Author Archives: ODNC

Seven Things You Should Know About Large Dairies

Larger Farms

Oregon has 228 family dairy farms, ranging from fewer than 100 cows being milked each day to more than 30,000. Regardless of the size of the farm, there are certain values, standards and management practices that every Oregon dairy farmer has in common.

Farm size does not determine farm quality. It’s a misperception that larger farms are somehow not as good for the animals, environment, employees or community. Here are seven things you should know about large dairy farms:

environment1 They are good stewards of the air, land and water. No matter how many cows they milk, farmers care for their land and their natural resources. It’s important to them to do the right thing and be good neighbors and members of the community and they take the initiative to do so by voluntarily implementing best management practices on their own.
farmers work with nutritionists and veterinarians2 Their cows are well cared for. Dairy farmers’ commitment to providing high quality milk begins with taking good care of their cows. On farms of all sizes, farmers work with nutritionists and veterinarians to provide a nutritious diet, great medical care and healthy living conditions. Cow comfort is key to a farmer’s livelihood.
State and federal standards3 They follow the rules. Large farms must meet state and federal standards, and they face the same kinds of regulations and oversight as smaller farms. They have regular inspections of their operations to check for and ensure compliance. Dairy is one of the most highly regulated industries in the U.S.
Sustainability and efficiency4 Sustainability is not just a buzzword. Farmers are innovating and working toward a sustainable future. They are increasingly working smarter with robotics, automated feeders, methane digesters, precision agriculture, solar panels and beneficial use of waste to increase efficiency and reduce impacts. Large scale farms allow optimal use of scarce resources such as water, energy and land.
Milk testing5 Food safety starts at the farm. Milk is one of the most tested and regulated food products, and all farmers employ rigorous standards, practices and procedures to ensure that it is kept pure, cold and safe. Farmers are held personally responsible for the quality of the milk that comes from their farms.
Josi family6 Oregon dairies are family owned. Even the largest Oregon dairies are family owned. Dairy farmers take great pride in their work, and they want to continue working on the same land so they can continue providing the nutritious food that we enjoy and depend on. It is their legacy.
Milk cheese yogurt7They coexist alongside smaller farms. Large farms support smaller farmers and vice versa. Not all farms produce milk for the same processors or the same dairy products or the same consumer markets. There is room for farms of all sizes and types – organic and conventional – to thrive.

RELATED INFORMATION

Meet the Miramontes Family: First Generation Oregon Dairy Farmers

In agriculture, farms are typically passed down from generation to generation – and dairy farms are no exception. These days, it’s unusual for a dairy farmer to start their own dairy. But that’s just what Jesús and Emma Miramontes did eight years ago.

Jesús at Miramontes DairyAfter spending 27 years caring for other dairy farmers’ cows, Jesús looked at his wife Emma one day and said, “Why don’t we just get our own cows and go for it?” So they did. They started Miramontes Farm with 80 cows and through hard work, excellent cow care, and teamwork, they are now milking 400 cows in Grants Pass, Oregon.

Before coming to the United States as teens, the Miramontes’ farming roots started in Mexico where Emma’s grandmother had a few farm animals. Jesús really enjoys the cows. He’s had strong mentorship from dairy farmers along the way who taught him about animal husbandry. For Emma, she loves caring for the calves. “I read a lot of [trade] magazines for information. It’s how we learn. There’s something new to learn every day,” she said.

When asked about some important lessons they have learned over the years, Emma responded without hesitation, “Working as a team.” Jesús and Emma have built their dairy while raising their three children, Manuel, Nancy, and Noah. She said there are good days and bad days in the dairy industry, but regardless the Miramontes family comes together as a team.

RELATED STORY
Outstanding in His Field: Noah Miramontes on Dairy Farming and Soccer

Outstanding in His Field: Noah Miramontes on Dairy Farming and Soccer

Soccer Ball Miramontes Dairy

What’s black and white and can be found in a field? A Holstein cow or a soccer ball would both be correct answers – and ninth grader Noah Miramontes knows his way around either one.

As the son of first generation dairy farmers Jesús and Emma Miramontes, Noah has grown up on his family dairy near Grants Pass, Oregon. In addition to working hard alongside his parents on the farm, Noah Miramontes is now a freshman varsity soccer player for North Valley High School.

Making the varsity team wasn’t easy, especially as a freshman. He attributes his success to the lessons he’s learned on the farm and to eating healthy.

Noah Miramontes“The values I learned growing up and working with my family have helped me with success on the soccer team,” said Noah. “Values such as being a team player, keeping an open mind and not trying to control fellow teammates.”

There are so many tasks to complete in any given day on a dairy farm, Noah understands that routine is important as is every pair of hands and feet. Just like soccer. Farm work has also helped him prepare for any weather conditions as well as the hard work and physical demands that comes with playing competitive soccer.

When he’s not working, practicing or playing in a game, Noah enjoys snacking on fruit with peanut butter and washes it down with plenty of milk. In fact, Noah’s favorite dairy product is milk – especially chocolate milk. He recognizes the importance of nutrition to help make him strong so he can continue to improve.

While his big brother and sister have both left the farm to pursue their own passions, Noah knows he has at least a few more years of farm chores ahead of him. But he’s not complaining.

“If we didn’t have a farm, I don’t think I would get to hang out with my mom as often,” said Noah. “Growing up on a farm gives me some great moments with my mom.”

RELATED STORY
Meet the Miramontes Family: First Generation Oregon Dairy Farmers

Community Inspired to Live Stronger, Healthier and Happier

livebest-with-yogurtWho doesn’t want to live a stronger, healthier and happier life?

All were elements of Judy Barbe’s Eating Well, Being Well workshop in Tillamook on Saturday, March 11. Barbe is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and a nationally-known author and speaker, and her appearance was sponsored by the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council.

Organized by the Tillamook County Year of Wellness Nutrition Committee, and led by Oregon State University Extension Professor Jessica Linnell, PhD, the event drew more than 70 attendees, including all ages and walks of life. In addition to Tillamook Mayor Suzanne Weber and Commissioner Bill Baertlein, dairy representatives included local dairy farmers Julie Lourenzo and Joanne Seals, as well as Dairy Extension County Leader Troy Downing.

Judy-Barbe-TipsJudy Barbe engaged the audience in exercises aimed at assessing their food and lifestyle choices along with some goal setting activities to make improvements. She made an impression. One of the attendees said, “I am going to lose the prejudices I’ve formed about several food groups.” Another later posted a picture of his notes from the presentation posted on his refrigerator at home. Still another Tweeted about her meal prepping after the workshop.

Barbe gave positive “dairy deliciousness” food suggestions and addressed the health benefits of consuming real dairy. She answered questions about dairy fat and alternative beverages. Hallie Hopkins with Oregon State University Extension Service provided a tasty and instructive food demonstration with bulgur, roasted vegetables and a yogurt sauce made with donated Tillamook yogurt.

“The workshop concluded with participants sharing the goals they set for themselves based on what they learned,” said Anne Goetze, Senior Director of Nutrition Affairs for the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council. “People left motivated to make positive changes.”

THE TILLAMOOK COUNTY YEAR OF WELLNESS NUTRITION COMMITTEE INCLUDES:
Michelle Jenck, Year of Wellness
Laura Swanson, Tillamook Pioneer
Sue Phillips-Meyer, Adventist Health
Hallie Hopkins, Oregon State University Extension
Mis Carlson-Swanson, Oregon Food Bank
Dawna Roesener, Tillamook County WIC
Lauren Sorg, Food Roots
Joyce Trogdon, Rinehart Clinic

RELATED LINKS:

Tillamook County Year of Wellness

LiveBest – website for Judy Barbe, RDN

New Elk Meadow Students’ Video Highlights Healthy Habits

School milkStudents at Elk Meadow Elementary School in Bend have premiered a new video about integrating healthy habits into the school day. Complete with a catchy tune and local dairy products from Eberhard’s Dairy, the video was created for a national contest for Fuel Up to Play 60 – the largest in-school nutrition and physical activity program in the U.S.

“During a recent series of art workshops at Elk Meadow, where students sampled from a variety of different art forms, some took a peak into the art of movie making with retired Bend/La Pine music teacher, Peggy Frede,” said Grant Mattox, FUTP60 Program Advisor at Elk Meadow Elementary School in Bend. “Over the course of a few weeks, they put together this video which they have also entered into a little competition through Fuel Up to Play 60.

”Inspired and led by youth, Fuel Up to Play 60 was created by the National Dairy Council and the NFL, in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Agriculture, to help encourage today’s youth to lead healthier lives. Funded by Oregon’s dairy farm families and managed by the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council, Fuel Up to Play 60 is active in more than 73,000 schools nationwide and hundreds of public schools in Oregon.

Having reached Touchdown Status as a school and with back-to-back student ambassadors representing Oregon at the last two national summits, Elk Meadow Elementary School has been a star performer in Oregon’s Fuel Up to Play 60 program. This is attributable in large part to their program advisor Grant Mattox and his student team of “Wellness Warriors.”

Grants Support Strengthening Oregon Schools and Students

Schools across Oregon have innovative projects underway focused on youth engagement, nutrition and physical activity, thanks to Fuel Up to Play 60 grants funded by Oregon dairy farmers. Fuel Up to Play 60 is the largest in-school health and wellness program in the country.

The Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council, in partnership with the National Football League, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Dairy Council, awarded grants to eight schools throughout the state last fall.

With grant funding, schools are purchasing blenders for yogurt smoothie classroom celebrations and carts for grab-and-go breakfast options. Brand new pans and salad bar inserts will be featuring fruits and vegetables from school gardens in cafeterias. Noise cancelling blankets are going up in one cafeteria to reduce noise and bring Smarter Lunch Room concepts to students. One school is using funding to create time lapse videos featuring Food Hero recipes highlighting whole grains, fruit and low fat dairy.

Physical activity goes hand in hand with nutrition for Oregon students. Students will be energized and ready to focus on learning throughout the day by participating in brain breaks in class. Students will be stretching out in yoga poses, checking their heart rates with monitors and counting steps with pedometers.

For more information on how you and your school can get in on the action contact the schools team:

Crista Hawkins, RDN, LD
Director of School Programs
chawkins@odncouncil.org
Direct: 971-673-2725

Erin Hirte, RDN, LD
Manager of School Programs
ehirte@odncouncil.org
Direct: 971-673-2729

Mushroom Cheddar Soup

Mushroom Cheese Soup
This cheesy and creamy soup is for you, whether you are lactose intolerant or not.

Serves 9

indulgent-recipeentree-recipe

 

 

Dietitian’s tip: Use either whole milk or lactose-free whole milk. Cheddar cheese, like all aged cheeses, contains very little lactose so you can enjoy without symptoms. For a healthy balance to your meal, accompany this treat with a side salad or roasted vegetables.

Prep time: 10 min   Cook time: 30 min

INGREDIENTS
Sliced baby portabella mushrooms
1 cup yellow onion, peeled, sliced
1 tablespoon garlic, peeled, minced
1 tablespoon vegetable oill
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2 cups lactose-free whole milk
2 cups shredded cheddar

INSTRUCTIONS
In a large sauce pan, sauté mushrooms, onion, and garlic in vegetable oil over medium heat, for 3 to 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add butter to pan and melt over medium heat; add flour, stirring constantly for 2 to 3 minutes or until incorporated.

Gradually add chicken broth and milk, stirring until incorporated; bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

Reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat; cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until soup is thickened.

Stir in cheddar cheese and simmer for an additional 3 to 5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Tip: Soup can be made up to one day in advance, and reheated

NUTRITIONAL FACTS
Per serving: Calories 210, Total Fat 14g 22%, Saturated Fat 7g 35 %, Trans Fat 0g, Cholestrol 35mg 12%, Sodium 290mg 12%, Total Carbohydrate 10g 3%, Dietary Fiber 1g 4%, Sugars 3g

Recipe Courtesy of National Dairy Council®

Harvest Cheddar Tart

Cheddar Apple Pear Tart
Apples, pears and cheese have always been a classic trio. Take them to the next level with this sweet treat.

Serves 6

indulgent-recipeDessert recipe

 

 

Dietitian’s Tip: With an indulgent dessert like this on the menu, plan ahead and enjoy a low calorie and low fat meal first.

Prep time: 5 min   Cook time: 10 min

INGREDIENTS
6 puff pastry shells
1 Bartlett pear, stemmed, cored, chopped
1 red apple, stemmed, cored, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
6 tablespoons (1.5 ounces) aged Cheddar cheese, shredded
6 teaspoons caramel sauce

INSTRUCTIONS
Preheat oven to 350 F degrees

Bake puff pastry shells according to the package directions.

In a medium skillet, cook pear and apple in butter for 5 to 7 minutes or until tender; sprinkle with pumpkin pie spice.

Fill each puff pastry cup with 2 tablespoons fruit; top with 1 tablespoon shredded cheese.

Bake tart for 2 to 3 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Serve tart with 1 teaspoon caramel sauce.

Tip: Classic Cheddar cheese may be substituted in place of aged Cheddar cheese.

NUTRITIONAL FACTS
Per serving: Calories 290, Total Fat 18g 28%, Saturated Fat 6g 30 %, Trans Fat 0g, Cholesterol 15mg 5%, Sodium 290mg 12%, Total Carbohydrate 29g 10%, Dietary Fiber 2g 8%, Sugars 10g, Protein 6g

Recipe Courtesy of National Dairy Council®

21st Century Dairy Farm, 21st Century Dairy Farmer

Today’s modern dairy farm is a far cry from what many people envision. Technology plays a very important role in dairy farming — from caring for cows to caring for natural resources. In Oregon, more and more dairy farmers are installing robotic milking systems for their cows.

With robotic milking systems, the cows are responsible for their own milking. They voluntarily enter a safe and clean stall when they’re ready to be milked — usually two to three times daily. Using an optical camera and lasers, the robot cleans and preps the cow’s udder, attaches and retracts the vacuum milking cups, and treats the udder post-milking to prevent infection. A meter continually monitors such things as milk quality and content or milking intervals — how often a cow comes through the stall.

The system’s software management alerts the farmer if anything is amiss. So if there’s anything abnormal about the milk quality, it’s automatically diverted away from the main milk supply. Or if a cow isn’t following her normal schedule, it may be an indication she’s not feeling well and the farmer is alerted. It’s real-time insight to each cow, individually. The cows also respond exceptionally well to the predictability and routine of the robots.

Robotics is just one of many ways that modern dairy farmers are evolving. Dairy farms across Oregon are already using RFID ear tags to monitor herd health, in addition to automated feeders, solar panels, methane digesters, GPS driven tractors, observation drones, computerized irrigation and much more. Technology is used not only to help make dairy farmers more efficient, but also to better care for their cows, the environment and their communities.

You can read more about robotic milking systems at two Oregon dairies in these recent headlines:

Mechanized milking
Local dairy goes high-tech with robotic upgrade

The Argus Observer
Dairylain Farms | The Chamberlain Family | Vale, OR

Tilla-Bay Farms celebrates five years as a robotic dairy with open house
Tillamook Headlight Herald
Tilla-Bay Farms, Inc | The Mizee Family | Tillamook, OR
Full text of the article available here for those without a subscription.

What I Learned on My First Visit to a Dairy Farm

by Lindsay LeBrun, Graduate Student in Clinical Nutrition, Oregon Health & Science University

Lindsay LeBrunAs a nutrition intern for the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council, I recently had the opportunity to visit a dairy farm outside of Salem, Oregon, during my second week on the job. Since I didn’t grow up on a farm or have a background in dairy, this tour was an opportunity for me to learn about dairy production practices. I was also eager to learn what kinds of questions kids and parents had about milk and dairy.

After the hour-long car ride down I-5 from Portland, I made my final turn into a gravel parking lot and instantly knew I had found the right place. The excited yelps of fourth graders posing for a class picture made me turn my head as I stepped from my car. With cheesy grins they assembled in front of the wooden sign proudly proclaiming our location: “Rickreall Dairy.”

Cows eatingThis class is one of many that get a firsthand look at where their favorite dairy foods come from. At Rickreall Dairy, tour leader Stacy Foster conducts more than a dozen tours of the farm during the spring. The success of the program has allowed her to now expand to offering tours in the fall, and I was joining for the last tour of the season.

Foster, whose father owns the farm, began by acknowledging that she wouldn’t have hurt feelings if the kids (or parents) plug their noses. She admits it’s stinky, but that is to be expected when over 3,500 cows call this place home. Foster then asks the group if they know what milk is good for. Almost every hand goes up, and the chosen student announces, “bones.” “That’s right,” says Foster. “Milk has calcium and vitamin D for strong bones.”

Foster then leads us straight to the where the action happens: the milking parlor. This room operates 24 hours a day to ensure each cow gets two or three daily milking sessions. Foster tells us that each cow produces roughly 10 gallons every day, and overall the dairy produces 16,500 gallons daily! “Can you guys drink all of that milk?” she asks. A few cheeky responders reply with a “yes.” Foster laughs and says, “Well, you could probably eat all of that ice cream!”

We move on to the maternity barn where the sounds of the milking machines can no longer be heard. The children are excited to see two newborn calves beginning to take their first wobbly steps. This gives Foster the chance to explain the life cycle of a cow on the farm. The kids are surprised to hear that cows don’t just grow up and give milk – like humans, they have to have a baby first. As the kids peer over the enclosures to get a closer look, parents begin raising questions for Foster. “Is organic better than conventional milk?” “Can you taste a difference between different brands?” Foster points out that all milk sold in stores is held to the same standards for safety and quality. In fact, there are 27 regulatory agencies that Rickreall Dairy works with to be in compliance.

Calf milk bottlesWe end our tour by moving into the barn that houses the calves. “Who wants to bottle feed a calf?” asks Foster. She is met with an overwhelmingly enthusiastic response from kids and parents alike. The children each grab a bottle and file down the row of calves, who eagerly stick their head out in anticipation of the meal. The children giggle as the calves gobble all of it down, and the bottles are drained within minutes.

For most of these kids, and for me, this is the first time they have seen a dairy farm firsthand. The tours at Rickreall Dairy are a unique opportunity to help kids connect the farm to table concept. Their faces light up when presented with the idea that the cows they met today could be the same ones that made the milk in their fridge. For parents, they enjoy having questions resolved to help them make good choices in what they feed their children. As for myself, I loved gaining insight into food system production and hearing about what the consumers wanted to know. A huge thank you to Rickreall Dairy and the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council for making this experience possible!

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