Hello everyone! I thought that I would post a Myth vs Fact about milk and dairy farms. Primarily myths regarding Progressive dairy farms (aka Conventional)
Especially as there is a shortage of “Organic” milk availability. I have stated before and will again that I support my fellow organic dairy farmers. They do a terrific job with the method of farming that they chose. I just want it to be understood among all of the media mumbo jumbo regarding progressive farming.
As a progressive farmer I choose this method of farming primarily because as an organic dairy I am unable to use antibiotics to treat my seriously ill animals. These antibiotics are the same medicines that I took when I had a breast infection while I was best feeding. Or the same medicine I gave my children when they had infections that became serious. Morally, I have an issue with not being able to treat my cows as I would myself or my children and risk the loss of an animal when there are methods in which to save them.
“MILK IS MILK”
Myth: All milk contains antibiotics, except organic.
Fact: All milk is carefully tested for antibiotics. Any milk that tests positive is disposed of immediately, and does not enter into the food supply.
- Sometimes it’s necessary for farmers to treat cows with antibiotics when they are ill, just as humans sometimes need medication when they are sick.
- All milk is strictly tested for antibiotics on the farm and processing plant. Any milk that tests positive is disposed of immediately and does not get into the food supply.
- The U.S. dairy industry conducts more than 3.3 million tests each year on all milk entering dairy plants to ensure that antibiotics are kept out of the milk supply. According to the most recent U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) data, less than one tanker in 3,000 tests positive for any animal drug residues, including antibiotics. In those rare cases, any milk that tests positive is disposed of immediately and does not get into the food supply.
- The milk testing system provides dairy farmers strong incentives to keep their milk free of antibiotics. Any milk that tests positive for antibiotics is immediately dumped. In such cases, the farmer responsible for the milk is required to pay for the full tanker of milk.
- Milk and dairy products are among the most stringently regulated foods in this country.
Myth: Today’s dairy cow is treated like nothing more than a milk machine.
Fact: Dairy cows must be healthy and well cared for in order to produce pure, wholesome milk.
- Farmers employ professional nutritionists to develop a scientifically formulated, balanced and nutritious diet for their cows. Diets include hay, grains, protein sources, and vitamins and minerals.
- Dairy cows receive regular veterinary care, including periodic check-ups, preventative vaccinations and prompt treatment of illness.
- The dairy industry has in place a number of initiatives that demonstrate commitment to animal well-being. The National Dairy FARM Program™ is a nationwide, verifiable program that addresses animal well-being. Third-party verification ensures the validity and the integrity of the program to our customers and consumers.
- Dairy farmers depend on healthy cows for their livelihood.
Myth: The reason the price of milk is going up in the grocery store is so dairy farmers can get rich.
- Dairy farmers only receive about 30 cents of every dollar.
- Market forces, like demand, impact the price of milk at the grocery store,
- Farmers are seeing a lot of cost increases in producing milk, including feed and transportation. These cost increases have left slim margins for dairy farmers in recent years.
Fact: Price increases for dairy, and all foods, beverages and other goods, are tied to dramatic increases in energy/fuel, distribution, transportation, feed, and supply costs.
Myth: Modern dairy farmers don’t practice sustainable agriculture.
Fact: Dairy farmers depend on land, air and water as part of their livelihood.
- Dairy farms must meet standards for manure storage, handling and recycling per guidelines from state and federal agencies. Once dried, manure is reused as comfortable animal bedding, composted for local garden centers and nurseries, or spread on fields to grow healthy crops, thereby reducing the need for commercial fertilizers.
- Dairy farms must follow strict state and local water quality regulations. Dairy farmers use water responsibly in their milking parlors, in water storage and in recycling.
- Constant innovation on dairy farms has led to widespread adoption of best management practices, and U.S. dairy farms are more efficient today than ever before. According to Cornell University, the dairy industry has reduced the carbon footprint of its products by 63 percent over the past 60 years, thanks to improvements in animal genetics, feeding rations, animal health programs, cow comfort and overall farm management practices. In fact, more milk is produced today with only 9 million cows than with 26 million cows in 1944.
- Dairy is one of the most regulated and inspected industries in agriculture. Dairy farms must abide by federal, state and local clean water laws that regulate manure application on cropland, and government agencies regularly inspect the water on dairy farms. Further, state agencies have rigorous processes for granting permits to new and expanding dairy farms.
- Dairy farmers live and work on their farms, so they understand the importance of protecting our natural resources, so that it will be there for future generations.