When it comes to jobs in Washington, you may automatically think of Amazon or Microsoft. Given Washington’s technological reputation, there’s a natural tendency to think about the urban “tech jobs” of Redmond and Seattle. What you may not think about right away is the economic importance of agriculture to the state. We’re not just talking apples, milk is the second leading commodity in the state and is doing wonders for the economy.
Cows are coming to Bellevue June 26 – July 1. You won’t see them at Nordstrom or Kate Spade but – you may see them lounging at the Hyatt – host site for the 2017 National Holstein Convention.
The Washington State Holstein Association, an association of Washington State Holstein Breeders, is eager to host Holstein enthusiasts from around the US. The state association has plans for formal activities for both adults and juniors including Dairy Knowledge exams for Junior attendees and a cow sale on the evening of June 30th.
Roger Blok has had the same nightly ritual for over 40 years. Roger’s wife Jackie says that she can almost set her clock to it.
“At around 9:00 every night, Roger goes out to check on the cows. He walks the barn to see if any of the girls are calving or having any problems,” says Jackie. “He keeps track of the cows he checks by writing down their tag numbers. The other night he forgot to bring a notebook and he remembered all of the cow numbers the next morning from the night before. He joked that he wished he could remember people’s names that well!”
Dairy Month Farmer Photo Contest
To celebrate June Dairy Month, join our month-long social media photo contest. Each week has a different photo challenge (see the graphic below) and if you post it using the #wamilksplash, we might post it onto our Facebook page. Each week we will randomly select a participant to win a DFW prize.
The use of technology on dairy farms is nothing new. From robotic milkers and cow “Fitbit” activity monitors to machines that measure and mix feed and vitamins for cows, almost every corner of the farm has been touched by technology in recent years. All these innovations have a reason why they're implemented on a farm, some are to make a farm more sustainable, cows healthier, and others improve milk quality.
In some ways, José Torres is like thousands of other dairy farmers across the United States- he’s hard-working, puts his cows’ needs before his own, and lays awake at night wondering if he’s making the right decisions. But in other ways, Torres couldn’t be more unique.
Torres, a 1st generation dairy farmer in Elma, Washington didn’t grow up on a dairy or even in the U.S.
Yakima Valley is no stranger to hop farms. In fact, about 75% of the total U.S. hop acreage is located in the Yakima Valley. Another huge contributor to the agriculture community sits in between all these acres of hops -dairies. Although these two commodities are unrelated, they have one challenge in common -managing by-products. Together they have found ways to maintain more sustainable and efficient practices on their farms.
Managing waste on dairies can be an expensive and daunting task for farmers who look to run profitable businesses while protecting the environment. That is why farmers are increasingly turning to technology to make this task more sustainable. Some technologies even make wastewater reusable.