I’ve Got Moos For You. Vol 17.

Stuff I read about this week that you should care about 9/8/2017

“Welp.. here we go.” Florida dairy farmers preparing for IRMA

We’ve had an interesting few weeks of weather, and it’s not getting boring any time soon. Hurricane IRMA is making it’s way to the U.S. and Florida is expected to get hit… hard. Many people are evacuating the state, but dairy farmers (and other types of farmers) can’t buy their cows a plane ticket. So, they’re preparing the best they can. You can read about it more in this article. Let’s keep Florida in our thoughts and prayers and hope that we don’t have to help them recover. But if we do – be prepared to help. Why? Because we’re Americans.

“My friends call me Whole Paycheck.” Whole Foods

Whole Foods has a reputation of being really expensive. Now that they’ve been purchased by Amazon, that might change. Amazon said “let’s relax” and is planning on cutting prices back on select items (what people are calling “the staples“). Some are saying that this is so it can take on more lower-priced competitor stores, others are saying they’re not that significant and are only doing it for attention. Time will tell if this helps Whole Foods gain some business back by not taking your whole paycheck, or if the price cuts aren’t enough.

“I’m all natural.” When you wear mascara, foundation and bronzer in a #nomakeup selfie

“Natural” is a word that really, no one is quite sure what it means. It’s caused enough confusion that it’s spurred legal action. The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has promised consumers that they’d provide an answer of what it means and who’s allowed to put it on their packaging – but that still hasn’t happened. Companies like Sargento (the fancy cheese in a dark red package) and Walmart have been sued over what some think are “false claims.” But technically, they haven’t said anything that they’re not allowed to, because there isn’t a legal definition of what a “natural” food product is. Confused yet?

Picture of the week. 

Another shot of Dori and one of her cow friends, taken by Emily Shaw. The world is a really crazy place, and recently I’ve felt extra thankful for everything I have. My cows and pup are safe, and I hope that our friends facing crazy weather are able to protect their loved ones and animals as well!

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I’ve Got Moos For You. Vol 16.

Stuff I read about this week that you should care about 9/1/2017

“Harvey has nothing on the spirit of Americans.” Our country supporting Texas

Areas of Texas have been hit by Hurricane Harvey and the flooding has been something that Noah would have built an ark for. While there weren’t any sharks swimming up the Houston freeway (despite some of Twitter’s users best efforts to fool us) there were over 18,600 people rescued, along with animals. Unfortunately, 24 people have died (this is a count that was last seen on MSNBC’s morning report on 8/31). This week’s picture of the week is a photo and video of cattle being moved to dry land. It’s almost impossible to believe the pictures and footage on the news, but it’s a very proud time to be an American as we all come together to help each other out. If you’re interested in donating, check out this NY Times article that provides different ways to help and organizations to donate money towards.

“WE ARE…. REALLY EXCITED!” PSU fans who love ice cream

The Pennsylvania Dairymen’s Association is famous for their milkshakes. People will stand in line for (literally) hours to get one of these bad boys. Now, they’re selling them at Penn State football games. They’ll even be blue and white to get spectators in the spirit. You pay $6 and they give $1 from every sale to Fill a Glass with Hope, a fundraiser providing milk to those who can’t afford it. Boom.

Picture of the week.

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Americans are awesome. Watch the footage of these cattle being moved to dry ground in Texas here.

I’ve Got Moos For You. Vol 15.

Stuff I read about this week that you should care about 8/25/2017

“Mooooove over!” Trying to find a seat at an eclipse viewing party

Unless you live under a rock, you heard something about the solar eclipse that went down on Monday (8/21). While some people were scrambling around last minute for proper glasses (and some saying IDGAF and going blind), others were gathering at dairy farms for a partyShatto Milk Company, right outside of Kansas City, had upwards of 2,500 people at their dairy farm. Shatto processes and sells their own milk in glass bottles, and is notorious for creating limited edition versions for special events. The eclipse was honored with a bottle filled with black milk (double cookies and cream flavor). Other farms hosting events included Chaney’s Dairy Barn near Hopkinsville, Kentucky and Sweetwater Valley Farm north of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

“Your poop smells like roses, but mine creates electricity.” Cows doing a mic drop

There is more to poop than meets the eye. 20,000 cows at Stotz Dairy in Buckeye, Arizona are turning poop in power – literally. They use a methane digester on the farm. The waste water from the dairy is collected, and run through the digester. Solids are used as fertilizer, and the remaining liquid is ‘milked’ for its methane gas, which is put through a generator. How powerful is there poop? There’s enough energy produced to fuel 487 homes. How many times can we say poop? So far, 5 times.

“I take nap right here.” 4-H kids snuggling with their cows

Showing dairy cows is a real thing, which is similar to people who show dogs or horses. There is an “ideal” cow for each breed (there are 7 different breeds of dairy cows) and cows are judged by how closely they compare to the ideal cow of their breed. It can get pretty serious from local, to national to WORLDWIDE competitions, however it can also be fun. This picture shows the bond that can be developed between a cow and it’s human – who is most likely showing through 4-H or FFA, student and youth organizations.

Picture of the week. 

Joel Smith of Pennsylvania likes to make sure all of his cats get some milk too – doesn’t seem like the calf in the back appreciates his kindness.

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I’ve Got Moos For You. Vol 14.

Stuff I read about this week that you should care about 8/18/2017

“From a cold brew to feeding your moos.” Recycling beer into cow feed.

About 10 years ago, a light bulb went off. Dirk Rohne raises cows in Oregon. One day he wondered what he could do with the byproduct left over from making beer at Fort George, a nearby brewery. That’s when he found a way to use it at his 170 cow dairy farm, Brownsmead Island Farm near Astoria, Oregon. This is one of many farms to take the leftover grain (brewers grain) from a brewery, and feed it to dairy cows. This is happening all over the country, one of many ways farmers how found ways to be more sustainable. Everybody wins!

“Milk with a splash of coffee, please.” Me.

Raise your hand if your coffee is more milk, and less coffee. La Colombe Draft Latte is just that. Founder and creator Todd Carmichael sold out 10,000 cans of this product in just 60 minutes. Served in an RTD (ready to drink) can, Carmichael’s drink is 80% fresh milk – therefore, he needs to have a lot of cows nearby. That explains why he bought a production location last August in Norton Shore, Michigan. This sounds like the perfect drink if you love milk in your coffee and drinking it on the go.

“I’ll take extra protein, please.” Anyone and everyone. 

Protein is important, we get that. But really what is protein and why do we need it? This article breaks it all down. A few quick facts:

  • Organs, muscles, bones, nails and hair are all made up of (mostly) protein.
  • Protein helps rebuild types of body tissues like muscle and nervous.
  • Protein aids in creating hemoglobin which is the guys that helps carry oxygen to your body.

Learn more facts like this and others (like what proteins are actually made of) by clicking here.

Picture of the week.

Shout out to my gram, one of the people who really started my love for cows. Yee-haw!

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I’ve Got Moos For You. Vol 13.

Stuff I read about this week that you should care about 8/11/2017

“Do you, uh, recycle here?” Me, nervous about where I should throw my water bottle away in a new place.

Farmers wear a lot of different hats, one of them being an environmentalist, and they’re getting a little extra help with the gig. Revolution Plastics (RP) is helping farmers recycle materials from their farms. RP, based out of Arkansas, started 3 years ago picking up plastic from farms. Now, they’re reaching over 4,000 farms in the Midwest – there are still 3,000 more farms between Wisconsin and Minnesota that have signed up and are waiting to join in on the fun. The plastic collected is turned into materials such as trash can liners. From protecting cows feed to collecting trash after your weekend party with friends, farmers are helping save the planet one piece of plastic at a time.

“If it’s called milk… then why can’t you milk it?” Everyone confused over what should be allowed to call itself ‘milk’.

Milk is a word that has been thrown on products that aren’t technically milk – like soy, coconut and almond ‘milk’ products for example. These non-dairy beverages are coming under some serious heat to stop calling themselves “something they’re not.” Kind of how Becky always said she’s a natural blonde, even though you could see how dark her roots were in between hair appointments. TBD on how this shakes out, and what type of labeling standards and regulations are set up on who can sit with ‘milk’ and who needs to find a new crowd.

“Sharp right!” Farmers navigating their drones around silos and barns.

Farming is always evolving and adapting new technologies. Over the last few years, drones have been tested out to determine the benefits they could have to precision agriculture. (Precision agriculture refers to the way farmers manage crops to ensure efficiency of inputs such as water and fertilizer, and to maximize productivity, quality, and yield. The term also involves minimizing pests, unwanted flooding, and disease.)

There are drones being developed specifically for farming and agriculture. Some drones have been proven as an efficient way to spray fields while others have helped farmers survey/view their land from higher up. You can learn more about what specific drones have been made for agriculture in this article.

Picture of the week.

Featuring a cat who has taken “hiding from responsibilities” to a whole new level. Photo from Yvonne Longenecker of Penn England Farms, Pennsylvania.

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I’ve Got Moos For You. Vol 12.

Stuff I read about this week that you should care about 8/4/2017.

“One size does not fit all.” United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

Most farms (99%) are family owned and operated. However, not all of them are the same size. Farms are categorized by size and other characteristics, such as ownership and annual revenue. Below is a picture that breaks it all down for you. If you’re interested in learning more about U.S. farms and how they’re categorized, check out this document from the  USDA’s Economic Research Service (ERS): America’s Diverse Family Farms: 2016 Edition.

 

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“Came for the politics, stayed for the cheese curds.” Agriculture Secretary Perdue

Sonny Perdue, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture, recently made a visit to Wisconsin. This was the first state on a tour that he’ll be taking (via RV) through Minnesota, Iowa, Illinois and Indiana. There are a lot of hot topics he’ll cover like NAFTA, prices farmers are being paid for their products, immigration, and other casual things like that. Why the camping trip? Right now, Secretary Perdue is working with Congress on shaping our farm bill. He states, “My principle for the farm bill is it should follow the market, not guide the market. I don’t want people farming for the farm bill.” Wonder if he’ll host any campfires at his RV?

“Let’s do this.” GEA

GEA, a process technology provider, is making moves in Asia. The company is planning to build a skim milk powder plant in Gandhinagar, India. When production begins, this plant will be the largest of its kind in Asia. This is all still a work in progress, but the dairy plant is projected to produce 150 tons of skim milk powder and 120 tons of dairy whitener/baby food per day, with a milk processing capacity of 90,000 liters per hour. Milk is still cool, all over the world.

Picture of the week. 

Just a man and his cow. Tyler snuggles up with his (almost) 2 year old cow, Patron.

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I’ve Got Moos For You. Vol 11.

Stuff I read about this week that you should care about 7/28/2017

“Who ya gunna call? Myth-busters!” The Washington Post

There are so many fads and “freak-outs” over food, it’s hard to keep up with what’s legit and what’s not. The Washington Post recently wrote an article where they tackle “10 mega myths” about farming and food.  Below are the 10 myths they broke down and why why they think we should “chill, homie” while grocery shopping. You can read the full article here.

  1. Most farms are corporate-owned. 99% are family owned.
  2. Food is expensive. This isn’t the 1920s.
  3. Farming is traditional and low tech. Tractors are already driving themselves. Where you at, Tesla?
  4. A pesticide is a pesticide is a pesticide. Not quite. There’s a lot more to it.
  5. Organic farmers and conventional farmers don’t get along. They even get drinks together.
  6. A GMO is a GMO is a GMO. These aren’t aliens.
  7. Only meat with a “hormone-free” label is hormone free. Hormone free meat doesn’t exist.
  8. Only meat with an “antibiotic-free” label is antibiotic free. All meat is antibiotic free… it’s the law.
  9. Foods labeled “natural” are produced differently. What does natural even mean?
  10. Chemicals are the biggest threat to food safety. More like E. coli – right, Chipotle?

 

“I’m going for a natural, windswept look.” Dan Miller (probably in his head)

Dairy farmer Dan Miller, the owner of Corfu – New York-based Miller Sonshine Acres Farm, is utilizing what ruins a good hair day – wind. Miller installed two Northern Power 100 kW turbines on his farm (one in 2014, the second in 2016). Northern Power Systems Corp has been creating these turbines for over 40 years. These have generated a lot of power for Miller (over 180,000 kilowatt-hours of energy the first half of  2017). Northern Power, along with Buffalo Renewables, Inc., recently hosted an “Open Turbine Day” on the farm, allowing others to see the turbines up close, how they operate and the energy benefits they’ve given. Miller reflects on his decision to purchase and install these, saying “I’m concerned about climate change and see the value in renewable energy… But the bottom line is, I thought I could save some money — and this has proven to be a great way to do that.”

 

“I’m never leaving my bed.” Portland residents

Ice cream just got even sweeter in Portland, ME. Salli Wason runs Rosanna’s Ice Cream, named after her favorite band Toto, which is an ice cream delivery service. Wason says she’ll have the ice cream to you within an hour of you ordering it. She even has a few competitors. Now that’s the type of business battle I want in my back yard.

 

Opinion Piece.

What The Health is a new film that wants you to go vegan. However, some are coming out against the movie saying “Uhm, this isn’t accurate,” and “Not so fast guys.” This article calls out faults in the movie. Read it here.

I’ve Got Moos For You. Vol 10.

Stuff I read about this week that you should care about 7/21/2017

“They may take our lives, but they’ll never take our mac and cheese” Easy Mac enthusiasts 

Recently the New York Times (NYT) released a story about a study on “potentially harmful chemicals” in mac and cheese. And people lost it. The story called out phthalates, and urged Kraft to remove it from all of their products. However, scientists are saying “relax, yo” and that this story is being taken out of context to scare consumers using the “Food Babe Fallacy.” So.. what are they then? Phthalates, which includes chemicals such as di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (DEHP) and Diethyl phthalate (DEP), help make rigid plastics more flexible and less breakable. They’re commonly found on a number of items, even fruits and veggies.

To make sure we maintain a ‘safe’ consumption of phthalates, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has set “safe dosages” that humans should consume. To experience actual harm, your infant would need to eat an entire box of Kraft in one sitting and your toddler would need to eat five to surpass that dosage. Which to be fair, is only normal for college kids, who are basically toddlers in adult bodies.

“I’ll keep kicking ass, thank you” Cancer survivors

There are a lot of warriors out there who have dealt with the battle called cancer. A new study shows that survivors can benefit from consuming a new dairy product after exercise. Kefir, a fermented milk product, and it’s potential are being studied by Laura K Stewart, Ph.D., an associate professor at the University of Northern Colorado, School of Sport and Exercise Science. The Kefir beverage in this study was made by was made by inoculating and fermenting milk with kefir grains, and then mixing in a fruit base. This kefir product developed and managed by the Louisiana State University Creamery has met the guidelines for recommended nutrition after endurance and resistance exercise (developed by the American College of Sports Medicine).

Dr. Stewart reflects on her study, “The beverage received high scores overall and, except for an improvement in overall liking, we observed no significant differences in physical and psychological feelings before and after participants learned that it contained kefir and had potential health benefits.”  It’s time to get dairy strong, cancer butt-kickers.

Picture of the week

Joe Leslie of Western Pennsylvania sent in this picture of a sunset dinner at the Simpson Family’s farm. Majestic shot, Joey.

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I’ve Got Moos For You. Vol 9.

Stuff I read about this week that you should care about 7/14/2017

“How much for a deep tissue massage?” Cows at the spa

HuffPost put up a video on Facebook showcasing how farmers pamper their ladies. From brushes, to fans to misting, it’s like a spa day every day. Farmers put a lot of work and time into making sure their cows are always comfortable. Happy cows = healthy milk production. Boys, take notes.

“Hi-ho, hi-ho off to work we go” Future HP Hood employees

HP Hood is a dairy processor located in Western New York. Recently, they purchased a yogurt plant with plans to put in over $200 million worth of renovations. They’re also saying that this should create 230 new jobs over the next five years. Score 1 for the local community. Always good, even in a new hood.

“That’s cool, but what’s next?” Innovators at Chobani

Kai Sacher is a food engineer with Chobani® (previously worked at Dannon), and is also the brains behind their latest product ‘Chobani Smooth’ that has hit the shelves. Chobani has always been a leading brand in the U.S. for greek yogurt (accounting for 38% of greek yogurt sales in a 13 week period that ended June 17), however they’re  also seeing success with their new product. Sacher notes that all Chobani retailers are doing more than asking for Smooth – they’re asking to carry and sell it in every available flavor: vanilla, cherry, blueberry, strawberry and peach. According to Sacher, it’s the best thing since they put fruit at the bottom of their yogurt… we’ll see about that.

OPINION PIECE

The father of Facebook visited some farms and posted about it. Texas native and ag communications guru Mollie Dreibrodt has something to say about it. Check out her LinkedIn blog post here.

I’ve Got Moos For You. Vol 8.

Stuff I read about this week that you should care about 7/7/2017

“Serious questions only.” Me to the waiter at Olive Garden asking if I want cheese

The Associated Milk Producers Inc. (AMPI) Plant in Sanborn, Iowa is getting bigger. They make cheese. “It was time,” says Bruce Brockshus, a dairy farmer who also sits on the dairy cooperative’s board of directors. The plant dates back to 1937 when it opened as the O’Brien County Cooperative Creamery, it has made several changes over the years. This most recent expansion is expected to be done by mid-2018. the plant should be done and will contain new modernized technology. The increased capacity of the plant will also help the 128 dairy farmers who supply the plant with milk grow their farms and business.

“Let’s reset the conversation on GMOs, and the importance of science on how we feed our children and shape policy.” Filmmaker Scott Hamilton Kennedy

Food Evolution is a documentary that highlights a controversial topic – GMOs. Filmaker Scott Hamilton Kennedy wanted to answer tough questions about GMOs and include people from both sides of the argument. One example they touch on is bananas in Uganda and eastern Africa. Bananas, a staple crop, have been hit by a bacterial disease called Banana Xanthomonas Wilt (BXW). There are banana plants that have been engineered with a pepper gene that show strong resistance to banana wilt, and could help save crop productivity. Learn more about the film here.

“Chocolate fudge sundae with whipped cream and a cherry on top, please.” President George Washington

Turns out ice cream is the most American dessert ever. Not only has ice cream stood the test of time, it has thrived. The average American puts down 45 pints per year, which comes out to about $10 billion. (So maybe it’s not the avocado toast that’s hindering me from putting a down payment on a house?) It’s said that President Washington got his first taste of the sweet treat from Norborne Berkeley, 4th Baron Botetourt, and royal governor of Virginia between 1768 and 1770. The President and his first lady liked it so much that they bought their own equipment to make it and serve soirees in New York City and Philadelphia. Ice cream party, anyone?

Picture of the week. 

Another week, another state, another baby nugget. Photo from Illinois dairy enthusiast Sarah Lenkaitis’s farm.

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