My First Dairy Farm Visit
By guest blogger, Megan Ostler
I had been looking forward to having a farm tour all week. It was my first time visiting a real dairy farm (and not just Wheeler Farm, which is, for all intents and purposes, a zoo with farm animals). We drove up and pulled on our boots and jackets. It was drizzling rain, but mild weather for December in Brigham City. As I looked around at the dark sky and old buildings, I felt like I’d gone back in time. The farmer, Jeff Hardy, met us with a big smile, teasing about the smell on a farm.
He proceeded with the tour of his farm. In the milking parlor, I was amazed to see the cows waiting patiently in the open stalls. Much like school children, upon hearing the bell, they filed out the door. We walked past their outdoor stalls where they all had bails of straw for a bed. I loved seeing them lounge in the straw, staring at me with those big brown eyes. The next stop was the stockpiles, 20 feet tall of feed, which they filled every fall. I had never seen so much grain in one spot! The farmer talked about the science that goes into making correct ratios for the cows depending on their production. The last stop, which was by far my favorite, was the barn with all the calves. As I walked in, I was greeted by little “moo’s.” One little calf stuck her head out, so excited to see us. She sucked on my fingers and nuzzled her head on my arm. I wanted to keep her.
Although the tour was short, I was amazed with the amount of knowledge and work it takes to be a dairy farmer. I pictured a farmer having to milk the cows and then send if off to get processed. But the care of the animals, farm, business, and milking adds up to a much bigger job than I had previously imagined. I appreciate dairy products more, knowing the work that it takes to get me that glass of milk, or cube of cheese. I also have a better understanding and more respect for dairy farmers, their knowledge, work ethic, and love. I could see in Jeff’s eyes the love he had for his cows, and his joy and pride in raising them. I wish everyone could see where their food is coming from, and meet the amazing farmers behind the scenes.
Megan is a student at Utah State University where she is studying nutrition and dietetics.