What’s different about dairy?

By Katie Bedgood

A dairy cow is a type of cattle that is bred for their ability to produce large amounts of milk. There are 7 different breeds of dairy cow which are Holstein, Jersey, Brown Swiss, Guernsey, Ayrshire, Milking Shorthorn, and red and white Holstein. The dairy industry has been a part of agriculture for thousands of years.

Throughout the years of dairy farming, we have evolved in the ways we produce milk. We have figured out ways for cows to produce more milk to keep up with the growing population. Cows are like humans; they only produce milk after they give birth so farmers have the cows have a calf once a year so they will keep producing milk.

Many people believe that there are antibiotics in the cows which travel to the milk but that is not true. A farmer only gives cows antibiotics when the cow is sick and the milk from the cow is discarded until the milk is tested and tested negative for antibiotics. Milk also does not have any added hormones. But milk contains a natural hormone that comes from the cows called Bovine Somatotropin (bST). Cows make this hormone to help young cattle grow and help adult cows produce milk. You can also get (rbST) which is recombinant somatotropin. Farmers use this as a farm management tool to boost a herd’s milk production.

The food and drug administration (FDA) have declared the (rbST) safe and nutritious. Also, if milk does have (rbST) it should be labeled as such.

People often think dairy cows are mistreated but the cows are a dairy farmers first priority. Dairy farmers make sure the cows have vet visits, a healthy diet, and a comfortable place to stay.

Lastly farmers participate in a program called FARM which stands for farmers assuring responsible management program. The FARM program works with farmers, cooperatives, and processors to show consumers that the dairy industry is taking good care of the cows, environment, and providing the best quality milk.