Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Milk Means More!

Maranda is the WOTV 4 women, kids, and family expert. She hosts a weekday program called “Where You Live”.  She was at Fuel Up to Play 60, and yesterday they showed a nice little story on it on her program!

And something fun and different - she interviewed the boys! 

The feature is here: Fuel Up to Play 60 with Milk Means More & the Detroit Lions.  The video is the third one, called 'Maranda introduces us to Future Farmers of America.' 

Meanwhile back on the farm ... it rained for two entire days, and then it got cold!  It's always an adjustment when the weather changes, and it's been 70 and sunny for months.  We're still having calves, my mom is still doing calf chores, we're still milking cows three times a day ... now it's just all happening in different temperatures!  Thanks to our great team members who are all bundled up and ready.  The cows ... their ideal is around 50, so they're more comfortable than any of us.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

What's the difference between organic milk and regular milk?

What’s the difference between organic milk and regular milk?

Nothing.  The products are the same.  If you have a glass of organic milk and a glass of regular milk, there’s no test that says – yes, this is one, and this is the other.  They have the same nutrients, neither of them have antibiotics, and neither of them have added hormones.  They are both GREAT.

It’s not just me saying it. There have been many studies – like by the USDA and the American Dietetic Association – that show organic and regular milk are equally nutritious and safe.

(Please see articles about how there are no antibiotics and no added hormones in your milk.  There are none in organic milk or regular milk.)

The difference is in the process, not the product.

Organic farms produce organic milk.  This means:

-The cows must eat organic feed, except minerals and vitamins.
-The cows must not be treated with antibiotics or added hormones or during their lifetimes.
-The cows must be allowed outdoor access for at least 120 days a year.

(You can read the regulations from the USDA here.)

Conventional farms produce conventional milk.  This means:

-The cows eat feed that benefited from technology, including fertilizer and weed and pest control.
We grow corn and alfalfa and sudax, plus we have our cattle on pasture, and we take pride in our crops!  It takes a lot of work to grow food for hundreds of cows.

-The cows are treated with antibiotics in the rare occasion one is sick. 
The milk from a cow treated with antibiotics never goes into the tank, and there are many, many safeguards to prevent this from happening.  NO ONE wants antibiotics in the milk.  Read about it here.

-The cows can be indoors or outdoors. 
We personally have our cows on pasture as well as indoors, but lots of farms have their cattle indoors in well ventilated barns, using all the latest technology on how to keep your cattle comfortable.  (Sand bedding, misters, fans, waterbeds.)  Conventional farms also adhere to strict government regulations and frequent inspections.  There's a small sampling here.

So the result is … milk!  

Some organic and some regular milk have longer expiration dates, and the reason why is because they are ultra pasteurized.  This isn’t because it’s organic, but instead because heating it up hotter for longer makes milk shelf stable for a longer period of time.  You can read all about that here.  Some is more expensive, but don't feel like you have to pay more.

Again, the milk that comes from farms, both organic and regular, is the same.  It still has nine essential nutrients.  It has the SAME amount of vitamins, minerals, and proteins.  It still has no antibiotics and no added hormones.  And most important to me … it tastes great.

If you’re one of those people who doesn’t like milk, please enjoy cheese, ice cream, or yogurt!  Or just pick some up for me.  We buy skim, 2%, and whole and right now we’re out of ALL THREE.

Want to know more about the farm?  Like the page on Facebook, on Twitter @carlashelley, or sign up to get the blog by email - the form is on the right side of the page.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Fuel Up to Play 60 - with the whole family!

Yesterday was Fuel Up to Play 60 at Ford Field, and guess who came?  Eureka Elementary in St Johns AND my husband and kids!

The entire day was really well organized and fun.  Kris was a referee, and I was happy to once again be the emcee! 

First, former Detroit Lion Herman Moore spoke to the kids about exercise and eating a healthy diet that includes dairy.  Next. Rodney Lamar Page gave a motivational speech where he played violin, played an electric violin, rapped, and did beat boxing.  (He is a former St Johns music teacher, too!) 

Detroit Lion Tahir Whitehead played a nutrition trivia game with the kids.  Then the kids went down to the tunnel, got announced, and ran onto the field!  They did an hour of football drills with Detroit Lions players and coaches, including Eric Ebron and Miles Killebrew.  It was great fun watching them.

We ate a dairy-filled lunch, the student ambassadors talked, we had a super energetic speaker Kim Campbell (very good) and then we all headed back down to the field to have a press conference with player Ameer Abdullah, dance, take pictures, and play more football!

The pro-dairy, pro-health, pro-exercise messaging was great, the people were fun, and I was so glad to be a part of it again.  Thanks to Mr. Matulis, Ms. Foreback, and Mrs. Potter from Eureka for bringing the kids, and to United Dairy Industry of Michigan for putting it on!

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Mr. Matulis took some nice shots of the kids on the field.  Here are a few:

Monday, October 9, 2017

Chicago Marathon and Chocolate Milk

Well, THAT was an exciting race!

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I ran the Chicago Marathon yesterday, representing Team Chocolate Milk!  It was a great race, I got a PR, and I never got tired of people yelling, "I LOVE CHOCOLATE MILK!  GO TEAM CHOCOLATE MILK!"

Since it says it on the back, too, runners said to me, "There's never a bad time for chocolate milk!" and "I love your shirt!" 

Not only did I refuel afterward ... but at mile 20, my kids shared a couple of quick bites of their ice cream with me.  Creamy vanilla and Oreos.  It was much appreciated!

Thanks to all the volunteers, our relatives Tom, Melissa, and Amanda for hosting us, my family for cheering me on in person and on the phone, and Chicago an all-around great race.  That city is great fun.  We even took our kids to where we went on our first date - the top of the John Hancock building.  And look where all of this has led!

We're back on the farm today, and heading out for another dairy event tomorrow.  Enjoy whatever is refueling you today!  I ate a GIANT bowl of ice cream.  Two bites is good, twenty is even better.

Want to know more about the farm?  Like the page on Facebook, on Twitter @carlashelley, or sign up to get the blog by email - the form is on the right side of the page.

National Farmers Day on TV!

I'm sure you're getting ready to celebrate National Farmers Day on October 12!  Do you have your decorations up?  Your gifts purchased?  Your meal ready?!

Yes, even though you and I may not know it ... a day celebrating farmers is on Thursday, and no matter what food you eat, it came from a farmer.  Enjoy!

United Dairy Industry of Michigan was planning ahead and had me tape a TV spot that will be shown on Fox 47 at 7:25 a.m. on October 10th.

The Morning Blend people in the studio and the co-hosts Bob Hoffman and Mary Turner were incredibly friendly - plus enthusiastic.  Kathi Eckler from UDIM came along with dairy products to display during the interview.  Jolene Griffin from UDIM sent me the shirt to wear ahead of time.  (It's true.  Even if I were never a dairy farmer this is true.)

Here's to eating - every day!

You can see the video spot here

Monday, September 18, 2017

Chopping, calving, running

We've had quite a month ...

Here's Kris with our 116th heifer calf this season.  About halfway done, now.  The calving has been going pretty well.

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I got to see this calf being born.  It's not always a sure thing, because the cows don't like to be watched, and sometimes when I'm hovering nearby with a camera, it makes them nervous and they walk away and stop pushing.  Then I feel like I'm making the entire birth process more difficult ... and take longer ... and possibly harm the calf ... you get the idea.

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I never get tired of seeing this.  This is my backyard!

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I spoke at an event put on by Ionia County Farm Bureau.  They hosted a tour that took consumers to see a dairy, a beef farm, an ethanol plant, and to lunch at Denny Farms Farm Market & Bakery, where I spoke to them about food safety.  Kudos to the organizers for their educational efforts and the people who want to learn!

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I finally flew with my dad.  He got his pilot's license eight years ago.  It gave me a great view of the farm!  The circles are the path of the irrigation wheels, and you can see exactly where the water stops.

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We chopped some of the corn, but not all, because the rest of it was much wetter.  (We farm on different types of soil, and one of our fields is irrigated - the one above.)  The boys love, love, love to ride with Kris.  They take turns, because Kris can only fit one of them in there with him now! We used to squeeze in more when they weren't so huge!

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Speaking of huge, isn't corn an amazing plant?!  As I read somewhere, people don't write country songs about soybeans.

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And speaking of irrigation ... we had a floorless tent up in our yard for an event for 22 hours.  During that time it rained about 1/2 inch.  Imagine the state of our crops if we didn't get that rain.  None of it drained over to under the tent?!  Incredible.  Thank goodness we got that tiny shower when we did - it really made a difference.

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This is an insurance row.  The insurance adjuster can't always get to the field before we do it, so we leave these rows so they can come and test it.  We come back later to chop it.

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My mom has been doing calf chores in the mornings!  Why?  Because she's great and we didn't have anyone to do them.  What a gem!

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As part of Team Chocolate Milk, I ran the Capital City Half Marathon in Lansing!  It was such a blast.  We all chugged some chocolate milk afterward.  We took a regular picture just holding our milk, and my dad said, "Why aren't you drinking it?  I want a picture of that!"  I like how, just by chance, we all have our eyes closed.  Bright ... and bliss!

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It's been a hectic summer, and we're looking forward to a slower fall.  Cheers!

Want to know more about the farm?  Like the page on Facebook, on Twitter @carlashelley, or sign up to get the blog by email - the form is on the right side of the page.

Monday, September 11, 2017

No hormones are added to your milk.

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Twice this weekend I was asked the same question – are there added hormones in milk?

I’m happy I could give the answer – no!  There are no added hormones in milk.  Not in conventional milk nor in organic milk.

First of all, in Michigan, farmers don't give their cows hormones to help them produce more milk. (We never have on this farm, either.)  When farmers did it in the past, there was no way to tell the synthetic hormone from the natural hormone, because cows already produced it.  (So there was no test for it.)  But when consumers didn't want it, farmers stopped using it.  In Michigan, that happened in 2008.  The rest of the country has done the same.

All milk - organic and conventional - has natural hormones, because it is coming from a lactating mammal.  But!  Never fear because ...

Humans do not have receptors for bovine hormones.

It's not me saying it - it's scientists.

Dr. Terry Etherton: “There are zillions of protein hormones in both plant and animal foods. They are digested in the stomach, which kills their ability to have any biological activity." Best Food Facts

Another way to put it, from Science Blogs: Aetiology by Tara C. Smith, is:

“Studies have shown that human and bovine milk normally contain small amounts of growth hormone. After ingestion, growth hormone as any other protein in milk: it is digested into its constituent amino acids and di- and tripeptides. There is no data to suggest that BST present in milk can survive digestion or produce unique peptide fragments that might have biological effects.

Even if BST is absorbed intact, the growth hormone receptors in the human do not recognize cow BST and, therefore, BST cannot produce effects in humans. … Overall studies show recombinant growth hormone cannot be absorbed intact through intestine and even if small amounts get absorbed, there is no receptor for bovine growth hormones in humans.”

Or from the American Cancer Society:

"Neither natural nor synthetic BGH has been found to affect human growth hormone receptors."

Let me also add that these are naturally-occurring hormones, which all milk has, because it comes from lactating animals.  Hormones aren't just present in milk - they're present in all types of food. For instance, look at this chart about estrogen from Allen Young, Utah State University Extension dairy specialist and associate professor:

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So there’s your milk news for the day.  Please feel free to ask any questions you have!

Other questions answered:

What's the difference between whole, 2% and skim milk?

How long can you drink milk past the sell-by date?

Does milk make girls develop faster?  No.

What's the difference between organic and conventional milk?  Process, not product.

Why does organic milk have a longer expiration date?  It's heated up hotter.


There are no antibiotics in your milk.

This is what we do to guard against human error to never have antibiotics in milk.

GMOs, no antibiotics, etc.