DFC awarded prestigious trophy

Hard work and dedication have paid off for the Dairy Farmers of Canada (DFC) marketing team as they have won the prestigious Yves Boutonnat Trophyat the International Dairy Federation World Dairy Summit  for their “Building Milk Volume Five Seconds at a Time” campaign.  For those who are unfamiliar with this campaign, the DFC marketing team came up with short 5 second clips/commercials to get teenagers interested in milk by showing the various ways that milk is good for you.  Personally I believe that this was a great marketing tool for the dairy industry as it was very wide spread through being featured on MTV, at cineplex theaters and available on the internet and cell phones.  The clips were to encourage teens to choose milk over other competing beverages such as coke and pepsi.  This award is a well deserved pat on the back for the DFC marketing team and will hopefully encourage them to keep promoting Canadian milk in an effective positive way!  And maybe win some more awards along the way 🙂

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The continious debate- free stall or tie stall

Animal welfare issues are a serious matter and until recently I did not know that the public considered free stall and tie stall dairy barns to be one of these issues.  On my home farm we house our cows in a tie stall set up, as we have a small to medium size herd.  Other farmers, particularly larger dairy herds choose to run their operations in what is called a free stall barn.  I started thinking about the pros and cons of each method and here is what I have come up with off the top of my head:

Pros- Tie Stall Barn                                                                            Cons- Tie Stall Bar

Cows stay clean and dry                                                          Cows are stationary for long time periods

Able to keep better watch over cows                                  More labour intensive for farmers

Pros- Free Stall Barn                                                               Cons- Free Stall Barn

Animals are able to move around                                           Animals tend to be not as clean (dirt and mud)

Not as labour intensive for farmers                                        Harder to keep a close eye on cows

These are my personal opinions which I have formulated through my experience in the dairy industry.  I believe that the animal welfare issue is not about the operation set-up but how the animals are treated in each environment.  I know that in our tie stall the cows do not have the ability to walk around as they please but they are extremely comfortable and we treat them with care and respect.

Example of a free stall dairy barn

Example of a tie stall dairy barn

Nutritious delicious milk

Full fat milk has beneficial health effects

As children Mothers are always telling their children to eat their veggies, not very often do you hear a mother have to tell her kids to drink their milk too.  But how often do you see families sitting down to a meal with homogenized milk, typically 2% or sometimes 1% milk is served with dinner.  A recent Swedish study at Gothenburg University found that on average 8 year old children who drank full fat milk weighed about 9 lbs less than other children of the same age.  As I gre up on a diary farm I have rarely drank milk off the farm.  My family has always drank farm fresh milk and as a result I feel like we are healthier people for it.  Now I am not promoting the sale of unpasteurized milk, as that would cause lots of public health problems.  Basically drinking full fat milk keeps you fuller longer and you are less likely to become hungry quicker and reach for the cookies sitting on the counter.   It reduces the amount of total calories that one will eat in a day.  Personally full fat milk from my home farm is my favourite beverage of choice and thanks to the Swedish study I happy to know that the health effects of it are positive.

Carol Mitchell, the new face for Ontario agriculture

While I typically blog about specifically dairy related news, this new headline caught my eye while scanning through the latest ag news.

Carol Mitchell the new ag minister proudly supporting farmers on the opening day at the IPM

Dalton Miginty has revamped his cabinet including appointing former MPP of Huron-Bruce, Carol Mitchell as the new agriculture minister.  The new face for Ontario agriculture is a step in the right direction, as predecessor Leona Dombrowsky did not leave very big shoes to follow in.  I hope with all of the pressing issues in agriculture today that Mitchell will take a fresh proactive approach in addressing them.  Mitchell served as the Parliamentary Assistant to the Minister of Agriculture and Food, which is nice to know that she has some experience in agricultural related fields.  I believe that it is good for the face of agriculture to bring in some fresh blood with new ideas and get rid of the old.

For more information on our newly appointed head of agriculture for Ontario visit Carol’s personal web site at www.carolmitchell.ca

World milk prices now effecting Canadian markets

In 2008 Canadian genetic exports hit $177.8 million.

The recent crash in world milk price has had a detrimental impact on international dairy farmers, but for the most part Canadian farmers have remained profitable during this crisis.  Thanks to supply management Canadian farmers are guaranteed a return on their milk, however supply management has no control over the recent trend of depleting genetic sales overseas.  Finally the Canadian dairy industry has seen some compensation from the federal government in terms of a grant of $1.22 million.  This funding is specifically for promoting international genetic sales to Europe, China and Southeast Asia by means of advertising Canadian cattle and semen to once again boost sales.  Personally I am happy to see some government aid in agriculture.  While I know that the Canadian Dairy industry typically is one of the few agricultural practices that continues to be profitable, I am happy to see the government funneling some money into agriculture.  Here’s hoping that  government money distribution does not end in the dairy sector and we will see some subsidies in cash cropping and other livestock industries.

For more information on the dairy industry’s government funding, visit this weeks Better Farming  article briefly covering the topic.

Chocolate milk, beverage, drink all the same right…wrong!

Reading labels on dairy products is more important now than ever.

Dairy product labeling has been a very hot topic in the presses lately with ice cream and cheese.  Many consumers are now extra careful when purchasing dairy products, but who ever guessed that when purchasing chocolate milk you now need to read the label too!  Personally I always make sure to read labels, especially on dairy products, however the other night while enjoying a carton of chocolate milk, or so I thought, I glanced down at the label to read ‘chocolate beverage’.  Yes indeed ‘chocolate beverages’ and ‘drinks’ are not considered true chocolate milk and the Dairy Farmers of Ontario is setting out to educate consumers of this labeling scheme with a great article in latest edition of the milk producer.  I completely support the DFO as they aim to set the labeling system in the correct path.  Typically I consider myself an avid ‘label checker’, but now that I have been tricked too,  I feel that we need to get the word out… chocolate beverages and drinks will never be the same as chocolate milk again!