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Farming with Innovation and Heart Earns National Award for Rickreall Dairy

rickreall dairy_louies-portrait

A dedication to protecting the environment, maintaining good employee relations and preserving herd health has earned Louie Kazemier of Rickreall Dairy an Outstanding Dairy Farm Sustainability Award from the Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy.

The award, now in its sixth year, is awarded for a dairy’s use of sustainable practices in areas of cow care, energy conservation, water conservation, nutrient management, and business and employee relations.

Rickreall is the first dairy from Oregon to win the award. It was one of only three such awards in the country this year, and the only one west of the Mississippi River.

Kazemier, who has managed Rickreall Dairy since 1991, summed up his commitment to sustainability as a constant effort “to do the right thing.”

“I believe that if we know a better way to do stuff and don’t do it, I don’t think we are honoring our purpose here in life,” he said.

His work on the dairy, more than defining him, he said is an extension of his philosophy on life.

Among reasons cited by the U.S. Dairy Innovation Center for Kazemier’s award are his philanthropic efforts to help others.

Kazemier travels regularly to Uganda to instruct dairy farmers, build housing and mentor young men. In Oregon, Kazemier built Camp Attitude, a camp for families with special-needs children.

In Rickreall, residents know him for his open-door policy, and the steps he takes to be a good neighbor.

“We are ultra-sensitive to the public,” Kazemier said. “We only irrigate certain fields, certain times of the day, because of wind direction and concerns with odor. And we have an open door policy, where anybody who wants to see the dairy can come in. We bring in a minimum of 2,000 school children a year at no cost to the schools.”

Rickreall-Dairy-signWhen it comes to the environmental improvements, Kazemier worked with Energy Trust of Oregon and the U.S. Department of Agriculture to upgrade his barn lighting and parlor laundry systems, steps that have reduced his energy use by hundreds of thousands of kilowatts per year.

Kazemier’s nutrient management plan involves applying only the amount of nutrients plants take up, so nutrients don’t leave the soil profile. He conducts water-quality tests in a nearby creek on a quarterly basis, and takes soils tests on the farm’s cropland on an annual basis, just to be sure.

Additionally, Kazemier provides neighboring farmer Scott Zeigler excess manure nutrients from Rickreall Dairy in exchange for feed, an arrangement that has proved beneficial to both parties.

Kazemier’s father-in-law, Gus Wybenga, a third-generation dairy farmer who expanded and redesigned Rickreall Dairy when he purchased it in 1990, designed it with water conservation in mind. Kazemier has refined the system to capture and conserve water, and ensure that tap water is recycled at least three times before being used for irrigation.

And Kazemier has arranged with a local food processor to take excess waste water off the processor’s hands, an arrangement that, again, benefits both parties.

When it comes to his 3,500 cows, Kazemier works closely with a nutritionist, a veterinarian and a herd manager to regulate and monitor herd health. And he uses computer software to track daily milk production and maintain health and treatment records.

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Rickreall Dairy meets most of its feed needs through double-cropping ryegrass silage and corn silage and on the dairy’s 1,100 acres of cropland. Kazemier supplements that with high-quality alfalfa hay, along with two byproducts from a local biofuel production plant, plus mineral supplements, beet pulp, cottonseed, hominy and corn grain, and the feed he gets from Zeigler Farms.

Kazemier uses composted manure solids for cow bedding, a practice that, in addition to providing a comfortable and sanitary bedding, also provides another beneficial use for dairy waste, and he has removed exterior walls to improve air circulation in the dairy’s five free-stall barns.

According to John Rosecrans, the dairy’s nutritionist, Rickreall Dairy cows consistently rank as an “A” herd, exhibiting high milk-production-to-feed rates, low cull rates and high pregnancy rates – all key elements in a dairy’s success.
“This is one of those dairies where you can walk through the cow pens and they don’t run from you, they follow you,” Rosecrans said. “That tells you a lot about a farm.”

Then there are the dairy’s twenty-five year-round employees, workers with an average a tenure of twenty years.

“People don’t quit very quickly here,” Kazemier said, “and I take a lot of pride in that, because agriculture is a tough business, and my guys, they know that I’ve got their back if they put one-hundred percent into this job.”

Indeed, cows, people, the community and the environment all seem to benefit from their association with Louie Kazemier and Rickreall Dairy.

 


 


RELATED LINKS

Oregon Dairy Farm Receives National Sustainability Award
NEWS RELEASE | June 29, 2017
Rickreall Dairy Lauded for Farming with Innovation and Heart

Dairy Farms and Businesses are Advancing Sustainable Practices, from Farm to Table
NEWS RELEASE | June 29, 2017
Winners announced for sixth annual U.S. Dairy Sustainability Awards, progress report released

Louie Kazemier: Dairy Farmer, Humanitarian, Heart of Gold

Starting the Day out Right with School Breakfast

Imlay students are Fueled Up

Students at Imlay Elementary in Hillsboro, Oregon are starting the day out right with school breakfast thanks to the support of Fuel Up to Play 60 and the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council.

Knowing the importance of breakfast for student success motivated the Fuel Up to Play 60 team at Imlay Elementary to apply for grant funding through the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council. Funds brought new life to the cafeteria space with a fresh coat of paint, new menu boards, sound system and posters.

Imlay held a special Fuel Up to Play 60 kick off assembly to highlight all their cafeteria improvements. Teachers encouraged hungry students to participate in “Grab and Go” breakfast and used breakfast time as an opportunity to teach students about “What is a Healthy Breakfast.”

Classes have been fueling their minds and bodies with a friendly competition for the highest breakfast participation. “The student wellness team is helping serve food and participating in taste testing, gathering breakfast participation data and making wellness announcements,” said first grade teacher Lisa Sagapolu.

Fuel Up to Play 60 is the largest school nutrition and physical activity program in the country. The program is administered locally by the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council, in partnership with the National Football League, U.S. Department of Agriculture and the National Dairy Council.

Two Great Ways You Can Enjoy the Milk Carton Boat Race

MILK CARTON BOAT RACE
Date:
June 25, 2017
Time:
11:00 am activities begin (boat check-in opens at 9:30 am)
Location:
Westmoreland Park Casting Pond – SE McLoughlin Blvd and Bybee Blvd
Cost:
FREE

At the Royal Rosarians’ Milk Carton Boat Race, teams and individuals race each other across a pond floating atop empty milk jugs and cartons. It’s a unique Portland Rose Festival tradition dating back to 1973. You have to see it to believe it – and you’re invited to do just that.

Here are two ways for you to be a part of this year’s party on the pond:


PARTICIPATE

It is 100% free to register as a participant in the Milk Carton Boat Race. Here are five simple steps to join the race:

1. Read the Race Information and Rules.

2. Give your boat a name and Register Online.

3. Design and build your boat. Watch this video for some helpful tips. Keep in mind that a one gallon jug
supports 8 lbs., a half-gallon supports 4 lbs., and a one-quart paper carton floats 2 lbs.

4. Have all boat riders sign a Waiver.

5. On race day bring your boat, waivers, life jackets and enthusiasm. Check in and boat inspection opens at 9:30 am. Onsite registration is also available from 9:30-10:30 am.

There are multiple divisions for teams and individuals, and children as young as 7 years old can participate. No experience is needed, and every year there have been first-timers. The pond is relatively shallow, and volunteers from the Sea Scouts will be present to help ensure water safety.


SPECTATE

While it’s a lot of fun to participate in the races, it can also be a lot of fun to watch. There’s no cost to attend the event and cheer on your favorite boats and racers. There will be food available for purchase, as well as samples and giveaways.

Seating around the park is first-come, first-served, and you can bring chairs or blankets to make yourself comfortable. Don’t forget your sunglasses and sunscreen!

The Milk Carton Boat Race is produced by the Royal Rosarians, sanctioned by the Portland Rose Festival and sponsored by the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council.

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RELATED LINKS:

Improving School Meals for Oregon Students

Clear Lake kick off school lunch

by DeDe Poynor, Oregon State University Dietetic Intern

Deanna PoynorDid you know school meals have been getting a makeover? It’s true – a lot has changed since the National School Lunch Program began in 1946. Here are some examples.

Current federal requirements help students eat a well-balanced diet with the nutrients they need as they grow. Schools must offer a variety of fruits and vegetables throughout the week. They also give students whole grains, lean proteins, and dairy products. Including more of the good stuff and cutting excessive salt, sugar, fat and calories helps develop healthy eating habits now and in the future.

Another role of school meals is to address child hunger. Oregon is the sixth most food insecure state in the country, with 1 in 6 households unsure of where their next meal will come from. Those kids often do not get the nutrients they need to be healthy and succeed in the classroom. Due to this, many schools around the state are looking at options outside of lunch, including breakfast and summer meal programs, to get students the food they need.

As the name implies, federal meal requirements must be met. However, deciding what to offer and how to prepare the food is up to the schools. It can be hard to find recipes and items that meet federal requirements. It is also hard to find menu items that most of the kids will eat. That is why Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council and Oregon Department of Education Child Nutrition Programs have joined forces to offer statewide culinary trainings for school nutrition staff. These trainings give tips and tools for offering things that kids will like, including local fruits and vegetables.

Oregon has been a national leader for the Farm to School Program, connecting Oregon schools with local farmers. With funding provided by the state legislature, this program has given kids opportunities to try locally grown and processed fruits and vegetables, as well as meat, dairy and whole grains. At the same time, the Farm to School Program has helped the economy by supporting Oregon businesses.

School meal programs continue to evolve with the support of students, teachers, administrators, parents and communities. School nutrition staff are bringing creative solutions to kitchens and cafeterias that maximize the available funding while keeping Oregon children full with nutritious and delicious foods.

Is DASH the Best Diet … Ever?

Could it be? Is there really a “best diet?” If such a thing exists, the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan may just be it. In 2017, for the seventh year in a row, an expert panel of health and nutrition experts assembled by U.S. News & World Report rated DASH Best Overall Diet.

DASH has been repeatedly lauded by expert panels for its proven plan for healthy eating, diabetes prevention and heart health. With nearly 20 years of research to support it, the DASH Diet is recommended by both the 2010 and 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute.

What’s unique about DASH is that it is really not a traditional diet but rather an eating plan that you can follow for life. It also works well for families, couples, co-workers and individuals. The focus is on food – simple, easy-to-prepare and tasty food. No pills or special ingredients. Simply food.

The DASH eating plan emphasizes whole grains, vegetables, fruits, lean protein and dairy foods. In fact, milk, cheese and yogurt are critical components of DASH because of the nutrients they provide. This combination of foods provides enhanced health benefits that are not seen when dairy foods are not included.

DASH was originally shown to be as effective in treating high blood pressure for some people as medications can be. Further research has confirmed this time and again, but also has shown that DASH can help reduce the risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes while at the same time improving bone health. A 2016 study showed that a modified DASH diet with full fat dairy foods, no juice and fewer sugars maintained and enhanced the health benefits of DASH, including:

  • Similar benefit of lowering blood pressure
  • Reduced blood triglyceride levels
  • No difference in total LDL cholesterol
  • Did not reduce the blood HDL cholesterol levels

So, is it time for you to get started with the DASH eating plan? We can help with the information and tools you need. Visit https://odncouncil.org/dash/ to find DASH recipes to help you reach your daily goal for each food group.

 

 


READ MORE ABOUT DASH:

Bean and Smoked Cheddar Salad

Bean and Smoked Cheddar Salad
This tasty bean salad comes together in no time, and the smokey cheddar adds bonus flavor. No smoked cheddar? Try using sharp cheddar or pepper jack.

Serves 4

dash-recipehealthy-recipeentree-recipeSide dish recipe

 

 

Dietitian’s Tip: Build a DASH meal with this salad by adding a side of fresh fruit and a whole grain roll

INGREDIENTS
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
¼ cup red onion, minced
½ cup celery, sliced
2 15-ounce can 50% less sodium beans (garbanzo, kidney or black), drained and rinsed
4 ounces smoked Cheddar cheese, cut into ¼ inch cubes

INSTRUCTIONS
In a large bowl combine Dijon mustard, cider vinegar, salt, sugar, black pepper and olive oil: whisk until well mixed.
Add remaining ingredients to large bowl with vinaigrette and mix until evenly coated. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

NUTRITIONAL FACTS
Per serving: 240 Calories, 11 g total fat, 4 g saturated fat, 310 mg sodium, 23 g carbohydrates, 8 g fiber, 12 g protein, 192 mg calcium

Milk Builds Strong Schools in Oregon

MLK School Jacksons_2017

Remember those old videos of Ed Sullivan introducing the Beatles? Well, it wasn’t quite that boisterous when the students of Martin Luther King K-8 School in Portland learned that they were selected to receive a brand new iPad Learning Lab. But it was close.

The donation was made possible through a charitable Jacksons Food Stores program called “Milk Builds Strong Schools,” which set aside five percent of milk gallon sales in stores throughout Oregon from October 21, 2016 to January 5, 2017. The program is supported by Dairy Farmers of Washington, Darigold and Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council.

The Learning Lab includes 10 new iPad Pro devices with Apple Pencils and a mobile cart that can store, charge, and sync up to 30 iPad devices. This was the second year a school in Oregon was selected, the fourth year for schools in Washington and the first year ever for schools in Utah and Idaho. Martin Luther King K-8 was randomly selected in a drawing of all public schools in Oregon.

“Our partnership with the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council allowed us to create a campaign that benefits an Oregon school and promotes education through technology,” said Cory Jackson, president of Jacksons Food Stores.

Kiara Single, Oregon Dairy Princess Ambassador, participated in the assembly and helped with the big announcement. She shared some facts about dairy farming in Oregon with students, and said it was fitting that milk made the donation possible since this year marks the 20th anniversary of milk as Oregon’s Official State Beverage.

Adopt a Farmer Program Includes Oregon Dairies

Each year, Oregon dairy farmers participate in a program called Adopt a Farmer through Oregon Aglink to help promote agriculture through educating middle school students. Five Oregon dairy farm families are currently participating in this year’s program giving students the opportunity to experience a dairy farm firsthand.

The five dairies include:

  • Harrold’s Dairy in Creswell
  • Cloud Cap Farms in Boring
  • Mayfield Dairy in Aurora
  • Veeman’s Dairy in St. Paul
  • Willamette Valley Cheese in Salem

In addition to offering tours of their farms, these dairy farmers visit their adoptive classroom two to three times throughout the school year to engage students in the science behind farming. They participate in activities related to soil, water, conservation, irrigation, genetics, the farm-to-table continuum and economics.

Learn more about one of Oregon’s dairy farmers, Melissa Collman of Cloud Cap Farms and her participation in the program.

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RELATED LINKS:

Adopt a Farmer

Dairy Meets Classroom: Melissa Collman of Cloud Cap Farms

Cloud Cap Dairy, Boring, OR

Cloud Cap Dairy on Facebook

Cloud Cap Dairy on Twitter

Cloud Cap Dairy on Instagram

Oregon Celebrates School Wellness Awards

oregon-school-wellness-award-banner

Each year for the past decade, Oregon School Wellness Awards have recognized outstanding schools for their efforts to improve child health by connecting nutrition, physical activity and academic achievement. On the tenth anniversary of the awards, the Oregon Department of Education announced three new schools as recipients for 2017.

  • Adams Elementary, Corvallis School District
  • Milwaukie High School, North Clackamas School District
  • St. Paul Elementary, St. Paul School District

In partnership with Oregon Department of Education and Nutrition Council of Oregon, the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council serves as the title sponsor for these awards. Each award recipient receives a $2,500 cash prize, a banner, and a certificate of recognition presented at special school assemblies.

“We are excited about how this award will help shape our future wellness efforts,” said Kylie Pybus, MPH, Health and Wellness Coordinator at Milwaukie High School.

Schools are judged and selected based on criteria including school wide wellness policies and initiatives, physical education and physical activity, school meal programs and community involvement. Each one of this year’s winners were lauded for improving their standards and showing positive results in healthy student and staff behavior.

“There is clear data that student health and student learning are connected,” said Joyce Dougherty, Child Nutrition Programs Director for the Oregon Department of Education.

Oregon schools that are actively working to improve student and staff wellness are encouraged to apply for next year’s awards. To learn more, visit the wellness page on the Oregon Department of Education website.

Eight Questions for an Oregon Dairy Mom

Mary Chamberlain is a dairy farmer alongside her husband, Jason, and in-laws Warren and Lori, at Dairylain Farms in Vale, Oregon. Mary and Jason have three boys between the ages of one and seven, and she coaches a cross country running team at the local high school. We asked Mary eight questions about her life as a farmer, community volunteer, and a mother.

Why do you farm?

It’s a family tradition that goes back to our great-grandparents. I was raised on a dairy farm, and I married a dairy boy. It only made sense to work on his parent’s dairy and raise our kids to love dairy cows as much as we do. Raising calves, fostering them to cows, and giving them what they need to produce wonderful milk — that is the pretty basic description of what we do. But in reality it’s so much more.

When our first born arrived, I tried to stay home, but the farm needed an extra set of hands. I found myself pushing a stroller along as I fed calves, vaccinated cows, or checked heifers. Now on our third child, we start our mornings by heading to the barn to get milk to feed the calves, and end our day checking on the robots (we added robotic milkers last July). I’m very proud to have my boys working with us every day.

What’s life like for your kids on the farm?

They all have different levels of love for the farm and our way of life. My one-year-old just loves to watch the cows, and of course, sample their food.

Dairylain_2017_2048My four-year-old plays for hours with his farm toys in the sandbox. Every once in a while we catch bits of his make-believe land, where he is the ‘dad’ and he drives his loader and feeds the cows. We even get hints of a girl he likes as she makes an appearance in this pretend world to feed baby calves. When he isn’t in the sandbox, he loves to follow his dad around or ride along while I check on the heifers.

Our seven-year-old is starting to connect the dots that feeding animals and taking care of them is essential for them to not just survive but to helps us survive. When an animal is born, he is one of the first to let us know, and then help his dad move her to the barn. He helps with every task on the dairy. Some he hates (he thinks feeding calves is too boring) and others he loves (like picking out animals to train for fair).

And you’re also involved in your local schools?

Yes, I’m the local cross country head coach, and I substitute teach when I can (which is a bit rare these days with a one year old). Before my boys, I ran marathons and did triathlons all over the country. These days, it’s important for me to stay fit for my sanity and my health. Coaching running is great way to give back to the community and teach kids a way to deal with their own stress and worries.

With a master’s degree in dairy science and a love for running, I’m a bit of a quirky sub. I encourage getting outside to do work. I believe there is this huge connection to moving and learning that we don’t utilize in the classroom.

How important is nutrition to your family and your cows?

Dairylain Farms Chamberlain jerseyAs a three time mom in her 30s who still runs and bikes when she can, what’s in my food and my boys’ food is a concern. We all burn a lot of calories. I don’t want any food around that is just going to give a quick energy high and then leave me with a headache and cranky kids. Protein, carbohydrates, digestible and usable sugars, vitamins and minerals: that’s what I look for in all my food, and I try to balance the levels based on what we need and when we need it.

Good nutrition is also important to our cows. They are sort of like a pro-athlete; they will burnout if they don’t train and eat right. We feed the cows to increase milk supply naturally by giving them the correct amount of energy, protein, vitamins, and minerals (and plenty of water). We have to make sure their nutrition allows them to milk plenty but doesn’t deplete their bones and body.

Do you use antibiotics or hormones?

Out of 375 milking animals, we have only one that’s getting antibiotics right now. We use antibiotics on our dairy according to the label, and no antibiotics are allowed to enter the food supply. If she gets an antibiotic shot, her milk gets dumped.

I think there is a misconception that as dairy farmers we are constantly giving shots for sickness. Really we give very few. My one year old has received more doses of antibiotics for ear infections this winter than we gave the entire milking herd for the same four months. We all work hard to give our animals the best chance to fight colds and viruses on their own. When they can’t, we call the vet and get the medication they need.

As for hormones, cows don’t need additional hormones to make them give more milk, they have enough natural ones.

How do you take care of your cows and calves?

Dairylain calf feedingWe feed them, ensure they are safe, healthy and comfortable, and we provide clean homes and bedding. We give the calves blankets and warm water in the winter and cold water in the summer. Sometimes when my kids are sick, it’s hard to leave the house to work at the dairy. But the cows and calves need us too.

Cows are not humans, and sometimes they can hurt or neglect their calves. So to the calves, we are their foster parents. They depend on us to understand their language, like a wagging tail and licking tongue means ‘I’m good!’ — droopy eyes and not getting up right away means something doesn’t feel right.

How do you care for the environment?

Improving the land around us is a big priority. Since we grow our own crops for the cows to eat, there is always plenty of land that could use more nutrients. We sample the soil to decide where nutrients are needed and that’s where we spread manure from our pens and barns. It’s natural, organic fertilizer.

We ensure that the water used in our barns for cooling milk is recycled, so the cows can have plenty to drink. We are constantly looking for ways to reduce waste in all forms and recycle what we can. We use solar powered electric fences to keep the heifers in, and solar powered pumps to run our pivots to keep the fields watered and the grass growing.

Are there any parting thoughts that you’d like people to know?

Dairylain_2017_1972Just as none of us are perfect parents, there are no perfect farmers. But we honestly do the best we can do on this day, and hope for the same or better tomorrow. Every day is another chance to do even better. I trust what we do, what my neighbors do, and what our fellow friends and dairy farmers across the country do. We are proud of the quality foods that we help bring to your table and ours!

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