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Posts Tagged ‘cows’

I can’t believe it has been already a year! The Fresno Food Expo is already here and things are a bit crazy in preparation as well as tending to all of our regular orders. We continue to service the 37 Nor-Cal Whole Foods so don’t forget to go in an ask for some “Dairy Goddess”. 

The Expo is Thursday March 14, 2013. The public portion is going to be held from 5pm to 8pm at the Fresno Convention Center, Hall 1. Tickets are $40.00 but you can go to www.fresnofoodexpo.com for discount ticket offers. 

Come on out to taste, touch, and try food and beverage products from 106 food exhibitors. It is a great opportunity to learn about local food companies and you will even have a chance to purchase product you like at the show. Dairy Goddess is offering special Expo discounts. 

Supporting local food companies has never tasted so good. 

Also I am asking you to please go to Fresno Food Expo New Products Award (click on link) and vote if you haven’t already. My 3 entries are in the TOP 5 of 55 products. The voting continues until the day of the event. 

All you need to do is 

“Like” each of my products (3 of them, Whole Milk, Chocolate Milk, and my Cheese) along with that please email a vote too. Your support is appreciated and helps our little company get our name out. Remember, I AM our marketing team. 

Our family does it all! So join “OUR” family and take a moment to cast your votes.

Hope to see you at the Expo!

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As you know. Dairy Goddess Farmstead Cheese and Milk was created by me. Partly as a dream to create products from our cows milk but also out of desperation during the worst economic time in our dairy industry. Trying whatever we could to save our farm.

With the help and support of my husband Tony, my daughter Tara we have done a pretty good job. I am very proud of what we have accomplished in two and a half short years.

I am proud to announce that we just made it into the Northern California Whole Foods 35 plus stores with my Non-Homogenized, Low Pasteurized Whole Milk and Chocolate Milk along with Dairy Goddess Fromage Blanc Cheese. If you are in that region…please go in and tell them you LOVE Dairy Goddess. The real key to this success is to receive and maintain those re-orders.

I have expanded my tiny little plant and product as I have gone along. Dairy Goddess does not have a marketing team. I do not have an advertising budget. We do EVERYTHING ourselves. With that said. I am asking you to help me out. Please go to Fresno Food Expo’s Website (click here) Like their page. Then look at all of the wonderful new San Joaquin Valley New Products that will be highlighted at the Fresno Food Expo on March 14th. Then please LIKE each of my products. I have the Whole Milk / Whole Chocolate Milk and Cheese. Click the like by each of those pictures and that is all you have to do and sharing that with your friends would also be appreciated. This type of promotion is what has got me to where I am now. It is hard to get reach without professionals helping, but with your assistance I could not be happier!

I am the little ant that could….and this ant is going to do her best to keep going!

Thanking you in advance for your help…remember LIKE all Three Dairy Goddess Products by clicking the “thumbs-up” next to it’s picture.

Photo from Hanford Sentinel article

Dairy Goddess LogoImage

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I have just gotten back from Sacramento. Karen Ross had called a hearing to raise all Class Milk prices for up to 6 month to help dairy farmers through this terrible crisis. Mind you getting to a meeting in Sacramento at 7 am on the Friday before Christmas was no easy task.

I was proud to see many dairy farmers there. There were also plenty of processors there to fight it. Their lack of empathy toward our dairy crisis is disturbing. 

I have been up since 230 am so I will post my testimony for you to read. There was a lot of very good producer testimony and I do hope that we were heard.

 

I am here today urging you to increase the pay price that dairy farmers receive.
We have been receiving nearly $2.OO less per hundred weight than the rest of the 
United States for far too long. Along with that we have the highest costs and 
the highest regulations as well as providing the highest quality of milk.

300 dairy families gone along with another 100 this year.

We have been pleading and petitioning for a year all to be denied and delayed. 
All the while many dairy families have lost or  are losing their generational 
farms and culling generational herds.  We hear from processors that we need to 
become more efficient . I can guarantee you this ... The dairy farmers that are 
still in business today have become efficient or else they would not be in 
business today. I would only hope that our government would become as efficient 
as  us dairy farmers...we would not be on the fiscal cliff we are standing on 
right now.

Have any of you ever here seen a dairy farmer walk around his dairy after the 
cows have left for slaughter? It is heart breaking...it is a memory that will 
never leave me. I pray that no more dairy families have to take that walk.

Those of us still here are fighting for our lives.  Yet, as we fight for our 
lives our main concern is to feed and care for our cows. Everything we do 
revolves around our animals that is pressure that you will never understand. 
Getting the cows fed and feeling relived, only, then to have the burden of 
figuring out how you are going to cover your other bills like payroll, 
electric,fuel,insurance, environmental regulation fees and God help us if we 
have a blown tire on the tractor or a pump goes out. I do not wish the stress 
and pressure on any of you. Though I would like for you to walk in my shoes for 
a day...

We dairy families rallied on the Capitol steps in September and October . Only 
to be treated as a minor nuisance.  It was disheartening for so many but I am 
extremely proud that,  finally, California dairy farmers And 3 of our major 
co-ops stood together. 

I am disappointed in the actions of Secretary Ross and the CDFA. I would never 
expect you to work and not receive a fair wage for what you do. Yet you have sat 
back and watched the demise of so many dairy families knowing that we were 
receiving so much less than the rest of the nation. Shame on you CDFA for 
waiting so long and hoping it would fix itself as it has done in the past. Shame 
on you for not appreciating the California dairy families and all they have 
contributed to California.

In March of this year was the first I heard of the forming of a task force to 
fix our industry for the long term. I pray for its success.  As predicted,  It 
had not started off to be very fruitful. The one plus I see from there meeting 
is that Sec Ross could see for herself the true line in the sand between 
producers and processors.

There is a dark, sinister cloud that looms in our industry. I hope that we can 
work to change our system for a healthy dairy industry in the future and to rid 
the dark forces that shadow it.

Here we are at years end asking yet again, to be given some type of relief as a 
result of this hearing. I urge you to act swiftly. We are hanging on by a thread 
and for too many it is already too late.


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We we just had the second Sunday of Advent. Many Christmas celebrations have taken place while many of us remain busy preparing for our own. 

I spent a busy weekend working farmers markets. We did decide to go to the Cayucos Christmas Celebration on Saturday night after our markets. They have a tree lighting and businesses are open for shopping or for cheer along with carolers and carriage rides. 

As we were leaving there was a terrible accident right in front of where we were. (News report of Cayucos accident here) 

You could see it was bad. Two people down in the street. Tony went to see while I stayed in the car. He came back very upset and said a car hit two people that attempted to cross the street. The lady that hit them was very, very upset and said she hadn’t seen them. (No arrests were made). Just a terrible accident.

As we celebrate advent we prepare for the 2nd coming of Christ. Really, though, we never know when it is going to be our last day. This was a shocking reminder to me that we should be in constant preparation because it can come at any time.  

As we continue to prepare for Christmas take time to make the most of this Advent Season by preparing our way to the Lord.

“Be alert at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36) 

Sadly, the husband had died and the wife remains in critical condition. Tony and I have been praying for them and their family.  We think about how something like a simple evening stroll can be your last. 

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ImageIt’s official! The holidays are upon us. Thanksgiving is no longer it’s own special day it has become the official kick off of the holiday season(Even though holiday decor is out at Halloween). It doesn’t even seem like that special of a day any longer as it is drowned out by “Black Friday”.

I find it ironic that the day we are to be most grateful for the things that we have goes into the day in which we fight lines and parking for all of those great sales for things we think we can not live with out.

Don’t get me wrong. I have spent every Christmas holiday of my adult life in the same frenzy to have everything “perfect” for Christmas day. Often so stressed and tired that when in church on Christmas I can barely keep my eyes open.  I get it! I truly do.

I don’t know if it is because I am nearly 50 or if it is because I have been fighting these last four years to make our dairy work. I don’t know if it is because so much of my time is devoted to make my new business work. I continue to feel the negativity of the economy. I feel I have been fighting for a long time. I have been thrown losses and carry stress that life often bears.

The one solid and beautiful thing that has got me through these tough and trying times is my faith. Even with all of the difficulties, I know I have so, so much. It is the faith instilled in me that accepts what life brings to me is Gods plan.

My faith in God has given me the strength to carry on and keep up the fight. When having great abundance it is hard to appreciate those things that are truly important, family, friends, a new puppy :), health. When struggling you often find out what little you really need and what your have is so very, very sweet.

I was impressed by all of the 30 days of gratitude for the month of November from many of my Facebook friends. Also bloggers that made that commitment to share each and every day what they are grateful for.

So with that. Sunday, December 2 is the first Sunday of Advent. (Below is the Wikipidia definition of Advent). I would like honor this Advent Season through my blog by celebrating the birth of Jesus. Celebrating and honoring the Nativity. Also preparing and awaiting the second coming.

I hope that with this commitment to reflect on the Advent using my blog, like that of an advent calendar (though I can not promise my frequency, LOL) it will bring joyful anticipation of Christmas day and avoid the stress of the “material” part of the holiday and keep my eye on the real reason for the season, the birth of our Savior.

from Wikipedia
Advent is a season observed in many Western Christian churches as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas. The term is ananglicized version of the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming.” It is the beginning of the Western liturgical year and commences on Advent Sunday. The Eastern churches’equivalent of Advent is called the Nativity Fast, but it differs both in length and observances and does not begin the church year, which starts instead on September 1.[1] At least in the Roman Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, Moravian, Presbyterian and Methodist calendars, Advent starts on the fourth Sunday before December 25, which is the Sunday from November 27 toDecember 3 inclusive.[2]

Latin adventus is the translation of the Greek word parousia, commonly used in reference to the Second Coming of Christ. For Christians, the season of Advent anticipates the coming of Christ from two different perspectives. The season offers the opportunity to share in the ancient longing for the coming of the Messiah, and to be alert for his Second Coming.

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Women In Dairy Conference – November 7, 2012

Women in Dairy Pennsylvania – Penn State Extension

Last year we had the pleasure of meeting a wonderful group of dairy farmers from Pennsylvania that were visiting California dairy farms. Our dairy was one of their stops. Tony and I shared our dairy and our cheese plant and the debut our chocolate milk. I had the opportunity to speak to them and shared our struggles with the dairy business and operating a dairy products plant.

A couple months later I received an email asking if I would be interested in being the Keynote speaker at their Women in Dairy Conference being held in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

I reminded them that I was not a professional speaker. She said that it was the ladies from the tour that suggested me as the speaker. I was flattered and frightened at the same time.

They also asked if I could sit on a panel for blogging. That, I thought, no problem. I feel comfortable with blogging. I admit I do not know a lot of the technical things associated with blogging but I do feel comfortable sharing my message and I realize the importance of getting your story out and not let others speak for you. Especially in the dairy industry.

I agreed to do it. I admit, a bit reluctantly. It seemed so far away. I really didn’t know where I would be with my business. I didn’t know how I was going to manage to get away. I didn’t know how to put together a keynote address. I had seen plenty of wonderful speakers in my day. I was especially moved when I had seen Dr. Scott Vernon from Cal Poly SLO give his keynote address at the California Women in Agriculture convention earlier this year. I was challenged and I like that. I decided to do it!

Months before, and up to just before departure I was agonizing over my decision. One day it was, “how exciting” the next day was “what the heck did I get myself into”. I was worried about letting those ladies down. I knew it was too late to back out now. I dug my heels in and resolved to do my best.

I would hole myself up and write, rewrite, write and write some more. It is very rewarding putting your life on paper. I also created my first power point! Accepting challenges and learning new things, isn’t that what life is about?

Penn State Extension is an outreach program of the Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences. They provide educational programs for dairy producers, their employees, and advisers. (click here to see the great programs that they offer) They do a great job. They are professional and work very hard. It is very clear that they like what they do and they like working with these dairy farmers. I felt their devotion and respect for the dairy farmers that they served.

There is nothing easy about getting to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania from Fresno, California. I departed at night on November 5th. I arrived, after a couple of plane changes, in the morning of November 6th. It was a beautiful day. It was a beautiful place. I would not let my weary body get me down. I had to go explore. Explore I did. I want to thank Unique Limousine of Harrisburg, PA. I called them at the last minute. They asked what I was interested in seeing. Offered me a very fair price and picked me up right away to escort me on my adventure. I got to visit the Central Market in Lancaster, PA It is the oldest, continuously ran, farmers market in the nation. A perfect stop for me right? I enjoyed introducing myself to the farmers/vendors there and they were kind and warm. I even got a hug from a lovely Mennonite vendor. I was driven through the beautiful countryside enjoying the farms and got a glimpse of Amish life. I drove through Hershey, PA, the “sweetest town in America” and yes the street lights are the shape of Hershey’s kisses. The whole time, as I was enjoying this, I kept telling myself how much Tony would love to see this and vowed to come back and spend more time.

After my full day I got to enjoy dinner with some of the Penn State Extension team. We also went to a pre-conference reception that evening.  It was nice to have this “warm-up” because that moment was here and there was no turning back now.

After a surprisingly good nights sleep, that moment, that I had agonized for so long, was now here. I admit, I was glad that I was up first. When I was done I felt great relief and satisfaction. Mission accomplished! I had wonderful feed back and response and felt embraced. One very nice young lady said that I had “set the tone” for the conference. I was happy that I did not disappoint. These are hard-working dairy women. They are busy working on the farms, milking cows, raising calves and taking care of their families. I wanted it to be worth their time and I didn’t want to disappoint the ladies that suggested me for the job.

I was happy to share my life. I believe they realized, like I did, that even though we might run our dairies differently. We might have more or less cows to take care of. We share to same goals and struggles in our lives. At the end of the day our lives are consumed with the care and well-being of not only our families but our animals.

Sitting on the blogging panel was fun. It is always fun to share the rewards and challenges of blogging. I got to sit on the panel with Raechel Sattazahn. She did a great job sharing her blog, Go Beyond the Barn Blog please check it out. Her husband is a guest writer and they do a wonderful job sharing our agricultural story.  Lisa Perrin from Mid Atlantic Dairy Association did a great job as the panel facilitator.

I got to enjoy the rest of the day mingling, eating good food, and taking in the other breakout sessions. I met too many wonderful people to name individually. I  hope they know how much I appreciated my time with all of them.

During the day I had the opportunity to meet Jessica Armacost. She is the director of the Pennsylvania Dairy Princess Program and Promotion Service . They have a very impressive program. The girls are very active in promoting dairy in their state. She had with her two of her princesses, Callie and Heather. These two lovely princesses gave a beautiful “milk toast” at lunch. They attended the whole conference and were staying on for other appearances.  They were staying the night and asked if I would like to join them for dinner.

What a great evening. She drove us into the town of Harrisburg and indulged me in some picture-taking of this beautiful town. We ate at a local restaurant Appalachian Brewing Company. It was an evening of good food and good company.  I so appreciate their invitation. This was a perfect ending to a wonderful experience.

I want to thank Dr. Lisa Holden, associate professor, Penn State Dairy and Animal Science and Laurie Porter for their efforts in arranging this conference. They make it seem easy. Congratulations to you both and everyone who made this day the success that is was.

I made it back home without delay. I was comforted to know that my cheese/milk and dairy business ran just fine without me. Tara and Tony do a great job and did it all themselves without complaint. It is I, that do not know what I would do without them. Thank you both for “holding down the fort”. I love you both.

Again, Pennsylvania Women in Dairy and Penn State Extension, my deepest gratitude for this opportunity. Until we meet again….

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Hello everyone, I am sorry for my delay in posting from our rally on Oct 18 2012. It had been my hope that some miracle would have happened and we would be onto some concrete level ground and would have a solution. The “Polly Anna” in me was hoping for a “Kumbaya” moment and we would have quick resolve.

On October 18, 2012 we again left from Goshen at about 630 am on a beautiful bus provided by Western Milling and Novus International (allied industry helping us in our plight). I am very grateful for there support and financial aid to provide this transportation. It was a great way to travel, communicate, laugh, share our angst. It was fun. It was nice to not have to fight the traffic and high fuel prices it was also very comfortable and spacious with a wonderful driver. We were in good hands.

We had a wonderful turnout at the rally. About the same numbers as the first rally but this time was many, many different faces.

There were some great speakers that represented dairy families in California. (Click on the link to see)

 Great speakers shared their stories 

Two of my favorite people spoke too, Mary Cameron and Mario Simoes Sr.

They had and open forum in which I went up to share with the group that Secretary Ross had called me the night before. (She wanted to let me and others know that they were getting our phone messages, emails, and faxes). She had mentioned that the task force was meeting and she was hoping to get some immediate relief for dairy producers.  (My words to the rally folks click here)

I felt hopeful that this rally would impact not only the Secretary and the CDFA but also be heard by the processors who have been fighting any change we have requested to be made. They are feeling the impact of less milk, yet they continue to dig in their heels and expect for us to go back to our old ways.

I even sent a letter to one of the task force members, Sue Taylor, from Leprino Foods. You can view this letter on the website Rally For California Families

She did not even have the graciousness to email me back a response. Frustrating to be so ignored while my quality milk arrives to them daily and makes them millions of dollars. I was reaching out and hoping for some unity….yeah right….”Polly Anna” disappointed again.

The task force did meet on Oct 23 and 24th. Below is Western United Dairymen’s well written account of the two days. I could not help but feel that possibly Secretary Karen Ross was, like I, feeling a little “Polly Anna” in thinking that they might be able to agree on something. I am glad she witnessed for herself how stubborn and uncaring the processors are. Like spoiled children, they have been used to getting their way. She saw the dairymen in that meeting standing together, standing as one. She witnessed the line in the sand. She witnessed that the processors do not care about the producers. Their only care is their profits because of cheap milk and it doesn’t matter that it is at the demise of generations of California dairy families.

The processors feathers are so ruffled they have actually lashed out at Milk Producers Council (Letter from DIC to MPC).

They have the nerve to tell us that they are protecting us from ourselves. They act as if we purposely oversupply the milk. They say it’s all our fault. I say to them….take care of yourselves. Buy only the milk you need and pay us a fair price. If we oversupply it then our co-ops with their base limits will handle it with those that are overproduction. How dare they be so arrogant and treat us like naughty children who do not know how to play nice. Shame on them.

The bright spot of these two days was the fact that Secretary Karen Ross stated that she is expecting a petition for a hearing (as she states in the below letter). She promises to handle it expeditiously. As I am writing this I have not had confirmation of that filing but I did receive a phone call from our DFA Western Area Chairman George Mertens, stating that a petition was being drafted (by DFA, CDI, and LOL) adjusting the 4b price to be in alignment with the Federal 3 price. The petition will be filed by Dairy Farmers of America, California Dairies, Inc, and Land O’Lakes. These are our three major co-ops in California and they are joining together.

I am happy to say that I believe this is moving in a positive direction and uniting is what we need as dairy men and cooperatives. This has been our trouble and has been a determent in our industry for too long. Let us just hope that she does handle this quickly and we dairy farmers can be in “sound economic relationship” with the rest of the nation.

Also Western United’s board members directed staff to craft language to make the change and organize bipartisan support in Sacramento for the legislation for our 4b price to be in alignment. So basically if CDFA can’t do it then let legislation step in. Read more here

Time though, is money…so hopefully the quickest solution for us would be when she receives the petition she will act as quick as the law allows and we can see some relief soon…so many of us depend on it.

Group meets to address immediate and long-term challenges facing the state’s dairy industry. State ag secretary is “impressed by the progress made.”

Source: Western United Dairymen Weekly Update

California’s newly formed 28-member Dairy Future Task Force — composed of dairy producers, processors and cooperatives — held its first meeting this week to address immediate and long-term challenges facing the state’s dairy industry.

CDFA Secretary Karen Ross announced the panel’s creation earlier this summer, after hearing a petition by producer groups to adjust the state’s whey factor in Class 4b minimum milk pricing formula. The action came in the face of skyrocketing drought-related feed costs, forcing many producers into bankruptcy.


California Dairy Future Task Force members
David Ahlem, Hilmar
Joey Airoso, Tipton
Joe Augusto, Visalia
Tom Barcellos, Tipton
Marcus Benedetti, Petaluma
Ben Curti, Tulare
Rochelle De Groot, Hanford
Joe DeHoog, Ontario
Lucas Deniz, Petaluma
Eric Erba, Visalia
Frank Fereira, Red Bluff
Mike Gallo, Atwater
Dino Giacomazzi, Hanford
Dominic Grossi, Novato
Scott Hofferber, San Bernardino
Dennis Leonardi, Ferndale
Steve Maddox, Riverdale
J.T. Maldonado, Hanford
Tony Mendes, Riverdale
George Mertens, Sonoma
Rick Michel, Waterford
John Oostdam, San Jacinto
Brian Pacheco, Kerman
Ray Souza, Turlock
Sue Taylor, Denver
Arlan Van Leeuwen, Oakdale
Sybrand Vander Dussen, Chino
Simon Vander Woude, Merced


Secretary Ross issued a statement following the task force’s meeting: “The Dairy Future Task Force is made up of dairy producers, processors and cooperatives asked to come together to find common ground upon which they can build a new, more stable and contemporary path for the dairy industry. The first session, held October 23-24, provided an opportunity to agree on a common fact base and develop a sense of what the group wants to accomplish in the coming months. The task force achieved alignment around a shared vision for the future of the California dairy industry, which is a significant accomplishment and a key step toward long-term success. The initial session was designed to set the stage for the group to identify and build strategic pillars that will result in a robust, profitable, demand-driven dairy industry. I was impressed by the progress made and look forward to continuing this important work. I commend the group’s members for embracing their task and the difficult but critical discussions it entails.

“Based on the discussion of concepts for potential short-term solutions, CDFA anticipates receiving a petition shortly and will evaluate it on an expedited basis. I very much look forward to working with the talented and passionate producers and processors who are willing to provide leadership to this very important sector of the agricultural community.”

In a background statement issued by CDFA, the department said the California Milk Advisory Board (CMAB) will have administrative oversight of the task force. Meetings will not be open to the public to “eliminate public posturing, hyperbole, and positioning for political gain.”

According to the background information, task force members were invited as individuals–not as representatives of associations or other organizations. There will be “significant public vetting of various stages of the task force’s work, which will strive to create consensus around short- and long-term solutions.”

The CDFA noted that several years ago CMAB commissioned a study which provided concepts for long-term sustainability and industry growth for the California dairy industry. That report, by global management consultant McKinsey and Company, is serving as a foundation for discussions on long-term solutions.

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