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.

simpsons pa-joe leslie





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.


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.


I’ve Got Moos For You. Vol 7.

Stuff that I read about this week that you should care about 6/30/2017

“Breakfast with a view” Iowa dairy consumers

The Iowa Dairy Center, located near Calmar, Iowa, is a place where people have gone to learn about dairy farming since 1999. College students go to prepare themselves for a future of farming, and the public visits to learn where their food comes from. Milk from the farm is sold primarily as fluid milk under the brand Hiland Dairy, if you’re trying to get some (like me). They also hosted an event called Breakfast on the Farm, where consumers can visit the center to eat and then go on a farm tour. In 2016, over 1,300 people attended. If you’re in the area, you can learn more about setting up your own Iowa Dairy Center farm tour here.

“I want to rule the world” Amazon

Recently, it was announced that Amazon will acquire Whole Foods for a casual $13.7 billion. While Whole Food’s co-founder John Mackey will continue to  run the business, the purchase is still expected to disrupt the grocery industry. Michael Pachter, a Wedbush Securities Inc. analyst commented on the deal, “Amazon clearly wants to be in grocery, and clearly believes a physical presence gives them an advantage. I assume the physical presence gives them the ability to distribute other products more locally. So theoretically you could get 5-minute delivery.” So the next question is – can they send me my chocolate milk via a drone? Maybe the next big this is a robot that delivers your groceries AND puts them away? I’m sure that’s why Amazon decided to buy Staples too.

“IDK why, but I know it’s healthy” Overheard in the grocery store, talking about Vitamin K

It turns out dairy products are a good source of  some types of vitamin K. Vitamin K is most known for it’s ability to help clot blood, and has more commonly been linked to foods such as kale, spinach and broccoli. Studies are showing that milk products (like fluid milk, cheese and yogurt) are a rich source of the MK (K2) form of vitamin K, which is a kind that’s good for you, but one that we’re still learning more about. Confusing? They break down the science of it all here.

Picture of the week.

You’re a natural, hunny. Mommy Mea Smith sent us a picture of her new Pennsylvania farm girl, Anna Grace!


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.