Monday, August 23, 2021

Behind the Scenes at a Dairy Farm

Behind the scenes at a Prairie Farms dairy farm including how the cows are raised, how they're milked and how they make sure that the milk is safe for consumers!

You know I love dairy products from Prairie Farms. Their ice cream is awesome in these Chocolate Dipped Ice Cream Cones and their milk is great in this Cauliflower Mac and Cheese. I recently was invited to visit a Prairie Farms farm in Hastings, MI where I learned all about how the cows are raised, how they milk them and how they make sure that the milk is safe for consumers. I'm going to share it all with you!


We got to meet with a super nice family farmer named Jolene Griffin from Valley Grove Dairy. Her mom, dad and brother were all actively working on the farm when we visited which was so cool. It truly is a family business! There was even a cow in labor while we were there! We got to see the newborn cows, the baby cows, the "teenage cows" and the pregnant cows. Cows of all kinds! Lily is really into farm animal books so she was super excited to see cows and tell them "moo".


Here are some things that I learned on the dairy farm:

-There are 9 Prairie Farms cooperative farms in Michigan and the Prairie Farms plant is in Battle Creek, MI.


-The milk is so fresh! It goes from the farm that we toured to the milk plant in Battle Creek and onto the store shelves within 48 hours! Wow.


-Prairie Farms has no artificial growth hormones in their milk.


-The cows are milked twice a day. They actually want to be milked and if the milkers are even a few minutes late, the cows will line up at the door. If you are a mom who has ever breastfed, you know it is not comfortable to skip a feeding so I completely get why the cows would want to be milked.


-A cow is pregnant for 9 months before giving birth to a calf. 

-We got to see a huge milk truck come and pickup the milk and test it for antibiotics. The truck was huge carrying 13,000 gallons of milk. The milk is tested for bacteria, fat content and more and the price that the farmer gets paid for the milk actually depends on this information which I found to be very interesting.


-The milk comes out at 101 degrees which is the temperature of the cow's body and then the milk goes through a system to quickly cool it to 38-40 degrees.


-The farmers buy their milk from the store just like you and I! They won't drink milk before it is pasteurized.


-Each cow produces 85-90 pounds of milk each day- wow!

-The cows eat a variety of food including corn and sorghum. 


My kids loved the farm and running around seeing the animals. My husband was obsessed with taking pictures of the cows and petting them- haha! It was a great trip and after the trip, it really gave us a feeling that producing milk is a family operation that the farmers really care about. 


This post is sponsored by Prairie Farms. All opinions are my own.

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