By Emily Losin & Erin Rusher (Ball State University Dietetic Interns)
Both of us started our internship with the American Dairy Association Indiana together. We knew that with the Indianapolis 500 coming up, we would be busy. After the hustle and bustle subsided, we were able to travel to Whiteland, Indiana with Jackie to visit Kelsay Farms. Who knew the dietetic internship would land us on a dairy farm with 500 cows.
I grew up in a small, rural community known as Rockville, Indiana (I’m on the left in the picture). Farms were definitely in my line of vision nearly 24/7 as a child. However, I had never been to a dairy farm specifically. When we pulled up, it was refreshing and comforting to see the wide open space and the fields. I was reminded that I live in Indiana, and this is a place I call home.
Honestly, I used to be afraid of cows. All it took was one bad experience at the county fair. A cow was loose and on a rampage while I was standing in the line of fire nearly being knocked on my rear-end! Ever since, I have never been within 10 feet of them. After visiting the Kelsay’s, I found that dairy cows are so calm!
The girls were in a routine for milking in the parlor, and it was amazing to see how comfortable they were with each other and their surroundings. I also witnessed the sanitary conditions. TRUTH: The milk is NEVER touched by human hands!
When I (Erin) started my first round of dietetic rotations at the American Dairy Association Indiana, I had no idea what to expect and was honestly a bit nervous. Turns out I had no need to worry as the Council had all sorts of exciting new experiences planned for me, including a trip to a dairy farm! In my 35 years, I have never set foot on a farm of any kind as I grew up in a relatively urban community. My only knowledge of farm life was through hear-say (good and bad).
I was really looking forward to finding out the truth on my own. The truth is the dairy farm is actually a relatively clean, relaxing and happy place to be for the staff and the cows. I was impressed by how much the farmers care about their cows.
They provide waterbeds for the cows to lie on, fresh air 24/7 and as much food as they want. Here is a little secret about me: I absolutely love baby farm animals and always have. I was so excited to see the 2 brand new babies in the barn, so cute!!
All in all, these beautiful ladies were treated like royalty! Man, what a way to be treated. Pshh.. lucky heifers!