Cows Make Good

Have you ever wondered what happens on a dairy farm? What is a day in the life of a dairy cow like? What do they eat? How about those sweet little calves? What happens with all that manure? We know there are lots of questions out there surrounding the dairy industry, so we thought we'd bring some food bloggers out to the Werkhoven Family Dairy Farm in Monroe, Washington, to show them first hand what life is like for cows on a dairy. 
 
In their own thoughts and words, these bloggers talk about the full dairy experience and all the interesting things they learned on a beautiful day at the farm.
 

Dairy Cows are Queen

Photo Credit: Jenny On the Spot

The cow is queen.
"The success or failure of every dairy farm depends upon the good health and contentedness of its cows. We all know that when cows are stress-free, well-fed and living in pristine conditions, they produce more and better milk." -Cannelle et Vanille
"Cows only make good milk when they are comfortable and happy. Washington dairy farm families take pride in taking care of cows...Dairy cows are more than farm animals. To Washington dairy farmers, cows are the starting point for an entire way of life." -Momstart
"If you are a female who has nursed, you know the power of a stress-free environment and one's ability to produce milk. That is the exact approach these farmers take when caring for their animals...their comfort." -Jenny On The Spot
 
"...we saw cows just after birth, adult cows placidly eating, and cows being milked. Everywhere, it was clear: the comfort of those cows was top priority of this farm." -Gluten-Free-Girl
 
"While on the farm, we learned that cow is queen. Andy Werkhoven along with his son and daughter spend their time managing the comfort and care of their cows. Ultimately every decision they make is for that purpose because if she isn't happy, they are out of a job." -Not Without Salt
 
"Everything I heard from this farming family made me believe they really do take care of these cows." -Momstart

Baby Cow Calf Dairy

Photo Credit: Gluten-Free-Girl

The calves are treated like the sweet, little babies they are.
"After calves are born, they are immediately taken to receive close attention...Studies have shown that cows who receive a full gallon of colostrum in the first day of their lives are not only healthier cows, but when they become mothers, they give more milk than the cows who received only half a gallon of colostrum at birth." -Gluten-Free-Girl
 
"It's interesting. When we were on the trip, several of us there posted photos of the calves in the hutches...Immediately, many folks protested,...and there must be mistreatment here. Nothing could be further from the truth. These little calves were being fed and tended to by people who care about them, who have thought out every step of their lives for the best milk production." -Gluten-Free-Girl

Dairy Farm Feed

Photo Credit: Gluten-Free-Girl

Cows are fed only the best ingredients.
"I was quite amazed at how much thought, science, and effort go into the care of dairy cows...the complexity and detail of what and how they feed the cows (a specific mix that is closely watched and mixed so the cows get all the good stuff)..." -Jenny On The Spot
"Ben Werkhoven told us about the cows' feed. 'This is Total Mixed Ration. It's like a big tossed salad for cows.' They have nutritionists checking the cows' diet every 2 weeks, making sure they get the feed they need." -Gluten-Free-Girl
"The farmers strive to give them a very healthy diet and the cows try to pick out the good stuff, and to them the good stuff is corn...The farmers have this very specific mix as their food and they watch closely to see that they are eating it all." -Momstart

Dairy Cow Digester Sustainable

Photo Credit: Gluten-Free-Girl

The farmers also think about the environment, and use waste for sustainable practices.

"The manure - plus other food wastes like used cooking oil, fish waste, and expired soda and alcohol - go into one corner of the digester. Over the course of 18 days, the slow moving mass moves down one end of the digester, across, and up the other. By the time it comes out of the digester, which is modeled on the ruminant stomach of the dairy cow, the manure has been pasteurized. It is divided into solids, which become great compost for farming and gardening. The liquid parts are put onto the crops at the Werkhoven farm, since they grow rye grass and corn to feed their cows. It's an incredible cycle." -Gluten-Free-Girl
"In 2003, Werkhoven Dairy entered into discussions with the Tulalip tribe and the NW Chinook Salmon Recovery Program to figure out how to help preserve sensitive salmon spawning reaches in the nearby Skykomish River. As a result, an anaerobic digester was built in 2008 as a non-profit organization that provides compost for the Werkhoven Farm (as well as donated to the community), produces energy for over 300 customers in the Puget Sound and valuable biosolids while reducing manure applications to the soil. The digester processes all the manure from the dairy, plus uses food waste from restaurants and food processing plants. It was a fascinating process with a brilliant outcome supporting sustainability in the area." -Cannelle et Vanille
"...the astonishing science behind their digester project where they take the waste from the farm and turn it into something good. 'The anaerobic digester utilizes manure from the cows and co-digests pre-consumer food waste to make energy (enough to produce electricity for as many as 300 homes), thereby keeping the air and water clean, protecting salmon streams, keeping the dairy operating and creating Grade A compost.'" -Not Without Salt
"The methane gas in the cow's manure - a contributing factor in climate change - is not released into the environment with this system. Instead, it is burned off from the digester. The burning of those methane gases, with the help of an engine the size of an enormous room, produces enough electricity to keep all the homes in the surrounding area going." -Gluten-Free-Girl

Dairy Recipe Delicious Toasted Oat Crumble

Photo Credit: Not Without Salt

Comfortable, healthy cows make the delicious milk that goes into the ingredients in these tasty recipes.

There's no doubt about it. Cows make good.