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Walking Fields & Changing Shoes

17 Feb final-56

final-54final-53Out checking fields today and the cabbage was top on my list.  This stuff has seen some cold temperatures this year, but the good news is that it is looking good today!  final-51A little sparse in areas, and it has a river running through the middle of the field still, but other than that, a pretty good crop of cabbage seed should come from this field.  Fingers (always) crossed of course!final-55

I’m also not in my regular farmer attire…colored skinny jeans under my muck boots is not the usual uniform at Kirsch Family Farms.  final-52But I’m wearing a few different shoes today.  Much boots in the morning, then changing to heels to go speak on a panel for Oregon Women for Agriculture.

So another random and busy day on the farm…with my favorite, lots of shoes!  Happy Friday everyone!

Antibiotics in Milk

7 Feb 16143469_1253730421341276_5060694995467890626_o

I don’t know much about animal agriculture on a personal level.  We are a crop farm, so when I started to get questions regarding the use of antibiotics in milk production I headed to the source for some good information.

And here he is…let me introduce you to Derrick Josi, also known as Tillamook Dairy Farmer! 16427705_1270168536364131_3185010092142991911_nTillamook Dairy Farmer has been on a mission to let people know more about the diary industry and milk (check out and like his Facebook page).  Derrick is a fourth generation dairyman in the heart of Tillamook, Oregon.  They raise their cows on 450 acres, milking 500 jersey cows every single day!  Much of the milk his cows produce is used for (obviously) milk in the grocery store, cheese (my favorite, Tillamook Cheese), and even coffee creamer. 

The photo below is one of this very dairy farmer getting his morning coffee creamer, straight from the source!  Now that is real cream!15826167_1243084212405897_9125355541175885199_n

I asked a few questions of this Dairy farmer specifically about antibiotics and their cows that they milk, here is what he had to say…

Do you use antibiotics on your dairy cows?
Yes we do. We use them sparingly when they are needed. For example if a cow gets mastitis or Pneumonia. 

This was shared on his Facebook page awhile back…

16002924_1253058034741848_1094932578939830172_n“I was excited to video how we handle cows that are on antibiotics for you tonight! Got in the parlor and looked at our white board where we write the girls number and treatment. Only to find out that on our farm of five hundred milk cows we have zero cows being treated. Which makes it really hard to video our procedure. On the flip side it’s a testament to our procedures. Usually we average 3-5 cows being treated.”

Do antibiotics show up in your milk, even in trace amounts?
Antibiotics do not show up in our milk. When we have a cow being treated her milk withheld and dumped. It is tested before we allow her to be milked into the tank. Our milk is tested by the milk truck driver before he allows it to leave the farm.  If our milk were to test positive the whole tank of 5000 gallons would be dumped. We would be fined and lose the revenue from the milk.

What is the best way for me to know that I’m getting the safest milk possible when buying at the grocery store? For example should I buy organic, hormone free, all natural, or just regular? 
All milk is safe and healthy at the store.  They are identical in taste and quality.  All types are tested and free of antibiotics (yes, even organic is tested).  Anyone who tells you there’s a difference is trying to sell you something.

So my answer to the “issue” of antibiotics in milk, is that there actually is no issue at all,  all milk sold at the grocery store is antibiotic free!


So is it worth it to buy organic just because you don’t want antibiotics?

Not in the least.  Like was said before, yes antibiotics are used on cows that produce the wonderful milk that we all enjoy.  But that doesn’t mean that it gets in your milk, the milk is tested and safe.  I actually sat down and looked at the price difference between buying organic versus conventional and wow was I surprised!  Organic milk at my grocery store is $6.79 a gallon, regular milk is $3.69.  It’s almost twice the cost!  And when I do the math, it would cost my family $483.60 more a year in just milk!!! 

I hope this helps to clear up some misconceptions.  If you have any questions be sure to post them!  Also a big thank you to Tillamook Dairy Farmer for helping us all to see a little of the reality that is Dairy Farming.  Check out his Facebook page where you will get, in his own words, “…a live experience on the day to day activities on my dairy. Sometimes it will be sarcasm like the meme about the cold weather. Other times cute and heartwarming pictures of cows and calves (just wait till spring when they are back out on pasture).”

Here is another link that has some great information:
Milk & Antibiotics: What you need to know

“Our Ag Story, What’s Yours?”

30 Jan

img_7366A few weeks ago I wrote about how my “business attire” wardrobe may not be as extensive as my non-farmer friends.  Considering as farmers, Shelly Davis and I both wore the same EXACT outfits as the last time we dressed up together…oops!  But the I have to say I really enjoyed everything from the prep for this talk to the actual end result of our keynote for the Dunn Carney Ag Summit entitled, “Our Ag Story, What’s Yours?”.

Shelly shared our transcript on her blog last week, so if you’re interested please click here, or head over to Daughter of a Trucker’s blog to see what we said.

If you’re more of a video type, I have uploaded from Facebook live onto YouTube our keynote.  It’s not great audio, and it is in two parts because the WiFi was being funky.  So if you are patient and you have a low tolerance for video quality, the message is still (in my humble opinion) top notch and spot on!

Part One….

Part Two…

I’ll leave you with this last thought from Shelly,

“The point is advocating on behalf of the entire agriculture industry can be exhausting and take up too much time.  You do it, I do it, we do it because it benefits us, our farm, and more importantly our future farm.”


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