Meet Our Farmers
Day in the Life
Life on a dairy farm is non-stop and always busy! While most jobs have set hours, a dairy farm is open around the clock. Dairy farmers have to be available 24 hours a day to care for their animals and keep their business running smoothly. Dairy farming families work hard to provide safe, wholesome, nutrient-rich milk to consumers while caring for their animals, land and communities. After all, it is their passion!
12 a.m. – Cow Calving
- The future of any dairy herd depends on the health of newborn calves.
- Both the cow and the calf are closely monitored. If needed, help with birthing is available at all times.
- Calves immediately receive a bottle of colostrum (the mother’s first milk) which is rich in fat, protein and natural immunity-building antibodies.
3 a.m. – Milking Time
- Cows are milked two to three times a day in an automated milking parlor.
- The udder is cleaned and dried before the milking machine gently and safely removes the milk.
- The milk flows from the cow through cool, sanitized pipes, and is stored in a refrigerated milk tank. It’s never touched by human hands. Every tank of milk is sampled on the farm and tested to ensure quality and safety.
6 a.m. – Feeding Time
- Cows have easy access to food and water all day long. They drink 25 to 50 gallons of water each day.
- Cows eat about 100 pounds of feed each day, consisting of hay, grain, silage and lots of vitamins and minerals.
- Milk comes from healthy, well-fed dairy cows. Nutritionists develop scientifically formulated and well-balanced meals to maintain herd health.
8 a.m. – Feeding baby calves
- Calves are the future of the dairy herd, as they grow up to become the cows that produce milk.
- Calves receive two bottles of milk a day, along with hay, grain and water.
- Calves receive preventative vaccinations and are housed in individual pens for the first few months to protect their health and ensure a healthy start.
10 a.m. – Cleaning the Barns
- Dairy farmers provide their animals with clean, dry, comfortable stalls to rest in.
- Recycled water is often used to clean barn alleys and walkways.
- Stalls are cleaned and replenished daily using different types of recycled materials such as sand, sawdust, dry compost or paper pulp.
Noon – On Farm Meetings
- A dairy is one of the most regulated and inspected industries in agriculture.
- Dairy farmers work with government agencies to ensure our natural resources are protected.
- Inspectors from state regulatory agencies and milk processing plants make unannounced visits to farms on a regular basis.
2 p.m. – Veterinarian Visit
- Large animal veterinarians, trained to work with cows provide regular herd check-ups.
- When cows are sick, veterinarians diagnose and treat illness with the proper medication.
- They also provide preventative vaccinations to ensure the health of individual animals and monitor the wellness of the herd during routine visits.
3 p.m. – Cow Comfort
- The health and well-being of their animals is the top priority of dairy farmers.
- They provide nutritious diets, healthy living conditions and routine veterinary care for their cows.
- Dairy cows are housed in barns and are provided clean, dry, comfortable resting areas, along with easy access to food, water and exercise. Most barns have misters, fans and specialized curtains to make sure the cows are comfortable throughout the year.
5 p.m. – Manure Management
- Dairy farmers work hard to preserve our natural resources and protect the land, air and water.
- Dairy farms must have permits to operate and are tightly regulated by federal and state agencies.
- Nutrient management plans guide the amount, source, placement and timing of manure on fields. As a natural fertilizer, recycled manure helps crops grow and reduces the need for chemical fertilizers on the farm. It’s such a great fertilizer you may see it at your local garden store.
7 p.m. – Recordkeeping
- Calves are given an identification number when born to track the animal throughout its life. This includes birth date and health records, such as vaccinations, calving information, illness and treatment.
- Daily milk weights for each cow are recorded, and protein and butterfat components of each cow’s milk also may be compiled.
- Environmental records are critical to a dairy farm. Farmers record information such as how much nutrient is applied to fields, at what rate, volume and date.