Dairy farming can be sustainable!

A view of the materials that comes from digesting dairy manure. The end products are electricity, nutrients that are used back on the fields and dry matter that is used for bedding the animals.

For all people out there interested in sustainable agriculture, I urge you to check out this short video explaining what dairy farmers are doing to make their practices sustainable.  http://www.realcaliforniamilk.com/sustainability

Dairy farming has gotten a bad reputation with greenhouse gases and how the cows breath out methane gas which is environmentally harmful.  While this is very true, people fail to see how dairy farmers (like the ones in the video) are becoming even more environmentally careful.  I believe that dairy farmers are some of the best environmental stewards of the land today.  They continue to find new and innovative ways to reduce, reuse and recycle waste on their farms.  Farmers deserve a pat on the back for all of the hard work they do to keep their practices environmentally sound.

Maple makes a message

Maple the cow serves as an excellent educational tool for children.

I’m a firm believer in education as a tool to help deliver meaningful messages to the public. Maple the cow has done just that for the dairy industry.  This educational plastic life like cow was an invention of a few farmers from Durham county.  They wanted to find an interactive way to get children’s attention about milk and the dairy industry.  Maple has made many appearances at local fairs, schools and is now a regular at the Royal Winter Fair.  Anyone can rent out Maple and have them attend their function to raise awareness of milk and it’s production and nutritional benefits.  I feel that this type of innovation and promotion is just what the dairy industry can use more of in education the public on how milk is both safe and nutritious for everyone!

To dock or not to dock?

Farmers have the choice to dock or not to dock, but they may not be able to soon

Although many Canadian dairies do not practice tail docking it is an animal welfare issues and now research has proven that tail docking really has no benefit.  Prior to the study farmers believed that chopping off cows tails would benefit by improving cow cleanliness, cleaner cows that are less prone to disease infection and working contracting leptospirosis.  The study concluded that cows who have their tail docked are no cleaners than those with full length.  Nor do cows with short tails have reduced susceptibility to infection and cannot transmit diseases to workers.  Studies found that tail docking is painful to the animals, as well as can contribute to nerve damage to the cow’s tail head.  The cows can also no longer use their tails as natural fly swatters.  Tail docking has been outlawed in many European countries and in California just last year.