Author Archives: stacyfoster

Dairy Farm Celebrates 30 Year Anniversary by Giving Back to the Community

After stay-at-home orders cancelled Louie Kazemier’s plans to celebrate the 30th anniversary of his dairy farm with an open-house party, he decided to shift gears and help out the community instead.

“My family still wanted to do something to serve the community in a different way,” said Kazemier, owner of Rickreall Dairy in Rickreall, Oregon. “So, we gathered our resources and came up with an idea to ‘pay it forward’ to the community that has supported us for 30 years.”

The family decided to do a food giveaway. “With so many families out of work right now, we understood that food insecurity is also increasing,” said Kazemier’s daughter, Stacy Foster. “We weren’t sure if a few pounds of ground beef and milk would really make much of a difference, but we wanted to try just the same.”

They were shocked by the positive response from the community. “We posted information about the event on the dairy’s Facebook page, and within a few days the post had been shared over 700 times,” said Foster. “We had no idea it would get that kind of response.”

“People have been so supportive and encouraging,” said Kazemier. “It has been a great reminder that we are loved and supported in our little town.”

The day of the event brought people out in large numbers. “We started to panic when cars were lining up at 12:30,” said Foster. The event didn’t officially start until 2:00, and yet people chose to drive in and wait in their vehicles. At 1:45 there were approximately 80 vehicles lined up to receive food. “We started to question if we would have enough, and if we were going to be giving enough to each family,” she said.

Every car received four pounds of ground beef donated by Rickreall Dairy, two half-gallons of milk and four 14-ounce containers of chocolate milk donated by the dairy’s processor, Darigold, and a bag of potatoes donated by Farmers and FFA Fighting Hunger in Oregon.

In the end, giving back to the community felt much more meaningful than a party, said Kazemier as he watched his family and employees pull together to help the community. “My family has always been pretty close, but anytime we can all work together on a project like this it brings out the best in all of us, ” he said.  

“We served approximately 430 families in our community,” said Kazemier. The food was gone by 3:45. “It was tough to have to turn people away. We learned that the need in our community is immense,” he said.

The dairy community as a whole has understood that hunger in the U.S. is going to be a serious problem until people are able to go back to work. That’s why dairy farmers and processors across the nation are increasing their donations to food banks and school meal programs to help people in need of nourishment. Many, like Rickreall Dairy, are quietly making contributions without seeking recognition or accolades.“We just pray that this random act of kindness will give everyone the hope they need as we all struggle through these crazy times,” said Kazemier.

Stacy Foster, who is quoted in this story, serves as the Industry Relations and Communications Manager for the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council.

RELATED LINKS:
Darigold Doubles Donations of Milk to Food Banks
Extraordinary Challenges Require Extraordinary Responses

Stay Home, Stay Safe, Stay Healthy

We will all remember the Spring of 2020 because of the stay at home restrictions put in place to help stop the spread of disease.   To make the most of the time, we offer you these tips to stay healthy while staying home.

Eat Well. Our bodies need the best fuel every day, and this is a great time to focus on healthy food choices.  Eating a balanced diet, which includes lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, dairy and whole grains, can help keep you healthy. And, it’s easy! Use the USDA’s MyPlate app as your guide.  Think about food groups when planning meals and snacks.  Try for at least two food groups for a snack – fruit and cheese, for example – and at least three for a meal – whole grain pasta, tomato sauce with added vegetables, and lean ground beef.  Pour a glass of milk to round out the meal.

Drink plenty of fluids. Your body depends on fluids to survive, and most healthy people can stay well hydrated by drinking water and other fluids whenever they feel thirsty. Water is recommended, but when you want something different, consider drinks that won’t add unnecessary sugars to your diet, like milk. Milk not only tastes great, it also is an affordable, excellent source of 9 essential nutrients. And, did you know that three of the nutrients – vitamin A, vitamin D, and protein – are essential for a healthy immune function?

Get fresh air. While doctors don’t typically prescribe sitting on your porch to cure an ailment, they do say that stepping outside can help to impact both our physical and mental health.  Open a window, take a walk, or sit on your porch. “Taking a short break outdoors can leave you feeling refreshed and more energized to get back to your daily tasks,” says Dr. Jimmy Johannes, a pulmonologist at Long Beach Medical in this article. Plus, it’s easy to keep a safe “social distance” outdoors!

Keep moving. Just because the gyms are closed doesn’t mean you should stop your exercise routine. Use this time as an opportunity to try something new. Many gyms are offering online classes, and many at home programs are offering free trials. Who knows? Maybe now is the time to start training for your next 5k or marathon. It starts with the resolve to keep moving. Need to get started? The Department of Health and Human Services offers physical activity guidelines and practical ways to be active on their website.

Get plenty of sleep. Getting a good night of sleep not only helps you feel and think better, it can also help you manage stress. Start with a healthy evening routine.  Turn off the screens, including your phone, an hour before bed and pick up a good book, meditate, write, play music or find another relaxing activity that will settle your brain.  Being “stuck” at home does mean you have an opportunity to binge-watch your favorite television show, just consider that getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep will help you stay healthy.

Do something good. Times are stressful. People are uncertain, confused and cooped up. A great way to help manage your own stress is to take time each day to do something for someone else. Check on a neighbor, share a roll of TP, call a parent or grandparent, sew some masks for healthcare workers, or donate funds to your local food bank. While you are at it, thank a farmer for continuing to produce food for your family. Even doing something small for someone else will boost your mood- and theirs too!

Domino’s and Dairy: A Partnership Powered by Pizza

What does a popular pizza chain and a local dairy have in common? A lot more than just cheese. Both are part of a strong partnership that benefits farmers, local franchisees and their communities.

Recently, Jake Fraizer of Dallas, Oregon, was awarded a Certificate of Appreciation from the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council for his exemplary contributions to the dairy industry and his local community.

Jake Fraizer has only had one job in his life. “I started delivering pizzas when I was 18, and worked my way up,” he said. Now 17 years later, he’s part owner in a successful Domino’s pizza store in Dallas, Oregon. “I love it,” he said. “I still love delivering. No one is ever mad to see the pizza guy.”

In 2019, Domino’s was named the top pizza chain based on annual sales, but that has not always been the case. In a 2009, in a survey of consumer taste preferences among national pizza chains, Domino’s tied for last place. That same year Domino’s announced plans to entirely reinvent its pizza with a unique ad campaign where consumers were filmed criticizing the pizza quality, and chefs were shown developing a new pizza. The dairy checkoff organization, Dairy Management Inc. (DMI) committed to address this situation with Domino’s because about 25 percent of all U.S. cheese ends up on a pizza.

“During the past ten years, we have invested in partnerships with influential quick service restaurant companies,” said Marilyn Hershey, board member for DMI. “That investment includes providing these partners with consumer insights, product development and nutrition expertise to develop new menu choices that include dairy, and that in turn find new markets for farmer’s milk. “Our four key partners, Domino’s, McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Pizza Hut have moved more than 2 billion equivalent pounds of milk in the duration of our work together.”

“Domino’s is one of these partnerships that feels more like family than partner,” said Hershey. “They love our partnership, they love dairy farmers, and they love our cheese.”

“It’s nice for me to let customers know that the cheese is actually from a farm,” said Fraizer. “Everybody thinks all fast food is fake, and it’s not. So that’s a big part of it, especially when it comes to dairy. I’d rather have all of our ingredients locally, like in the US, instead of getting shipped around, so I like the dairy partnerships.”

But this small town Domino’s and a local dairy have more in common than just cheese.

“When we are harvesting the crops, my guys put in long hours. Sometimes it’s nice to be able to offer them a warm meal as a thank you,” said Louie Kazemier, Owner of Rickreall Dairy, located just outside of Dallas, Oregon.

Even though the farm is technically out of Fraizer’s service radius, he will still deliver to Rickreall Dairy.  “We deliver out to the dairy a lot,” said Fraizer. “Louie does so much for the community I don’t mind.”

And, Fraizer often goes above and beyond. One year, after a particularly difficult harvest, Fraizer didn’t charge anything for the pizzas. “I’m still not sure if he could see the exhaustion on my face or was just feeling generous, but either way it was really nice,” said Kazemier.

The appreciation is mutual. “He does so much for Christmas Cheer, and the community. And Christmas Cheer means a lot to me,” said Fraizer.

Christmas Cheer, a nonprofit organization in Dallas, feeds families in need over the holidays. Fraizer and his wife joined the board of directors four years ago. “I think every kid should see how lucky they are that they have food,” said Fraizer. “That was ingrained in me, especially by my dad.”  

Christmas Cheer does various canned food drives throughout the year, but the perishable items like meat and dairy products, are more difficult to obtain. Kazemier’s donation of ground beef and milk helped to feed 500 families this past Christmas. “Anything perishable like meat or milk or cheese is so expensive that getting a donation is massive,” says Fraizer.

Fraizer’s donation of time and effort is an easy decision. “I grew up in this town, I think it’s kind of selfish if I don’t [give back],” he said. “I also like that it’s local. I know exactly where the money is going”.

Kazemier shares Fraizer’s sentiments on giving back. “I’ve been blessed and I want to bless others,” he said.

Their lives barely ever intersect, except when pizza is delivered, but this dairy farm owner and franchisee partner together to not only make a high quality product for their customers, but also in giving back to their community.

RELATED LINKS:

Domino’s Bets Added Cheese Will Further Grow Brand

Domino’s- An Undeniably Strong Partnership

Meet Six Women Making a Difference in Dairy Farming

We’ve heard the old adage, “If you ate today, thank a farmer.” But who do you picture, when you think of a farmer? In today’s age, they are far from the stereotypes you learned about through nursery rhymes.

So today, we take a moment to recognize six of the hardworking women dairy farmers in Oregon.

Collman

Melissa Collman was raised on a dairy and, fourteen years ago, committed to continuing her family’s legacy as a fourth generation dairy farmer. She says, “I take care of all the books for our dairy. I also do just a wide range from driving the rake, helping build fence, relief milker, relief calf feeder, cow mover, you name it. If there is grunt work I’m usually a part of that.” Melissa also advocates for the dairy industry through farm tours and events.

“The best thing about working on a dairy farm is the family time! It is unique in this day-and-age to get to spend so much time with your family and it is something to be treasured. Beyond that, we are a part of something bigger. We get to produce an extremely healthy and quality product for other families to enjoy. We get to take care of these beautiful, funny, goofy animals and do our best to give them a quality life.”

Read more about Melissa’s family farm in this article.

X Doornenbal.JPG

Donata Doornenbal works alongside her parents on their organic dairy, Thomas Valley Farm. “I was born on a dairy, and at six years old I started helping with calf feeding. My dream is to continue on the dairy and share the joy with my future family,” she says. “My tasks include feeding calves and general calf care, milking, and a little office work. In the summer I also move, wrap, and stack silage bales, (those big white marshmallows that you see on farms) and do a lot of weed control.”

Donata views her role in the industry to be a rare privilege. “We work on the dairy because we want to. Every dairy farmer I know has so many skills and is continually learning in order to have the best business possible and farm in the best way possible.”

x-frost.jpg

Bobbi Frost is the fourth generation to work and live on her family’s farm, Harrold’s Dairy. She became a full-time farmer after graduating from Oregon State University in 2011. “Some days I am working with the cows and calves, and others I am cleaning barns or maintaining equipment. During harvest seasons I run the forage harvester,” she says.

“Not every day in Oregon is sunshine and blue sky … and neither is everyday spent working with three generations of your family, but I cannot imagine spending my life doing anything other than being a dairy farmer.”

Learn more about Bobbi Frost in this article.

Poland

Deanna Poland farms with her husband on their organic farm in central Oregon. “My first and most important role in the industry is to help our family run a smooth successful dairy.  I have many hats here on our dairy.  I am book keeper, calf feeder, tractor driver, CEO and educator. As an organic dairy farmer there is so much more book work and record keeping to be done.

Deanna became involved with the dairy industry when she was eight years old when her dad purchased an 80 cow dairy. “It was an extremely snowy cold January, and I was the one in charge of feeding calves. The calves were housed in individual hutches that were placed outside. We did not have bottle holders at the time and I had to stand and hold each bottle individually until it was empty. I think we had 8 calves when we took over the dairy. Let’s just say this little city girl had to get tough real quick!”

In spite of the long hours and inclement weather, Deanna says she wouldn’t have it any other way. “I truly love is the wholesomeness it brings to our family.  We teach our children the value of working hard and that there are no cutting corners in life if you want to be successful.  We like to consider us as, ‘Team Poland.’  We all have an important role on this dairy and if we all work together we can have a very wonderful life.”

Samek

Karen Samek is an Area Field Manager for Northwest Dairy Association, the co-op that owns Darigold. She grew up on a dairy in the Willamette Valley. “I remember driving a loader while my dad pulled off three tie hay bales in the dark at a very young age. Probably six or seven. I started feeding calves around age seven or eight.” She started working as a field manager for the dairy industry in 2011.

“I work with a group of 90 farmers on most issues/needs that happen between the co-op and the individual farms.  I am also visiting farms on a regular basis. I really enjoy being able to do something different every day. I also like going to different places every day. But, the aspect that enjoy the most is the people. We have a great group of people working in this industry. This includes the farmers as well as the allied industry folks.” 

Although the dairy industry isn’t always easy, Karen says. “It’s hard to watch our culture trend towards becoming less appreciative of their food and also less aware what it really takes to produce food. Farmers are some of the most resilient people that I know, and that’s what I love about them. They love what they do enough to weather the storms.”

schoch

Casey Schoch has been working alongside her husband on their family farm, Schoch Dairy and Creamery, since 1991. Located near Portland, Schoch Dairy is a third generation dairy farm, and is home to 40 cows. The milk from these cows is pasteurized, bottled and sold right on the property in their own creamery. 

Casey cares for the financials, and orders supplies for both dairy and the creamery, along with marketing, and customer relations. “Living and working on a dairy farm is such a unique way of life. It is a daily commitment to take care of the cows and the facilities. They depend on us every day, but they give a lot in return.

My family and I have a lifetime of wonderful experiences that come from the cows. I have learned a lot about myself over the years on the dairy farm. Some days are full of laughter and others are filled with tears, but I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.”

Read more about Casey Schoch in this article.

Virtual Tours Bring Dairy Farms to the Classroom

There’s a new way for classrooms to take field trips, thanks to technology. Instead of bringing kids to the farm, we’re bringing dairies to a school near you.

In schools nationwide, it isn’t always possible for students to take educational field trips due to time or funding constraints and transportation logistics. These field trips are missed among teachers and students alike, as they can play an integral part of the learning process. Field trips are also one of the best ways to learn about agriculture.

IMG_1147

“Field trips help students see, experience and learn about agriculture straight from the source. Students love the opportunity to experience something new, and teachers welcome the opportunity for a guest to share with their class,” says Jessica Jansen, Executive Director for Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom Foundation.

Thanks to technology, there is a new way to learn about agriculture without ever having to board a school bus. It’s as simple as connecting via a smartphone and laptop for a virtual tour.

Recently, the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council partnered with Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom to host a virtual field trip at Rickreall Dairy. “It is incredibly important in my industry to educate students about what we do on a dairy farm,” says Louie Kazemier, owner of Rickreall Dairy, who also hosts traditional field trips every spring for more than 1,500 people yearly. “It gives students an opportunity to learn about where their food comes from, and also encourages them to think about career opportunities in agriculture.”

Agriculture in the Classroom, a nationwide educational program, is designed to help students develop an awareness and understanding that agriculture is the source of our food, clothing, shelter and other essentials. “At Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom we are passionate about connecting academic concepts to agricultural topics, and virtual farm field trips are a great way to do just that,” says Jansen. “We’re providing students the opportunity to witness new and exciting topics while showing them how this connects to what they are learning in the classroom.”

IMG_6049

For a dairy virtual tour, teachers sign up though the Agriculture in the Classroom website. A limited number of classrooms can sign up, and the first tour was booked in less than 24 hours. A week prior to the tour, the classroom receives a sensory box to explore items that they will view during the tour. For dairy farming, they focus on items that students can touch and smell like alfalfa, grain, and ear tags.

There are opportunities to learn about STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) though virtual tours. Whether it’s the math of converting pounds of milk into gallons, or the science of animal nutrition, STEM learning opportunities are abundant on a dairy farm.

“Through a field trip we provide students and educators context and relevancy with examples of why it’s important to know math, science and other content areas. The math alone on a dairy farm is extensive and helping students see how important it is and it being used is priceless for students,” says Jansen.

IMG_1155

The tours are filmed live using Zoom videoconferencing, but there are other platforms that could be used as well. “We recently brought 500 3rd through 5th graders through our barns in a little under an hour just by using Zoom,” says Kazemier, “and not only do they get to hear me explain what they are seeing on the screen, but they also get to ask their own questions in real-time.”

“One of my goals at the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council is to make it as easy as possible for dairy farmers to share their farms with students,” says Stacy Foster, Industry Relations and Communications Manager at ODNC. “Dairy farmers are incredibly busy. Virtual tours provide an opportunity for us to reach across the state of Oregon to hundreds of students in only one hour.”

Kazemier also appreciates that virtual tours can educate beyond traditional field trips. “There are places on a dairy farm that we would never go with students due to concerns of liability, biosecurity and cleanliness. With the virtual tour, we can literally give classrooms a “backstage pass” to our facility. They get to walk where the cows walk, and get up close and personal with our animals,” says Louie Kazemier.

IMG_6048

“While virtual farm field trips shouldn’t be a replacement for all farm field trips, it’s a great way to reach students who might not ever have the opportunity for a field trip,” says Jansen. Agriculture in the Classroom has plans to continue the program, with dairy and other agriculture sectors. “We’ll be planning two more dairy field trips, a series of two ranch-related tours this spring and a few crop-related experiences. Interested teachers can sign up for updates on our website.”

RELATED LINKS:

Virtual Farm Field Trip at Rickreall Dairy 

Calf Barn Virtual Field Trip at Rickreall Dairy