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.
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
Earth Day may be celebrated each year in late April, but for Oregon dairy farmers every day is Earth Day on the farm.
Most dairy farm families live and work where they farm. Each day they walk out their back door to take good care of their animals and land. It’s a responsibility they take seriously, and they’re proud of the work they do to bring nutritious food to our tables in a sustainable way.
Dairy farming has become advanced and innovative in Oregon and across the country. For example, between 1944 and 2007, the dairy industry used 90 percent less land, consumed 63 percent less water and emitted 63 percent less carbon while quadrupling the milk supply. Today, the dairy industry is responsible for less than two percent of greenhouse gas emissions.
The dairy industry is also great at recycling. Almost 20 percent of everything dairy cows eat is an agricultural byproduct inedible by humans. One major byproduct of milking cows – manure – is a valuable resource. Farmers use manure as a natural fertilizer on their crops, and some farms use methane digesters to recycle manure into clean, renewable electricity. Several farms generate solar power, and reusing water many times over is standard practice on today’s dairy farms.
Sustainable diets with low environmental impacts contribute to food and nutrition security and to a healthy life for present and future generations. Dairy provides substantial nutritional value in a single affordable package, has continually reduced its environmental footprint, and has committed to additional improvements industry-wide.
So whether you’re enjoying dairy foods on Earth Day or any day, you can feel good about how they’re made.
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:
|1 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.
|2 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.
|3 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.
|4 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.
|5 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.
|6 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.
|7They 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.
On America Recycles Day, which is observed on November 15, we started thinking about what to do with all those milk jugs and cartons after they’re empty. Of course you can simply wash them out and deposit them in a recycling bin or at a recycling center. But you can also upcycle, or create a new use for your empty jugs and cartons, with some of these fun and useful possibilities:
MILK JUG CRAFTS
lanterns, what a bright idea
keep your plants happy and well watered with this easy project
KITCHEN COMPOST HOLDER
use empty jugs to upcycle food scraps into compost
here’s one of many ways to turn your used jug into a handy scoop
GARDENING MADE EASY
sow your seeds
grow an herb garden
start a mini greenhouse
fashionable, this is for the birds … literally
here’s a helpful little caddy for your school, desk or craft supplies
play a game of catch with yourself
or with a friend
start saving money by making a piggy bank instead of buying one
ARTS AND CRAFTS
explore your crafty side with fun projects like this igloo
a storm trooper helmet
or a gift basket
MILK CARTON CRAFTS
‘tis the season to make some fun gingerbread houses
freezing your own ice blocks is very cool, indeed
make yourself a mini box garden
it’s a house and feeder – one stop shopping for birds
whether as a stylish vase
or centerpiece, who knew old milk cartons could look this good?
keep these paint pots in mind for your home improvement project or your kid’s next masterpiece
DESKTOP SUPPLY HOLDERS
cut the cartons, then cut the clutter with these handy holders
if you can make wallets out of duct tape, why not milk carton wallets?
have some fun making these toys, from trucks
to building blocks
this bright idea upcycles cartons and crayons into candles
Last but not least, here’s one bonus idea that can utilize milk cartons, jugs or both. Start collecting cartons and jugs now to participate in the 2017 Royal Rosarians Milk Carton Boat Race on June 25. Each jug supports approximately 8 pounds, while sealed cartons support 4 pounds. Here’s a short video showing how to build your own boat.
NOTE: The links in this article are shared for informational purposes only and are not affiliated with the Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council.
There are 228 family dairy farms in Oregon, and no two are exactly alike. Regardless of the farm size, location and history, there are certain values and standards that every Oregon dairy farmer has in common:
- Dairy farmers’ commitment to providing high quality milk begins with taking good care of their cows. On farms of all sizes, farmers care for their cows by providing a nutritious diet, good medical care and healthy living conditions. Animal comfort is key to a farmer’s livelihood.
- Environmental stewardship is important to all farmers, no matter how many cows they milk. Farmers care for their land and their natural resources. They usually live on the land where they farm.
- It’s important to dairy farmers that they be good neighbors and members of the community.
- Farmers and the industry are innovating and working toward a sustainable future. They are increasingly working smarter with automation, methane digesters, recycling, precision agriculture and solar panels to increase efficiency and reduce impacts.
- Food safety starts at the farm. Milk is one of the most tested and regulated food products, and farmers employ rigorous standards, practices and procedures to ensure that it is kept pure, cold and safe.
- Dairy farmers take great pride in their work, and they want the next generation to work on the same land so they can continue providing the nutritious food that we enjoy and depend on. It is their legacy.
There’s a common misperception that larger farms are somehow not as good for the animals or environment. However, the large scale farms allow optimal use of scarce resources such as water, energy and land. Large farms also face the same kinds of regulations and oversight as smaller farms. If you have questions about dairy farming, use our contact form and let us know.