large corporate farms, but a recent study done shows that most dairies are family owned. In fact, 99% of dairy farms in California are family owned and operated. My whole family is involved on the dairy. My sisters are caretakers of the baby calves, and we guys take care of the cows. There are eight kids in our family, so the dairy is definitely a family affair!

Milk is one of the world’s most nutritious natural products. So many people today are forgetting that milk is filled with many different nutrients, all combined to work in synergy together to maximize the body’s absorption of these nutrients. It’s the perfect blend of nutrients, in nature’s most natural product.

Milk, it’s a natural product, that’s naturally good for you!

**All Pictures, unless specified otherwise, Copyright © 2011 Crazy Moos. All Rights Reserved**