I’ve Got Moos For You. Vol 2.

Stuff I read about this week that you should care about 5/26/2017

“We eat and drink the same stuff everybody else does.”  Dairy Farmer Dave

Sustainability is a big word that’s thrown around a lot, especially when talking about farming and food production. In this #AskAFarmer video, Festival Foods Dietitian Lauren Tulig chats with Wisconsin dairy farmer Dave about what sustainability means to him and his farm.  This video highlights that consumers (you) want to know where their food comes from and feel confident that it’s being produced in a “responsible manner that is also sustainable for the environment.” Dave talks about how he meets those expectations and reminds us that, “We [dairy farmers] eat and drink the same stuff everybody else does.” Just another reason for you to trust that Dave and his fellow farmers care for their dairy cows and produce a high-quality product that they too, eat.

“You can’t sit with us.” Dairy industry to non-dairy ‘milk’ beverages

When you go to the grocery story you’ll see a variety of ‘milk’ products in the refrigerator – dairy milk, lactose free milk, coconut milk, almond milk, etc. However, dairy organizations are encouraging the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to have stricter guidelines on which beverages can legally be labeled as milk. Basically they’re asking, ‘If it’s not a beverage ‘milked out’ of an animal… then why is allowed to be called milk?’ (FYI: Canada, the UK and the EU already do not allow plant-based imitators to call themselves milk on their packaging). Beth Briczinski, VP of dairy foods and nutrition with the National Milk Producers Federation, says that establishing regulations that standardize dairy terms and product labeling will “ultimately benefit consumers, who face an increasingly bewildering assortment of imitation dairy products.” Current status: still confused about how you milk almonds and coconuts.

“Some in Silicon Valley may think this industry is unsexy.” Tristan Pollok, Entrepreneur-in-Residence & Venture Partner, 500 Startups 

For the 3rd year, Forbes Magazine is hosting their Annual AgTech Summit, set for June 28-29 in Salinas Valley, CA. It’s invite only. Paul Noglows, executive director of the event, says, “We’re convening over 600 of agriculture’s leading voices to debate, discuss, showcase and collaborate on innovative, near-term solutions to the most daunting challenges facing global agriculture.” In other words: a super casual meet up to talk about how exactly we’re going to feed the world today and in the future, and who’s going to help to do it.  Some of the topics on the agenda? How to handle droughts, the future of food production, organic vs. conventional production, robotic (and other) technologies in ag, labor and the future generation of farmers. Who’s got a +1 they’re looking to fill? Because I’m free.

Picture of the week.

Toddler-fashionista Naomi hanging out with the girls. Photo cred goes to Jason Moyer, Pennsylvania.

Naomi Moyer - Jason Moyers Daughter

I’ve Got Moos For You. Vol 1.

Stuff I read about this week that you should care about – 5/19/2017

“Sonny, he’s just like you and me.” – Farmers throughout the U.S.

Sonny Perdue, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture (previously Governor of Georgia) has made a pretty big splash since President Trump put him in charge of U.S. agriculture. However, it’s not just what he’s been doing that turns people on – it’s who he was coming into this position. Secretary Perdue grew up working on a farm, graduated from the University of Georgia with a doctorate in veterinary medicine, served in the Air Force and ran his own small agribusiness. Many in the agricultural industry hope that this background will make him a leader who’s “walked a mile in our shoes.”

“Responsibly Produced, Locally Driven and Nutrient Rich” – Undeniably Dairy 

Undeniably Dairy is a new dairy promotion campaign that is being launched by Dairy Management Inc. (This organization is also broken down regionally, this is mine). The dairy industry is always looking for new ways to connect with consumers and show them “Hey, this is where your food comes from!” The latest efforts through Undeniably Dairy will include a June Dairy month-inspired marketing campaign on the Food Network and Cooking Channel, videos highlighting campaign themes, and articles and other content promoting dairy products and the farms that produce the milk. You can learn where your food comes from while sipping on an ice-cold glass of chocolate milk here.

“It ain’t easy, bein cheesy.” – Wisconsin

I lived in Wisconsin for a summer, and what they say is true… there are more bars than churches. But even better than that, they’re not slacking on cheese production.  And while happy cows come from California, Wisconsin passed them (by 1 billion pounds… roughly the amount of grilled cheese I consumed in 2016) in cheese production in 2016. Altogether, Wisconsin ended 2016 producing around 3.24 billion lbs. (27% of U.S. production). Twenty-four percent of that was specialty cheese – the kind that people order on a plate with meat to feel high-class. Whether you’re a fancy cheese plate or an “I eat cheddar straight from the block” kinda person, Wisconsin sounds like a state for you.

Cows: just like your kids, but cuter.

You know how kids like to pick through their food and only eat what they want? Cows will sometimes do the same. In cow world, it’s called “sorting.”  But, instead of throwing the broccoli at you, they shift their around with their nose to find what they want. To prevent this, cow nutritionists (a real thing) help farmers create what’s called a “TMR” or “Total Mixed Ration.” This is developed with specific ingredients and is mixed carefully to prevent sorting and to make sure cows get the nutrients their body needs.  Industry experts conduct research to make sure we’re doing it right – just another day in pampering our bovines.

Picture of the week.

 Cows in Ireland. These photos are real life. Cred goes to Laura Homan, Ohio.

Making milk cool again.

Milk has had some positive rep in the news this week.. and a half.. (ish).

In the effort to make all things great again, Agricultural Secretary Sonny Perdue has reintroduced 1% flavored milks in public school lunches. This is a big change after the Obama Administration banned low-fat flavored milks from schools, which had caused a drop of 1.1 million students not drinking milk with their lunch. This change is intended to increase milk consumption, which will help students meet basic nutritional needs. (Full article here: Milk Business).

This is awesome. It also follows suit with the latest (mostly) pro-dairy story posted by USA Today. It’s titled, “That full-fat dairy stuff — cheese, yogurt, milk — isn’t bad for you, study finds.” It mentions in this article that while people were shunning dairy to avoid the ‘bad fat’ in it, they were depriving their bones of the nutrients they needed – which they would have received from dairy products. Thus, putting them at a risk for osteoporosis (uh, no bueno). With nine essential nutrients that our bodies need (read about them here and here and here), milk was, is and always will be a no brainer. I believe in the research, science and farmers behind the products… do you?

And ladies, this guy agrees with me… we should be drinking milk. Not only are we the ultimate bosses and kick ass’ers of life, but our body needs what dairy has.

“Simply put, women benefit from the major nutrients and vitamins packed within dairy products. Women considering a dairy-free diet must understand the risks to their health, especially deficiencies in calcium and vitamin D.” (Dr. Manny Alvarez)

All in all, it’s been a week in the news of #MakingMilkCoolAgain. Future #CowChronicler2020 slogan? Maybe I’ll base my campaign around requiring ice cream and cheese fondue to have their own food groups, and gyms having chocolate milk in their vending machines.