IF YOU DO, THANK A DAIRY FARMER!
According to NASS (National Agriculture Statistic Service) Virginia has 47,300 farms with the average farm size being 170 acres. The total land in farms (acres) is 8,050,000.
As of Jan 1, 2011 the livestock held on these farms was as follows: 1,540,000 Cattle and Calves, 355,000 Hogs and Pigs, and 90,000 sheep. Milk cows (average head) is 95,000 with a milk production of 18,095 lbs per cow, that is a total of 1,719,000,000 lbs of milk per year.
BRFAL Chapter of Virginia Master Naturalist had their last field day en-training at Bowman Dairy Farm in Wirtz Virginia. This has been a family owned and operated dairy for over a century. Mr Bowman shared with us that this is how they make their living with each family member participating in the work load in the care and feeding of the cows, operating the farm, to the production of raw milk. He said that only 10% of the cows are lactating at any given time. The Bowman Family are milking these cows daily at 4am and 4pm and takes 3 hours!
|Meet a few of the young ladies at Bowman Dairy Farm|
GOOD MILK REQUIRES GOOD FEED
|These cows have a nutritionist to ensure they have the best diet|
|High quality Ryegrass is a grown for pasture and hay to feed the cows, as well as soybeans|
|Manure pit is then used as fertilizer in the hay fields|
|Meticulous management at Bowman Dairy Farm ensures the highest quality milk - every truckload of milk is tested that leaves the farm|
Learn more about Management Practices On Virginia Dairy Farms (PDF) from VT.edu here. Some of the things contained in this publication are: Acres of corn per cow, acres of pasture per cow, age of farmers, farm debt, off farm income, technology and management practices, milking parlor and automation, land use, experience and education, nutrition, etc.
So the next time you casually wander into your kitchen in your pjs and pluck the gallon of ice cold milk out of the fridge to pour over your morning cereal think about The Bowman Family laboring to get that milk from the field to your grocery store shelf!
Thank you Dairy Farmers of America, we applaud you and are grateful for all you do to continue to produce a fine product that we can enjoy!
*Statistics from NASS.USDA.GOV here
Learn more about Ryegrass here