Stuck inside and can’t get to the farm to work with your dairy animals? Or do you just want to learn more about dairy farming? I’ve got a few suggestions for you. Dairy farmers are working hard everyday to bring you nutritious and delicious products – including a variety of milks, cheeses, butter products, and our favorite, ice cream.
Sugar Maple Jerseys is a small family-operated farm in Stockton, New Jersey (Hunterdon County). They primarily have Jersey cows, because they are the breed best known for higher butter fat and protein levels in their milk. Jerseys are also very efficient milk makers, come in smaller packages, and need less space and feed. They are also known for their great personality. Sugar Maple Jerseys’ products are available for on-farm pick-up or delivery and include a variety of cheeses, Greek yogurt, and butter products. If you want to visit the farm virtually, they are highlighted in this video produced by a local news agency.
To visit a larger family-operated dairy, I selected Crave Brothers Farm in Waterloo, Wisconsin. One of the top dairies in the country, this operation opens their farm each year for participants of the National 4-H Dairy Conference. Crave Brothers Dairy milks over 3,000 Holstein cows. Holsteins are the most popular of the dairy breeds in the United States and in most of the world. They are the large black and white or red and white cows that most people think of when they think of a dairy cow. Holsteins are larger in size and produce the most milk by volume.
Crave Brothers Farm grows and harvests most of what their cows eat on their 2,500 acres and utilizes the manure to produce methane which is used to run the dairy and cheese plant and produce high nitrogen fertilizer for their crops and a dry waste product which is used as bedding for the cows. These major investments make them very environmentally friendly and efficient. Crave Brothers produces nationally award-winning cheeses, and they have multiple generations of Crave family members running the different aspects of the business. To see a variety of videos about Crave Brothers Farm, their farm operations and their products, visit their website.
To explore dairy operations in a different climate and another part of the country, I chose Shenandoah Dairy. This dairy is a large 3,500 cow Holstein herd in Florida. It is another family-owned dairy, and the video tour starts with the baby calves and ends with their manure management system.
Another great resource for several dairy farm tours is the American Dairy Association North East website. This site also includes several other educational resources.
I hope you enjoy learning about the dairy industry with these videos!
By Carol K. Ward, County 4-H Agent, Rutgers Cooperative Extension