Real Seal provided me with a stipend for travel expenses. As usual, all opinions are my own.
Recently, I was invited to visit a modern dairy farm and it turned out to be a wonderful experience. Along came my husband, my eleven year old son, Eddie, and his friend, Jake. The boys were fascinated by the experience as milk is an important part of their diet. I thought they would like the visit for the first hour or so but then be bored. That was not the case. If they could, I think they would have stayed overnight and slept in the barn with the cows.
When we first arrived at the farm, our host, Jennifer, took us to see the baby calves. The boys loved petting them and the calves sucked on their fingers. Getting my fingers sucked by a calf is not my cup of tea but eleven year old boys thought this was very cool.
Next we took a look at the 700 Holstein cows that the farm holds. I was surprised at how comfy the cows are. They sleep on special beds made of rubber, have huge fans to keep them cool in their barns and are very well taken care of. The Wanner Family feels that well taken cows are the best milk producers so this is the best way to be profitable.
The thing that amazed me the most about this farm is that the energy it is run on comes from the waste of the farm. A methane digester was constructed in 2007. The waste gets recycled into energy and this reduces odors, the amount of carbon in the atmosphere, and the volume of manure going back to the fields.
After the boys learned about the farms energy source, it was time to see the cows being milked. The facilities are super clean and everything is checked twice to make sure the purest milk goes out to the customer. The boys had talked about milking cows the whole ride up and this was the moment they were waiting for. But first they had a special surprise.
All the cows and the facility has to be cleaned in between the shifts of cows going in and out to be milked. First the floors need to be hosed off and this was a job that two eleven year old boys talked about for days. They got to use a large fireman type hose and clean any manure off the ground. Again not my cup of tea but right up their alley.
Next all the the udders had to be cleaned before any cows are milked. Each udder gets a disinfectant sprayed on it and then wiped off twice. This was another job the boys didn’t mind doing. After that, hoses are attached to the cows and they are milked. Once the cows are done, the process starts all over again with the next group of cows. The cows are milked three times a day and each day the farm sends out a tanker full of milk.
Along with their dairy farm business, the farm also has a guest house that it rents out. It is a beautiful five bedroom house that overlooks a pond with plenty of fish in it. What a beautiful relaxing place with a great view!
This was an educational visit but the Wanner family were lovely people and very hospitable too. They prepared a huge picnic lunch for us including dessert. We sat down and ate this feast with the whole family. It was a gorgeous day with wonderful company.
And let’s say “hi” to Rosco too. He is the farm dog. My son and his friend called him the photo bomber. He made sure to get in many of our photos. He is a little dirty because he had just gone swimming at the pond on the property. Funny doggie!
If you ever get a chance to visit a farm, take advantage of it and find out where your food comes from!