I’ve Got Moos For You. Vol 6.

Stuff I read about this week that you should care about 6/23/2017

“Help.” Food banks feeding hungry Americans

To this day, 1 in 8 Americans are having trouble getting enough to eat. That’s 42 million people. While the number of hungry people declines, the food and donations have been declining as well. There is also a struggle to find fresh items to feed the hungry, like produce and milk. Want to help?

You can help provide fresh milk to those in need here.

You can donate money to food banks here. You can also use this site to find your local food bank and deliver food and/or volunteer your time.

“Let’s make some milk.” Mr. Roboto

The dairy industry is constantly evolving and innovating. One technology that is becoming more common are robots, also known as “automation.” Automation and robotic technology can be used in different areas on the farm, from feeding the animals to milking them. While C-3PO and R2-D2 aren’t in the milking parlor, it’s advanced technology, and studies show that cows are cool with it. Stensland Family Farms in northwest Iowa opened their doors to show people what it’s like and how it works. Read their story, and why they’re using this technology here.

“Show me that you love me.” Cheese to Wisconsin

Wisconsin is one of the top dairy states in the US, and has taken it’s relationship with cheese to the next level.. they made cheese their state product. Surprise? Not at all. Is this enough of a reason to plan a vacation to Wisconsin? Probably.

Picture of the week.

Remember the cows from last week? Here’s a nugget from the same farm in Iowa. Photo cred goes to Ellie Fleming, whose cow Brelynn gave her the cutest birthday present!

ellie ayrshire

I’ve Got Moos For You. Vol 5.

Stuff that I read about this week that you should care about 6/15/2017

“I’m an environmentalist, too.” Farmers everywhere

The National Dairy FARM Program (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) is helping dairy farmers across the U.S. develop ways to improve their business. The FARM Program has created Environmental Stewardship Continuous Improvement Reference Manual, which is geared toward helping farmers improve their environmental footprint in ways that also benefit their farm’s profitability. Some partners who helped create this manual include The WWF (World Wildlife Fund) and the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. Add ‘Environmentalist’ to the long list of professional hats a dairy farmer wears.

“Not all heroes wear capes.” Million Dollar Wildlife Relief Challenge

Wild fires in March damaged 1.6 million acres of farmland throughout the states of  Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Colorado. Drovers/Farm Journal Foundation Million Dollar Wildlife Relief Challenge has raised more than $500,000 for men and women affected by the tragedy. Their goal is to reach $1 million, which is the amount that The Buffet Foundation has agreed to match. You can learn more about those affected, what they lost, and donate to the cause here.

“If brown cows make chocolate milk, do the red ones make strawberry?” 16.4 million American adults that aren’t joking

7% of American adults think that chocolate milk comes from brown cows. That comes out to about 16.4 million people. While they’re not totally wrong, they’re not really right. There are 7 different breeds of dairy cows (some are brown), that all essentially produce the same product (milk that is naturally white and composed of the same nutrients). Milk is flavored once it reaches a processor (think Land O’Lakes, Fairlife, Lactaid, Gallikers and other brands of dairy products you buy) and then sent to stores. Wondering how many times Karen from Mean Girls took this survey…

Picture of the week 

Dinner time for the girls at Hankeseen Holsteins in Luana, IA. Photo cred to Matt Hankes.

matt hankes

I’ve Got Moos For You. Vol 4.

Stuff I read about this week that you should care about 6/9/2017

“It takes a team.” National FARM Program

It takes more than a farmer to run a successful business. That’s why the National FARM Program (a team of people dedicated to helping dairy farmers continuously improve how they’re caring for their animals) has created the Dairy Dream Team. This campaign features a video and ‘baseball cards’ of other professionals who help make a dairy farm successful, including people like the nutritionist, vet and hoof trimmers. You can learn more about who is on the dream team and how they contribute to keeping cows happy and healthy here.

“Uhm – you can’t say that.” Elanco to Arla Foods Inc. USA
Arla Foods Inc. USA and Arla Foods Production LLC recently launched a $30 million marketing campaign called ‘Live Unprocessed‘  in the attempt to make viewers believe that all milk is not created equal. This included a video of a child describing what they thought about the “weird stuff in cheese,” aka rBST, a supplement given to dairy cows to help them produce milk more efficiently. Arla also states on their website that “of course they [the kids] had no idea [what rBST is]. But we took their answers and brought them to life.” AKA, a child described a 3-eyed alien with hooks on the end of their tentacles.
 Eli Lilly and Co. and its subsidiary Elanco  (who sells rBST under the brand name Posilac) are suing Arla, claiming that the company has ignored that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has declared rBST to be a safe product and that “there is no discernable difference between milk from cows supplemented with rBST and milk from unsupplemented cows.” Which means tricking kids into telling you that it’s bad for you is probably a big ‘meeehhh’ on the right or wrong scale.
“A dairy farmer and a sculptor/TV ad director walk into a bar…” Those guys
…And they decided that milk in their tea wasn’t cutting it. Black Cow, founded by Sculptor and TV-advertising Director Paul Archard and Dairy Farmer Jason Barber in England, is a spirit distilled from cows milk. And it costs $50. But, they’ve got the support of high end shops like Fortnum & Mason and Selfridges, prestigious clubs, restaurants I can’t afford and actresses  Cate Blanchett and Elizabeth Hurley. Food and drink critic for The Mail on Sunday (London newspaper) Tom Parker Bowles reviewed it as “one of the most remarkable things I’ve ever tasted.”

Right now, the only ‘foreign’ markets selling it are Ontario and California. One ticket to the west coast, please.

“You’re killin me, smalls.” Taller kids on the playground

A recent study published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition is showing that kids who drink non-cow milk aren’t as tall as those who do. The study – which included 5,034 Canadian children between ages 2 to 6 years old – shows that each  cup of non-cow’s milk consumed per day was correlated with 0.4 centimeters (0.15 inches) lower height than average for a child’s age. Some professor’s question the depth of the study, however, note that the nutritional values of alternate beverages don’t stack up to those of dairy milk.

Dr. Jonathon Maguire, the study’s lead author and a pediatrician and researchers at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, made the comment, “As a consumer and as a parent, you have to be pretty savvy when going to the grocery store to choose a non-cow’s milk beverage that has similar nutritional value as cow’s milk. Many of those beverages are marketed as being equivalent to cow’s milk when they’re not.”
Fairlife chocolate milk after soccer practice – check.
Picture of the week
ERMAGAWD LOOK AT THIS NUGGET! Photo cred goes to Erin Smith, daughter of the King of Milkshakes (PA Dairymans).
erin smith calf

I’ve Got Moos For You. Vol 3.

Stuff I read about this week that you should care about 6/2/2017

“Cheers!” People everywhere celebrating June Dairy Month

You know how there’s a ‘National Day’ for everything? Well there’s also a month for them, too. June is dedicated to celebrating the dairy industry – dairy cows, farmers and delicious dairy foods are among some of the hot topics this month.  The month kicked off with #WorldMilkDay – you can check out some of the events AROUND THE WORLD (the whole thing) that celebrated the day here. Interested in joining the celebration? Many dairy farmers and organizations are hosting events throughout the month. Want to learn more about the dairy industry and where your food comes from? Check out this website and reach out to the dairy organization nearest to you to discover what may be happening by you. You never know… you could meet a cow this month.

“Raise a glass!” Dairy Farmers of America raising money for the less fortunate

In celebration of World Milk Day yesterday, Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) donated $1 to the Great American Milk Drive for every time someone used the hashtags #RaiseAGlass and #WorldMilkDay on a social media post (up to $10,000). You can still participate in the good will throughout the whole month of June. Here’s how: Donate to the DFA Cares Foundation, also benefiting the Great American Milk Drive, at www.dfamilk.com/dfacaresdonation. All donations made will be matched throughout the month of June. Your money will help deliver fresh milk to families in need across the country. Good deed of the day, check.

“I’m getting my steps in.” That person shaking their arm around, sitting in their office cube. 

Uhm, that’s not how it works. That’s not how it works for cows, either. That’s right – there is such a thing as ‘Fitbits’ for cows. It seems odd at first, a cow needing a fitness device. But it’s just one of the many pieces of technology that allows dairy farmers to make sure their animals are healthy, happy and comfortable. These devices use accelerometers (same thing that’s in a Fitbit) to track a cow’s activity. What’s the big deal? It has the potential to help farmers detect a lot of things faster, one (but not the only) being illness. The faster a farmer figures out that one of the girls is under the weather, the faster they can help her recover, while preventing her from getting her friends sick in the process. At this point, cows may be so high-tech they could teach Gram to use Facebook.

“I scream for bourbon in my ice cream.” NYC residents treating themselves.

No more choosing between an adult beverage or a big bowl of ice cream after a long day. You can have both in NYC. Tipsy Scoop is serving up boozy frozen treats. Not in NYC? Not a problem, because they’ll ship it right to you. FoodNetwork did a video feature on it. Check it out.

Picture of the week.

Dori giving the calves some love during June Dairy Month. Photo cred goes to mwah.


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.

Rachael Ray, you’re almost there.

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about Rachael Ray’s latest segment with Keri Glassman, where they talk about all the choices we have in a grocery store. She starts with milk. First, I’d like to thank Rachael Ray show for recognizing that whole cow’s milk has the most amount of protein when compared with non-dairy beverages. Overall, her message is a strong promotion of dairy milk. But, let me tell you a little a bit about why other cow’s milk choices are just as good.

She claims that organic is “the purest,” has “the most protein,” and “you need to buy hormone free, organic milk.”

Now, that’s just not true. But let me start with this… I’m not here to say non-organic is better than organic or vice versa. We are so privileged in this country to have the freedom of choice in our food system (which they talk about), let alone the freedom to claim one is “better than the other.” Nutritionally, they stand side by side. Both produced by dairy farmers who value their cattle, land and feeding the world.

However, to be “hormone free,” or “pure and highest in protein” the answer is not buying organic. Milk will naturally have hormones in it, non-organic or organic, and both types are jacked up in protein along with 8 other essential nutrients. Below are infographics and article links that cover information on:

-Hormones in milk
-All milk is antibiotic free
-Nutritional values in ALL dairy milks

Please feel free to share these items and/or this status on Rachael Ray’s page, or send her an email. If you’re a farmer, come from a farm one or just want to support all types of dairy farmers, share a story and pictures of your farm. Make it personal. Show Rachael Ray what’s really in your non-organic milk, and why it’s incredible for your body and health. Bust the myths. Promote what’s right, true and fair. Get out there, but don’t bring down another farming practice to better your own. It’s not about us proving that organic is bad, it’s just about showcasing why all milk is delicious and nature’s most perfect food.

One person can only do so much. But if we all reach out, we can make a statement. Are you with me?









Together, we’ll conquer cancer.

Meet Katie Sowers. She is a junior at Greenwood High School in Millerstown, Pennsylvania. Or should I say, she is a very busy junior in high school. She’s involved with many activities, including FFA, serving as historian in her local 4-H Club, showing Ayrshires and Holsteins, and participating in Pennsylvania Junior Holstein activities.

This past year, Katie created a scientific display showcasing methane production, earning second place at the state convention’s intermediate division and first place at the national convention. This is a repeat winning appearance for Katie, after she won third place both at the Pennsylvania contest and nationals with her display on embryo transfer in 2015.

She also enjoys participating in baking competitions at the Perry County Fair (I’m still waiting on that peanut butter cookie recipe, Katie!), attending St. John’s Barner’s Lutheran Church and crocheting (I’m also still waiting on cow-themed hot pads for pulling my peanut butter cookies out of the oven).

So far, Katie sounds like another young woman rocking and rolling in the dairy industry. However, she is so much more than that. Katie is a survivor of cancer. She was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in October 2010‎, and she has battled her way to recovery. Katie’s last surgery was in September 2014, and she has been in remission ever since. She finished her last chemotherapy treatment on Feb. 1, 2016. Though these dates are milestones in Katie’s life, it was her journey with her family, her love for the dairy industry and her experience with THON that motivated her along the way.

Click here to read the rest of my Progressive Dairyman article!

katie sowers at thon

Beth Sowers, Katie Sowers and friends at THON

Meet Steve, the #DairyDad

Steve the #DairyDad. When it comes to being kickass, this guy has it down to a science… and I’m not saying that just because he’s going to read this and I want him to buy us Chinese takeout for dinner tonight. *angel halo emoji* Seriously though, this guy is the best. I already wrote sappy things about him and my brother is hunting prairie dogs in Montana with him (like a real life version of that computer game we used to play as kids… anyone else? No? Cool.). SO we’ll let his other two daughters take it from here.

And who may you gals be?

Erin Shaw, registered nurse, mother of a hyperactive and hyper curious one-year old Alexander, and wife to hard working and man child Nicholas.

Heeello, I’m Emily! I’m a 21 year old about to be senior at Penn State University (CRAZY). This summer, my weekdays are filled up with an internship at AgChoice Farm Credit. Outside of being a wild college student and intern, I enjoy spending time with dairy cows through shows and judging, traveling as much as my bank account allows, and being with family and friends.

Who is your #DairyDad?

Erin. Steve Shaw; My father works on the U.S. dairy sales team for Cargill Animal Nutition.

Emmy. Pops name is Steven Patrick Shaw, the same middle name as his dad and my little brother Tyler. He works for Cargill as the National Dairy Sales Leader of the US. This guy is always traveling and meeting with people, and sometimes it’s even hard for me to keep track of him. Becca told me to include some interesting about Pops, like his favorite pizza topping, so here we go: I think my dad enjoys almost anything on pizza, considering it’s a bad slice of pizza is rare like a unicorn, but I do know that he really wants to try the new cheeseburger pizza from Papa Johns! Other than pizza, it’s a fact that he will scope out the best steak in whatever area he is in, along with finding a peachy drink to join it.

How is your dad involved in the dairy industry? How has he supported you in the dairy industry?

Erin. My father introduced me to the dairy life after purchasing my first Holstein, Hillmont Thor Satin when I was eight years old. She was super tall, super fat, and super white but she earned me lots of ribbons and recognition and instilled in me a love for the breed and the industry. The yearly show circuit was where my Dad and I bonded (and fought plenty too) but it was our time together to grow as a family and as a farm. I cannot wait for him to introduce my son and his first grandchild, to the joy that is “show week” and the pride that can be earned from working hard and having beautiful cows!

Emmy. Other than working in the dairy industry through his position in Cargill, my dad has had a passion for the dairy industry his whole life. He grew up on a dairy farm, and then went to Penn State for Dairy Science. Throughout his life, he has been involved with showing and judging. His passion for the industry is contagious and he instilled it in us early on. Dad has always encouraged us to show and judge, and to be involved with taking care of our animals. When there was an opportunity for us, my dad was sure to get us involved.

One word to describe your dad and why you chose that word – go!

Erin. Hardcore. Enough said.

Emmy. Supportive. No matter what I have done throughout my life, my dad was always there to keep things in perspective and push me through tough times with encouragement.

If you had the chance to say once last thing to your dad, what would it be?

Erin. Thank you for stepping up when the other guy didn’t. Thank you for this life that wouldn’t be possible without you. Through the good times and the bad, you taught me how to be self-sufficient and that working hard does pay off.

Emmy. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU. I know kids can be frustrating at times, especially when I went through phases of being a teenager full of attitude. *PAUSE – The Cow Chronicler would like to know when this phase ended? Whatever. Carry on* But there has never been a time that you weren’t there for me. From my traveling softball tournaments every weekend in the summer, to waiting for me at our pack after I come back from the show ring to see how I did, you were there to keep me going and enjoy the fun times. I am truly blessed to have you as a dad, and I will always be grateful.