The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) back in 2001 established June 1 as World Milk Day, “which celebrates the important contributions of the dairy sector to sustainability, economic development, livelihoods and nutrition.”
Learn more at the website for World Milk Day and check out #WorldMilkDay and #EnjoyDairy on social media.
Quite a few Global Farmer Network members in various countries are involed with dairy whether on a small or large scale basis – so it seemed a quite opportune time to gather some thoughts from a few GFN folks responding to the question:
What gets you excited about being part of the dairy industry, producing milk for your family and the rest of us?
Mexico – Georgina Gutierrez
What gets me excited about being part of the dairy community is just that: being a community that’s reponsible of taking care of our cows that produce amazing milk; wholesome, nutritious and delicious milk that’s part of our daily lives, in a tall glass at any time of the day, in our cereal and coffee in the morning, in the pizza and ice cream we share with our friends and family, in our favourite snacks while watching sports and movies…
Everybody needs high quality protein, what better way to get it than milk that also provides other essential nutrients.
Ireland – Cheryl Hazenberg
The dairy industry is exciting because every day we witness cows turning common grass into delicious, nutritious milk. They truely are amazing creatures to take something completely unpalatable to humans and create one of the most nutritious and delicious food products. As dairy farmers, being able to produce a product that is packed with goodness and requires very little processing is a wonderful thing.
Also, the constant evolving nature of the dairy industry (and farming in general) makes it an exciting industry to be part of. You never know what is going to happen over the course of the day on the farm, plus the world forces which have a direct affect on our business. All combined with the ever-evolving technology make it a great time to be dairy farmers.
New Zealand – Craige Mackenzie
Being able to provide nourishment to families around the world with our wonderful natural milk produced on a sustainable pasture fed system. And at the same time being totally connected to nature through our work every day and helping those who live and work with us flourish also.
Ukraine – Kees Huizinga
At the moment we are milking 1300 cows three times a day. We build a modern, professional, big dairy with an eighty stand rotary parlour. The plan is to expand to 3100 miking cows plus young stock depending on financing.
It is exciting to build such a farm more or less from scratch but whether it is wise to do so… time will tell.
I think with current milk prices and heavy financial burden it would have been wiser, less stressfull and less exciting to put the money on a Ukrainian bank.
When we took over that farm (3000 hectares of land and the dairy farm) there were 250 milking cows, producing 4 liters per cow per day and there were working 50 people.
The land we farm belongs to the people from the village and we are renting it from them. The 50 people working on the dairy farm rented their land out to us as well.
Back then it would have been the smartest to sell the cows, fire the people and forget about it. But as a form of social responsibility we kept the dairy farm with its workers and from there we expanded.
Through the dairy we try (hope) to add value to our arable farm, use the manure on our fields and create jobs for the local people.
Besides this, together with our dairy assocation (http://avm-ua.org/uk) we try to support the development of modern dairy farms in Ukraine and hopefully be a major exporter of high quality dairy products to the rest of the world.
Vermont, United States – Joanna Lidback
I don’t think it can be summed in one sentence but rather several thoughts that pass through during the busyness of the days (and nights!).
- We love caring for our cows and calves. There’s a certain satisfaction knowing that our girls are fed, cleaned, and cared for. The daily ritual of barn chores establishes a sense of duty and builds a bond between us – both the people and the cattle.
- We have a certain pride in the product we make – fresh, nutrient-dense milk, and we strive for high quality and high butterfat and protein-yielding hundredweights. I love that milk is such a big part of a healthy diet and that it’s easy on the budget for folks.
- I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention how excited we are to be raising our family on the farm. They will have first-hand knowledge and experience of the hard work and dedication that goes into producing food for our community, and also the rewards, too. Whether it’s a snuggle with a brand new baby calf or the smell of fresh cut hay, they will get to feel it.