Crazy Moos

Moosworthy Information Straight from the Dairy!

Growing Corn for the Cows to Eat

Chopping the Corn

**Chopping the corn**

Every year during the summer, here on the dairy we are busy growing corn for the cows. Corn would probably be the staple food of our dairy cows.

A lot of people today criticize animal agriculture for using corn. The argument being that with all the corn that cows consume, instead of feeding it to cows, we could use the corn to feed people instead. The argument seems to make sense at first, but when you look at the bigger picture, you find that they are forgetting something.

When we feed the corn to cows, we don’t just feed them the corn cob. We feed them the entire stalk (the whole plant). The entire corn plant is cut up, and put into a pile. The pile is packed by a large tractor that compresses the pile to eliminate oxygen from the pile. Oxygen = spoilage. The pile is covered, and it ferments so we have a feed source that is available all year around.

The cow is able to digest the entire corn stalk, something people cannot eat. So the cow actually is converting a product indigestible by people, into a high quality food product rich in protein.

Corn is a very environmentally friendly crop as well. Corn is like grass, but grows much taller. Because corn grows quite tall, you get a lot of food per acre of land. So compared to grass, we can grow more food per acre which uses less natural resources.

 California Corn Field

**A California corn field, not like the Midwest**

So we have been busy here on the dairy, chopping this year’s corn crop. I took some pictures around the ranch of what is going on. Before we started chopping, my sister checked the corn to make sure it was ready to chop. When harvesting the corn it’s important to make sure it’s ready!

 

Checking Corn

**My sister checking the corn**

Checking the Corn

**Very short compared to the corn**

Chopping Corn

**Loading the trucks**

Chopping the corn with Sunset

**It looks pretty cool with the sun in the background**

Chopping

**The corn chopper cuts up the stalks then shoots it into the trucks who haul it to the pile**

Corn Silage

**A pile of cut up corn**

Silage Pit

**The pile slowly growing**

Filed under: Farm, Farming, , , , , , ,

Ever Wonder How Cows are Milked

The course of human events can be interesting at times. Back in the days before we had the technology, cows were milked by hand 2 times per day. Then human ingenuity allowed for the development of modern day milking machines that milked cows automatically, and relieved thousands of people from milking cows.

Now technology is again revolutionizing our world. Thanks to technology you can once again milk cows by hand! So what technology once worked to eliminated, technology has now brought back. Isn’t it interesting how these things work out.. 🙂

I was pretty amazed last week to see that the number one app in the Apple app store was an simple app called “Milk the Cow.” The app claims that it is the top app in 20 different countries, and has enabled over 1 million people to milk cows in just one week. That’s a lot of milkers! **the only problem is that people are milking virtual cows… if only we could change that though**

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**Virtual Teats**

The app is actually pretty amusing. You milk the virtual teat as fast as you can. The timer clocks how long it takes you to fill the pail. So far my fastest time is 15 seconds so I challenge anyone to beat that. I’ve had some real practice though so beware.

Since there seems to be such an interest in how cows are milked, I decided to share the process in pictures and a video. The process is fairly simple –> the cows enter the barn, the milking machines are attached, then the cows wait patiently while chew their cud, when the milking is finished, they happily head back home.

**See in less than 1 minute how cows are milked**

Cow

**On their way to the milk barn**

Walking in the barn

**Walking in the milk barn**

Cows Waiting

**Patiently awaiting while being milked**

Milking by Hand

**You can still milk them by hand**

Attaching the milk machine

**Attaching the machine**

Fresh milk

**Fresh milk**

Filed under: Dairy, Milk Quality, , , , , , ,

Billy, Wubbzy’s little Protégé

Wubbzy

**Wubbzy, full grown and one mean old bull**

So you might be wondering, whatever happened to Wow Wow Wubbzy, Wubbzy, Wubbzy Wow Wow, the smallest calf with the longest name. Wubbzy was actually quite the popular calf back in his prime, and even rose to celebrity status when the creator or the real Wow Wow Wubbzy show took notice last year.

Wow Wow Wubbzy was our farm pet, and he even went to the county fair. Even though he didn’t win at the fair, he was still immensely popular with everyone who visited him there.

These days Wubbzy has outgrown his cuteness, and is really quite mean. He is fully grown now, and very ferocious. I try to avoid his pen these days.

Wow Wow Wubbzy

**Did I mention mean.. Watch out!**

The good news is that there is another little Jersey bull that has taken attempted to take Wubbzy’s place. Billy is a little bull that my youngest sister has made her pet.

Billy

**Billy, he kind of looks like Wubbzy**

Billy was signed up to go to the fair this year, but he couldn’t go this year. Billy just had too much ringworm. It was really quite unfortunate. On the upside, Billy has gotten rid of his ringworm, and has healthy skin. He didn’t even need to use Proactive Solution 😉

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**Billy, earlier this year. The gray patch is his ringworm**

**Having fun with Billy**

Unfortunately Billy will also grow-up, and that’s a fact will probably be the most difficult thing for my sister. In the meantime, she’s having a lot of fun with him while he grows to be as big and strong as Wow Wow Wubbzy.

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**Billy, growing just as fast a Wubbzy did**

Filed under: Dairy, Dairy Pets, , , , , , ,

Chase our Border Collie, an invaluable worker at the dairy

There is always a lot of work to do on the farm. So to help with all the work we got a new dog to help us herd the cows. Border collies are extremely intelligent dogs that really are born to herd animals. It’s in their DNA, and they can’t help but herd things around.

Ace

**Ace, training calves how to walk with the halter**

Our first border collie was named Ace and was probably one of the best dogs ever that we have had on our dairy. He never spent a lot of time lying around, but was continually searching for work to do on the dairy. He was very energetic!

He would disappear at night only to find out that he was busy helping the some of our employees herd the cows to the milk barn. During the day, he would help anyone herding cows or calves. Once he finished helping you though, he would listen to see if he could hear anyone else herding the animals and quickly rush off to help them. Ace definitely loved his job here at the dairy.

The great thing about Ace was that he was very gentle with the cows. He never rushed up to the cows, and tried to bite them. He herded the cows, but made sure that they were never under any sort of stress and that’s very important. Happy cows give more milk so we want them to be comfortable and stress free.

Border collies are great herders. If you live in the city where there is nothing for your border collie to herd, they will improvise because they have loads of energy to expend. They begin to herd cats, people, or anything that moves really. They have a lot of energy so it’s really quite unfortunate if they don’t have any opportunities to work. The Wall Street Journal had a great article and video about Border Collies a few months ago.

http://online.wsj.com/video/border-collies-born-to-herd/2EC6DD8E-F01A-4AC7-B14A-24BED2B047C9.html

Some people think that you can train any dog to herd animals, but you really can’t. Some dogs just cannot learn how to herd animals. I think it’s born into them, just like some people are better herdsman than others.

My uncle tried to train a German Sheppard to herd some of our young stock, but it really hasn’t worked. German Sheppard’s are just not born herders, they are watch dogs. When herding the cows, the dog just narrows his focus to one of the animals and pursues that one animal while neglecting the rest of the herd. As you can imagine this causes chaos and constant scolding’s from his master. The dog cannot help it though; it’s just not in the dog to herd animals. I don’t think there is anything you can do to change that, it’s just the nature of things.

Ace our Border collie was a pretty great cow dog though. Unfortunately one Sunday, someone picked him up and stole him. Apparently trained cow dogs are very valuable to some people. We keep hoping he will turn up.

Chase

**Chase, the new puppy**

Chase driving

**Chase ready for a tour of the dairy, a dog with many skills- he drives too**

So a few weeks ago, we got a new Border collie who we named Chase. We only hope that he is as good a dog as Ace was. Chase is still a puppy though so still learning to herd cows. We think he is coming along though. He already herds all of our cats around the house. Chase will be a great addition to the dairy and an invaluable worker to help us on the farm.

Chase 1

**Chase meets the cows**

Chase 2

**He meets the baby calves too. The Calf- “huh, what are you”**

Chase 3

**Enjoying a drink after his extensive tour of the dairy**

Filed under: Dairy, Dairy Pets, , , , , , ,

Dairymen have Mercy for Animals!

California Calf

**Happy cows really do come from California. This little girl was out basking in the sunshine the other day just working on her tan**

Dairymen give Animals the Best Care Possible

Sometimes as a dairy farmer I am very distraught by the things people say about the dairy industry. We treat animals with respect and give them the best care possible. We depend on them for our livelihood, just as our animals depend on us. It’s a mutually beneficial relationship. That’s why it’s hard to listen to people bash us and our industry by saying negative things; condemning us for inhumane treatment of animals while the complete opposite is true.

Recently Mercy for Animals, an animal rights activist group, released some “undercover” video footage of a ranch not treating baby calves right. As a dairyman, I was completely appalled by the footage. I found it extremely disturbing, and it really motivated me to write about this.

I think that the “undercover” video footage that Mercy for Animals puts together is meant to disturb you. They stage these events in order to provoke you, to motivate you to take action. I will admit it is very motivating, because I was extremely disgusted with the video, and cannot bear to let this happen to other animals.

They stage these incidents of animal cruelty themselves in order to promote and push their agenda. Their agenda being that everyone should stop eating products produced by animals. They hate people involved in animal agriculture, and want to erase the industry from society altogether. Since they are a minority opinion though, they need to convince you that people on farms hate their animals and abuse them on a daily basis in order to convince you to take action and join their cause.

I think anyone who knows a local farmer, though, will know that animals are treated very humanely on the farm. I for one can confidently say though that no dairy farmers treat animals the way that Mercy for Animals would have you to believe. There is no motive, or reason for a dairy farmer to treat the animals on their farm inhumanely unless they are truly depraved people.

Dairymen are motivated to treat the baby calves on the dairy humanely because they are the next generation for the farm. Just like you want the best for your children, we want the best for our calves. We treat them well because happy cows really do produce the best milk.

On Our Farm

Let me tell you how we treat the baby calves. When the baby calves are born we put them in hutches so they can have a clean, safe, stress free environment. The reason we separate them from the mother is that the mothers can be very careless at times. The hutches are a safe place where they won’t get stepped on or pushed around by the older cows. If you want to think about it this way, the calf pens are basically big play pens, like a play pen you would keep your toddler in to keep them out of trouble.

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**The Playpens**

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The calves stay in the hutches for about 2 months, and then move into a much larger group pen where they can play with all their friends. During those first few weeks though it’s critical that they remain separated because their immune systems are still developing. Any illness at this point of their life will severely affect their growth so we try to keep them as healthy as possible. We use some basic antibiotics if they get sick, which helps them overcome any illness they might get.

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**My brother and sister out making sure everyone is healthy in the group pen the babies go to after they leave their playpens**

Calves are fed two times every day, morning and afternoon. They get a nice bucket full of milk so they can grow healthy and strong. In addition we have grain bins available in their pens so they have free access to grain whenever they want. Grain is high in protein so the baby calves can grow more quickly. In the summer time when it’s very hot, we also make sure to keep water available to them in addition to the milk they get. Sometimes on the extremely hot days, we give them electrolytes (Gatorade for calves) to keep them properly hydrated. So nutritionally they have a very healthy and sound diet and are always kept fed and well nourished.

The Plain, Simple Truth

It’s important to keep them healthy with a stress free environment and that’s really our primary goal in raising the babies. They are our farms next generation so we make sure to treat them well on our farm! I know for a fact that all other dairy farmers have this same motivation to treat their cows and calves humanely and keep them comfortable.

Mercy for Animals and other animal rights activists definitely have an agenda, which they will enact using any means possible. All I can say is that dairymen have no motivation to treat animals badly. In fact only the opposite is true, we have full motivation to treat animals well. The better care we give to the animals the better they will be at taking care of us, and that’s just the plain simple truth.

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Filed under: Calves, Cow Comfort, Dairy, Dairy Issues, , , , , ,

May 2011 on the Dairy

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Well it was starting to feel like summer here on the dairy not to long ago. Ironically enough, the weather has changed and we are now getting a bit of rain. Luckily we finished harvesting the entire winter crop just in time.

The sunshine was pretty nice when I was out taking these pictures around the dairy. So enjoy the following pictures:

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**All the ladies gathering around to see what’s happening**

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**Very Nosey…haha**

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Filed under: Dairy, Pictures, , , ,

The Foster Mother of the Human Race

Hoards Dairyman

**Taken from Hoards Dairyman**

125 years ago, W.D. Hoard, founder of one of the oldest and well known dairy magazines, penned a tribute to the dairy cow and recognized the dairy cow as being the foster mother of the human race when he wrote:

“The cow is the foster mother of the human race. From the time of the ancient Hindoo to this time have the thoughts of men turned to this kindly and beneficent creature as one of the chief sustaining forces of the human race”W.D. Hoard

As a dairyman, I think it would be appropriate to also recognize the contributions that these foster mothers have made to human society in this time when we are celebrating Mothers Day

Filed under: Dairy, , , , , ,

Easter, and the California State Show

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**Cottonball our new bunny rabbit**

Easter has arrived at last, another reminder that spring has arrived! Cottonball was a friendly addition and helped us celebrate the holiday.

This past week, my family has been busy showing some of our animals at the California State Dairy Show. The show was very intense, but our animals did pretty well in the contest. One of our Red and White Holsteins won her class!

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**Cali chillaxing at the show**

All the cows arrive to the fairgrounds early in the week so they can recover from their journey to the show and get familiar with their new surroundings. By allowing arriving early and resting from the journey, the cows look their best by show time! The California State dairy show is the largest dairy show in California where the best of the best come and compete.

Cali, our red and white heifer, was just one of the heifers we showed at the show. She is a pretty calm heifer and was quite happy to be attending the show. She is just a natural beauty queen! 

**Cali entertaining herself**

Cali was pretty calm the entire show, and loved all the attention. Life at the show was easy for her. Clean bedding, a cool barn, and food delivered straight to her. Definitely a life of luxury.

**My brother showing Cali**

My brother got to show a few of the heifers in the show ring. The above picture shows Cali in the ring competing against other Holstein cows from all around California. Cali is pretty serious in the show ring.

**My sister showing Cali**

My sister also got to show Cali off in the show ring. Look how alert Cali is in the ring. She puts on a pretty exciting show.

**Picture time after winning her class**

Cali ended up winning her class at the show. The winners got to take their pictures which is a special honor! In the picture above the photographers are setting Cali up so she can look her best in the picture.

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**The prize**

After all the hard work of showing, this is a pretty satisfying reward! Cali is officially one of the top Red and White Holsteins in California

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

Lets eat only natural wholesome food products!

Fresh Foods like Milk

1263409299-milkThere is a food movement in the United States today that has been growing, and really beginning to influencing many people’s food purchasing choices. The trend is towards choosing foods that have been naturally produced, and locally grown. This trend makes sense to me as a food producer because I understand that food just taste better in its natural state. I think every food purchaser wants to buy fresh good tasting food!

Dairy is one of natures most natural and healthy food products. Think about it, milk is a combination of protein, fat, calcium, and a low calorie sweetener called lactose. Protein for building strong muscles, calcium for building strong bones, and fat to help with nutrient absorption.

It’s strange to me why so many people get hung up on the fact that milk has fat in it. Natural milk (not reduced fat or skim milk) is only composed of 3.5% fat. Let me put it this way, milk is 96.5% fat free!

So if milk is truly a natural food product, then why is fluid consumption still declining? Since fluid milk is such a healthy beneficial product, why aren’t people buying more milk?

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**Data from future.aae.wisc.edu**

Dairy Substitutes Labeling = Misleading and Fraudulent

One thing that annoys me as a dairy producer is the fact that most the dairy substitute products ride off of milks healthy reputation. In the United States today, there have been many labeling deceptions by food manufacturing companies, and they are marketing their products fraudulently.

The Food and Drug Administration in the United States regulates food labeling practices and makes sure that businesses in the United States follow regulatory guidelines regarding labeling practices. Because food is such an important area of people’s lives, the FDA has strict guidelines in the Code of Federal Regulations to monitor food labeling and make sure the product is what the manufacturer is producing. In fact, every dairy product has its own standard or identity. The easiest way to explain this is to just show you what I’m talking about.

41uLDyFKE3L__SL500_AA300_The Code of Federal Regulations Title 21 section 131.200 notes what yogurt is:

Yogurt is the food produced by culturing one or more of the optional dairy ingredients specified in paragraph (c) of this section with a characterizing bacterial culture that contains the lactic acid-producing bacteria, Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus…

…All ingredients used are safe and suitable. Yogurt, before the addition of bulky flavors, contains not less than 3.25 percent milkfat and not less than 8.25 percent milk solids not fat, and has a titratable acidity of not less than 0.9 percent, expressed as lactic acid.

In other words, yogurt is a dairy product that must use the specified bacteria Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, and have 3.25% milkfat and not less than 8.25% milk solids not fat (like protein and lactose). So a food manufacture, to label their product yogurt, would have to make sure there was the right amount of fat and solids in their product. If they cannot meet these guidelines specified by the FDA, they cannot call their product yogurt. This is why you see products called smoothies or yogurt beverage, because they didn’t meet the standards to be called yogurt.

So if all food products have a standard of identity specified by federal law, then why do we still have food mislabeling going on? According to the FDA, “milk is the lacteal secretion obtained by milking one or more healthy cows.” My question is why haven’t the FDA gone after the mislabeling of food products hinging off of the health reputation that milk has.

A Puzzling Trend

Like I mentioned before, the modern food movement puzzles me in the fact that milk and dairy haven’t gotten any significant boost in consumption from the new food trend. If milk is a healthy natural food source, why isn’t milk consumption exploding with a renewed vigor.

In stores that promote natural foods, there are an array of dairy substitutes on the selves. I have had the experience of trying a wide range of “milk” products. I have tried hemp milk, soy milk, soy ice cream, soy yogurt, coconut yogurt, almond milk, and many more. Every time I try these products though, I come to the same conclusion – How do people eat these products! They really just don’t taste that great..

Why Proper Labeling is Important

All these products have fraudulent labels using the words milk, yogurt, and ice cream. Many people shrug it off and think it isn’t a big deal, but it really is! The false labeling of these products is misleading and illegal. Some people do believe that these substitute products, with milk or yogurt in the name, really have the same nutritional components of milk or yogurt. I’ve talked with people who substituted real milk with soy milk. The sad part is that these people think they are getting the same nutrition.

These alternative products don’t provide the same nutrition at all! A prime example is the coconut yogurt I tried. On the label it claims you’re getting the same amount of calcium that you would get with real dairy yogurt. When I finished eating the yogurt, you could see the calcium granules at the bottom of the container. Even though the manufacture added the calcium to make it equivalent to the calcium in real yogurt, you actually didn’t consume nearly the same amount. Furthermore your body probably didn’t absorb any of the calcium, and passed right through your system because it didn’t have any natural way to help absorb the calcium like real dairy products do.

Soy – Made in a Factory

Another example is with soy milk. When you substitute soy milk with real milk, you’re sacrificing the protein, essential amino acids, beneficial fatty acid, calcium, and other nutritional components that real milk and dairy products provide.

Many people don’t realize that soy beans in their natural unprocessed state are poisonous. In order to get rid of the toxic components of soy, you need extensive processing to make an acceptable food product. Even some of the components that are used in the soy manufacturing process are full of carcinogenic components. It’s a process that takes a poisonous product, and fabricates a food product that people can consume with relative safety. Soy is really an unnatural food, but is a product being touted as a “healthy alternative superior to real milk.” You can read more here about the negative effects of soy on human health.

The Bottom Line

Milk is the most nutritious beverage in the world today, and food manufacturers know this fact. That’s why they food processors want to use the name of dairy products on their products because it puts a positive connotative health reference on their product. Soy juice doesn’t have the same ring and connotative positivity as soy milk. I hope that the good people at the FDA in charge of labeling oversight begin noticing the plague of false labeling that is in our marketplace today and begin to take action. It’s important because of consumer perceptions. People need to be able to make healthy food purchases, and not be mislead by false labeling claims that can misinform.

I hope people participating in the changing food trend notice the importance of milk. Milk is naturally produced by the “foster mother of the human race” (dairy cows), and full of vitamins, and nutrients. So as a dairy producer providing milk, I hope people really do recognize that milk is a quality food product. Let’s eat only natural products like milk, yogurt, and cheese instead of these factory produced alternative “dairy” products. Hopefully with the new food trend, people will continue to find the quality in the product that milk is, drink more milk, and have a renewed widespread enthusiasm for milk and other dairy products.

Filed under: Dairy, Dairy Issues, Dairy Products, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What do Cows Eat: Oats

Summer is here!

It’s the beginning of April, and summer is here! Somehow it seems that we skipped spring this year. It went from rainy and cold to sunny and hot in a matter of days. We’ve been enjoying some great weather here in the California valley so far this month. The temperature swing however has had some detrimental effects on the baby calves though. Unfortunately they don’t like dramatics changes in the weather. The upside is the oats are growing now finally. After a cold winter, they finally have some great sunshine to grow in.

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**Summer is Here @ 91 degrees**

I think I will start a new series of blogs called “what do cows eat.” It may surprise some people what cows actually eat because on the farm, we use a variety of feeds for the cows. California also has a lot of different crops growing, and many of these crops have by-products that we can feed our cows. As a result, our cows get a mix of many different foods.

During the winter months, we grow winter forages like oats and rye grass. These crops grow well during the winter, and give us another feed source when were not growing corn. I guess one difference between organic dairy farming, and modern dairy farming is that instead of grazing the grass, we grow the grass, cut it, and store it all year long for the cows. The oats get pretty tall too. I took some pictures of the oats

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**One of our Oats Fields**

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**If you were really short walking through the field**

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**Watch the sunset…**

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**Now its Dark**

Filed under: Dairy, Farm, , , , , , , , , , ,

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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**