Awesome Facts I Learned On a Dairy Farm
This post was written by Jennifer Cronkright, Fuel Up to Play 60 Program Advisor at Dryden Community Schools.
Have you ever seen a mixer that a giant would use? Did you know milk could drop in temperature in seconds? Did you know that cows are super curious about people?
I have visited many farms, and my grandparents owned a chicken farm, but seeing a dairy farm was the highlight of my year. I visited the Goma Dairy Farm in Sanilac County with our Fuel Up to Play 60 team, parents and school staff on May 3, 2019. Everyone was amazed with what we learned and the curiosity cows have for people. We saw firsthand the hard work dairy farm families do to care for their cows to get good quality milk.
Dairy farms have cows who need to eat—and they eat a lot! Dairy cows need lots of nutrients to ensure the milk they produce is high quality and the cow is happy and healthy at the same time. When our team arrived at Goma Dairy, we discovered the different kinds of grain and feed that is given to cows, including cotton. A giant mixer moved by a truck creates the feed mixture for the cows.
Dryden students and staff see and touch cottonseed, which goes into cow feed.
Our group also toured a building where the milk is cooled, tested and then transported. When a cow is milked, all the equipment is cleaned and sterilized, and the dairy workers make sure the cow is comfortable. The dairy workers put a mix of lotion and a small amount of iodine on the cows’ udders, so everything stays clean and the cow stays healthy.
The dairy farm has a cooling system that cools the milk from the cows in about four seconds, which is amazing! The milk is then tested for quality and impurities and taken by a milk truck to a processor where it is used for creams and butters.
The best and most important part of our trip was the cows! Cows are super curious and they made us feel like we were a big deal. Cows are pretty amazing animals; they are very social and do not like to be alone. The cows we met were trying hard to get a look at all of us. If we walked up to them they got a little spooked, but came back to get a second look.
We even met some young cows who were about two and three years old. We learned that the Goma Dairy Farm partners with a neighboring farm to take care of the calves until they are older.
This visit was the highlight of the year for the Dryden Fuel Up to Play 60 team. The students loved the trip and we learned so much. The amazement our students displayed on this visit was just wonderful, and we can’t thank Michigan’s Dairy Farmers and United Dairy Industry of Michigan enough for planning this visit.
Michigan Dairy Farmer Gertie Van Den Goor who owns the Goma Dairy farm was fantastic and led our tour so students understood where their dairy foods come from and how a dairy farm runs. I recommend visiting a dairy farm to understand how the dairy industry is helping farmers maintain a safe environment for their cows and workers and providing nutritious dairy products for everyone to enjoy.