Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Spreading the milk life

My friend Julie has been affected by knowing a dairy farmer.  (Just like I've been affected by her family's business - Magline, Inc.  Founded in 1947, they're the world's leading manufacturer of lightweight aluminum hand trucks.  Hand trucks!  You may know them as dollies, which is what I called them before I met her.  I never call them that any more.)

One day Julie told me I needed to post about the millions of crafts people could make out of plastic milk gallons.  Her daughter was supposed to take one to school for a project, and she was really pushing the milk-drinking with her kids because she needed it emptied before school.  She thought that if people were making the crafts, we could increase milk consumption.

"Are there a lot of milk gallon crafts?" I asked.

"I'm sure - just check Pinterest," she said. 

Sure enough, there are billions of milk gallon crafts.  Later that week in the paper I saw a woman in my town had built a milk gallon igloo for the community center.  Are you inspired?  Getting crafty?

Then today she called to tell me she saw Live with Kelly and Michael at the gym.  She told me they were talking about how the slogan 'Got Milk?' ad campaign is being replaced by 'Milk Life'.  She said they were also surprised to hear that milk consumption has gone down - Michael responded to that by saying that he used to drink a gallon of milk a day and said ... "How do you think I got this body?"  as in, he's super fit.

We talked about how if she didn't have me as a friend, she would never think about these milk-related issues!  When you know someone who is personally affected, it changes your worldview.

Which brings me back to this weekend ... we went to a wedding with people we hadn't seen in a really long time.  Some since before we became dairy farmers. 

- Our first friend asked us about organic milk.  We had a long discussion.

- Another guy came over to the table and said, "Are you guys the people with the dairy farm?  I have some questions about ultra-pasteurized organic milk."

Our friends laughed and one said, "Carla, do you just want the microphone?"

- Then a friend came back from tending to her baby and her husband said, "Now tell her about organic and conventional milk."

What our friends had questions about were buying organic milk vs. buying conventional milk.  They wanted to know what we bought.  We told them we buy conventional.

We explained that ...

- conventional and organic milk have no antibiotics in it.

- conventional and organic milk have no added hormones in it.  (All milk has natural hormones.)

We told them about how milk is tested repeatedly on the farm and at the lab to ensure that it is antibiotic free.  We told them we don't feed any antibiotics to cows.  We only give them medicine when they're sick, and then we don't milk them into the tank when they have the medicine still in their systems.  Then when they're better and the medicine is out of their system - only then do we begin milking them again.  No one wants antibiotics in the milk - the farmer or the consumer.

We told them about how 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, there was no way to tell the artificial 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. 

Of course we're in favor of capitalism and choice, and it's easier to make a decision when you know all milk is healthy and nutritious.    

The reaction from our friends was exactly the same.

"No one knows this."

"I've never heard this - ever."

"You need to do a better job of telling people about this."

"Does your industry try to publicize this at all?"

This made me laugh, since I feel that's all we do - through US Farmers & Ranchers Alliance, National Milk Producers Federation, the Michigan Ag Council, farm tours, events, blogs ... We're trying.  I guess we're not always reaching the people that we're trying to reach.  That's why personal connections mean so much.

But if we all tell a few more friends ... talk at a few more weddings ... and make some more Pinterest crafts, maybe we can spread the word about living the milk life.  To the milk igloo! 


bob Kyes said...

You are about a 1/4 right about the difference with Conventional Milk vs organic milk!!

bob Kyes said...

If we add into the equation that most conventional cows live off of Conventional farming, which uses Pesticides ( which kills annually 220,000 people)!! Is that not a difference??

Secondly most dairy cows either eat
soy corn or grain, none of these
foods are suitable for cows, cows are ruminants, they require grass!!!
Also Organic cows can not be feed Genetically modified Organisms, conventional cows can!!

Unless your cows are feed food not sprayed with Synthetic pesticides, no GMO'a eat mostly grass, then this post would be correct!! Major difference from Organic milk and conventional milk, and the best way to raise cows is on 100% grass!! know your farmer and his/her practices and his feed suppliers practices, you will know your food!!

Thank you for creating place to discuss such an important topic!!

Take care!!


Carla said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
bob Kyes said...

I was just helping to explain the difference, to share information as I am a food educator!! I have seen your posts from friends on face book, and I thought I would comment!!

Carla said...

Hello Robert,

Thanks for reading! As I said, I'm a fan of capitalism and if people want to buy organic milk, they're certainly welcome to do so.

However, my point is that there is no test that could ever tell organic milk from conventional milk. It's the same healthy, nutritious product. This is not always the message that consumers get.

I see we don't share the same opinion on many farming issues, but as a sixth generation dairy farmer on this pasture-based farm, rest assured that we are completely dedicated to taking care of the land, taking care of the cattle, and producing a quality product.

Yes, I welcome all questions and opinions! Thanks again.

bob Kyes said...

If we test the soil as the Rodale institute does we can see the difference in the soil, there are many ways to measure something!! I measure in terms of Environmental, health of the animal and the consumer, not just on nutrition along!!

I teach companies ( humbly) about ethics and the "why" they do it!! Science is can be valuable and limited depending on what we are measuring!! The test is, can most people drink milk?? Many are getting more and more allergic to it, because of what the cows are feed, how the milk is processed, how it is pasteurized, if it is Ultra pasteurized and homogenized is it really milk anymore, having to add synthetic vitamin A and D back into it because Ultra pasteurization destroys most of it!! Low vast pasteurization 145 degrees doesn't need to add certain vitamins back in it. If we don't homogenize either most people can tolerate milk!!

In regards to capitalism if we know Organic is Healthier for our environment, our chidren, than people will pay for it!!! In the diary industry it seems we should take the lead and create something that is better for our children ( no pesticides, GMO's etc.)

I am just here to show a different perspective!! Knowledge is key to unlock the door to information to people, the right knowledge can move mountains.... I love milk!!!!

Thank you for your time!!!


Carla said...

Hello Robert,

Yes, as long as people know the facts, they can make their own informed choices. I personally am a proponent of GMOs and pesticides and especially pasteurization.

As you know, the consumer is always right! I just want people to know all the facts before they make their milk buying decisions.

Thanks again for the conversation. Have a good night -