As dairy producers our job is to provide a safe wholesome product to the consumer while being environmentally sustainable and responsibly treat our animals. We take great pride in making sure our cows are taken care of properly. They each have individual sand beds to lay in, fresh feed and water available around the clock and have the veterinarian stop in every two weeks to monitor reproductive status and look at anyone who may be feeling under the weather.
Now that the summer heat has started kicking in we have fans and sprinklers for the cows to help stay cool. They have it better then most people. While we are out working in the hot heat they get to lounge around, getting cool water sprayed on them and a fan blowing the heat away.
In an attempt to better educate the public and create confidence in the dairy industry, the industry has developed the National Dairy Farm (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) Program. It was developed to demonstrate and verify that U.S. milk producers are committed to providing the highest standards of animal care and quality assurance. Other food areas have check off programs; like Beef Check off , Pork Check off. As an industry we decided it would be a good thing to take a proactive approach and develop our own simmiliar program.
The program is set up to have a trained evaluator come into a farm and evaluate animal handling and housing and give the producer recommendations to improve their farm. It include everything from properly handling baby calves, working with a veterinarian on a regular basis, training employees, and proper record keeping to ensure food safety.
Land O Lakes, our milk cooperative sent a representative to the farm yesterday to go through this evaluation with us yesterday. It started with a series of question on how we operate and then he walked through and looked at all the animals. We are proud to say that the evaluation went quite well and he was very pleased with our efforts in taking the best care of our animals possible.