rambles

California

This tag is associated with 7 posts

Is my milk safe?


Cleanliness and safety is something that we think about before we even think about milking the cows. Cleanliness starts with the cow beds andalso by keeping our cows healthy . We wash our milk pipelines three times a day once between every milking shift, the milk tank is washed once a day after it has been emptied and the milk pumped out and onto the tanker truck. Food safety is something paid close attention to on a dairy farm here are few pictures showing what we do to produce healthy refreshing milk!

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This tank cools the milk and stores it at a chilly 39 degrees. This is a brand new 5000 gallon milk tank we installed a few months ago.

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Inside these stainless steel tubes the milk is filtered before ending up in the milk tank. Fresh new filters are installed before each milking shift.

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This is a plate cooler that uses water to help cool the milk by nearly 20 degrees before the milk enters the milk tank.

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This chart tracks the temperature of the milk and is changed every 48 hours. If you notice the two spikes in temperature they are when the tank is washed daily after the milk is pumped into the milk truck to be taken to the milk plant.

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This sink is where the cleaning agents are m ixed with water to wash the pipelines the milk flows through. It is like a big dishwasher for pipes and is used after each milking shift.

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the cows teats are dipped with an 1% iodine and lanolin solution to keep them soft and clean.

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Although hard to see because it is a clear gold color this is a peroxide based teat sanitizer we use before the cow is milked. It also has lanolin in it to keep the teats soft..

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The cleaning agents are automatically added to the wash sink for employee safety.

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We even take safety as far as protecting our water supply from being contaminated with cleaning agents or milk.

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The milking machines are washed in between every milking shift

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Peek a Boo Sun


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Beautiful sunrise and one reason we enjoy working with the cows because we can witness natures grandeur first hand.

Awesome sunrise taken from one of our barns.

Lazy Summer Morning


Here is a cow picture for Wordless Wednesday.

Cows chilllin

A few of our cows enjoying the cool morning before a hot summer day here in Central California.

These cows were just moved into this pasture yesterday and are relaxing in the grass. With all the late rains we had here in the Central Valley and now the heat the grass is growing very quickly in the pasture. these cows need to get up and get to work eating it down!

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Want to see my farm?


My family and our dairy farm are very lucky to be located between San Francisco and Yosemite in the Central Valley of California. Because of this location we are in the flight path to and from San Francisco International Airport AKA SFO. When I have a window seat I try to locate my farm as we fly over. Many times I have had a seatmate on flights thoroughly amazed I can pick my farm out from such a high elevation.  If you can pick out Yosemite National Park and Half Dome you too can see our farm just a few minutes later as you head west.

The view of my family's farm from an airplane

We are very lucky to have awesome views of the Sierra Nevada and Coastal ranges, very often we have a front seat view of Half Dome itself.

Dairy view

Half Dome in Yosemite as seen from my families dairy farm

So as you fly over my farm please wave and remember we are down here everyday working on the farm caring for the cows who are helping provide healthy food for everyone.

Chocolate Malted Krunch needs your vote!


Ice Cream

Crunchy Malt balls, chocolate chips, all swirled into creamy Chocolate ice cream...need I say more?

I have been asked by Progressive Dairyman Magazine to take part in an Ice Cream Flavor Face-Off for their June is Dairy Month activities. The flavor I have chosen is Chocolate Malted Krunch from Thrifty Ice Cream available at select Rite Aid stores, Coscto Business Centers, Costco.com and various local ice cream shops.

Ice Cream

Order your own at Costco.com!

Here is why I have chosen Chocolate Malted Krunch:

Crunchy Malt balls, chocolate chips, all swirled into creamy Chocolate ice cream…need I say more? 
 
 
 
Who can forget going shopping at Thrifty’s with mom while out on summer break only to get ice cream? The warm California summer made thrifty ice cream a welcome treat and the cylindrical scoop added to the mystique of it all. Oh the joy when mom said yes to a scoop or three when she finished shopping. Thrifty Ice Cream is a West Coast institution started when the Borun brothers added ice cream to their Thrifty stores in the 1940’s little did they know the cult sensation that would follow the delicious treat into the next century. 
 
 
 

Planting the garden – Farm style!


Just remembered I had this post saved as a draft and never published it, silly me!

Here are some pictures of how we prepped the soil (using a little overkill) for our garden.

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We like to go BIG on the farm!

 We use our loader to get a scoop of the compost we make from the manure our cows leave behind.

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Adding our own compost to the garden.

 We mixed the compost into the soil to add vital nutrients that allows our vegetables to grow.

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Ready to plant!

The finished product!

Dairy cares? Environment


Here is a quick update about dairies in California’s Central valley and their progress with environmental regulations

Dairy Cares Report

February 2011
www.dairycares.com



Cares

Working together, we can continue to make our communities and state a better place to live and raise our families.

Myths vs. facts: Much progress made in dairy water quality protection efforts

It is an indisputable fact that in the past four years, California dairy families have invested more than $150 million in landmark water quality protection efforts. And here are a few other such facts:

  • California’s Central Valley has the most comprehensive dairy groundwater quality protection regulations in the nation;
  • Individual dairy families have spent thousands of hours since 2007 taking specific measures, every day on every dairy, to enhance water quality protection and stewardship of the soil, land and other natural resources; and
  • Dairies have done all this while enduring a historic struggle to survive, through a global economic downturn that drove more than 200 of the state’s dairies out of business.

California dairy families deserve recognition and credit for their efforts to protect groundwater. Dairy farmers here are leading efforts in our state and across the nation to use best practices that will help ensure sustainable food production in the Central Valley for centuries to come.

Strangely, dairy families were recently rewarded for their efforts with a different variety of recognition, one that leads cynics to observe: “No good deed goes unpunished.” Food & Water Watch (FWW), a national organization whose stated goal is to “ensure the food, water and fish we consume is safe, accessible and sustainable,” last week published a report condemning the efforts of California water quality regulators and dairy operators. Acknowledging that “dairy waste is by no means to the sole source of groundwater contamination,” and that dairy regulation has only recently been launched, FWW nevertheless pronounced efforts to date a failure.

FWW’s central premise – that poor quality water in many Central Valley wells points to the failure of dairy regulatory efforts – is simply dead wrong. Poor groundwater quality in our valley wells is a legacy problem that has been developing in the Central Valley for many decades, indeed since irrigated agriculture and use of fertilizers began in the valley more than 150 years ago. In fact, many of the most serious contributors to poor well water quality in valley communities, such as arsenic and boron, occur naturally in the soil and are not produced by agriculture or dairies. There are also other man-made sources of water pollution, including rural septic systems, urban and industrial sources, and the list goes on.

Dairy families are doing their part. In 2007, acknowledging that all must share the effort to protect and improve our water quality, dairy families stepped forward to work with regulators toward meeting the challenge of continued, long-term sustainable farming in our valley. They have made tremendous progress in just four years, including:

  • Conducting regular sampling of all wells on every dairy to monitor water quality;
  • Controlling all applications of manure and fertilizers to crops through a “nutrient management plan,” prepared by a certified professional to balance the fertilizer needs of the plants and protect groundwater from excess fertilizer;
  • Making sure an engineer has inspected and signed off on any manure storage structures to ensure they are structurally sound and protected against floods; and
  • Working with regulatory enforcement staff to ensure that these improvements are continuous, properly documented and enforceable, through submittal of reports and lab results, other records, and routine inspections.

But apparently, significant progress isn’t enough. FWW seems to be suggesting that only four years into implementing a complex, tough and expensive regulation, all Central Valley groundwater quality challenges should already be solved. Never mind that the current state of valley groundwater developed slowly over more than a century (in some cases, over millennia) and that we have barely allowed time for the newly implemented regulations to begin to reverse the trend. And never mind that regulating dairies alone won’t solve the problem. Like other environmental impacts, groundwater impacts come from myriad natural and man-made sources – and for many of these other causes, little has yet been attempted to address the problem.

In a final twist that is either remarkably unfair or grossly uninformed, FWW points to larger “industrialized” dairies as the source of the problem. Using the time-tested argument that “big must always be bad,” and using the pejorative term “industrialized” to equate larger farms with heartless factories, FWW suggests the government must act to make dairies smaller. Without a shred of evidence to back their claims, they suggest larger dairies have a disproportionate environmental impact. This sort of misinformation is not just wrong, but dangerously misleading. It suggests that we magically achieve environmental sustainability through size alone. In fact, best practices such as those described above – proper fertilizer application, and sound engineering and management – are the real key for sustainable dairies large or small. We should recognize, not criticize, the significant investment of many larger dairies in state-of-the-art environmental management systems, often to meet California-specific requirements.

Regardless of size, another indisputable fact is that 99 percent of California dairies are owned and cared for by families in the business for generations, families who understand and share the core values of protecting land, water and air resources, because they depend on them to survive and prosper. FWW can try to paint these people as uncaring, but that’s wrong and unfair.

FWW claims their goal is food and water that is “safe, sustainable and accessible” for all. Dairy families deserve to be judged by their actions, not FWW’s skewed, misinformed words. While FWW criticizes, California dairy families are actually doing what it takes to protect groundwater while producing a safe, sustainable, nutritious and affordable food supply for millions of Americans.

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