Intern Ryan’s First Trip to the Dairy Farm

by guest blogger Ryan Brebberman, a dietetic intern at Purdue University

Since I grew up around farming and have family members who farm, you would’ve thought I’d seen a dairy cow by now. However, before visiting Kelsay Farms I hadn’t–and I have to say touring the farm was an amazing learning experience.

Kelsay Farms is family owned and operated. The family has been dairy farming for many generations, so they really know what they are doing. They also treat their cows really well, including making sure they get enough nutritious feed, keeping them cool during these hot summer months, and making sure they stay as healthy as possible so they can continue to provide us all with delicious milk. While we were there we even got to see a calf who had been born only a couple hours earlier. Needless to say she was a little camera shy!

So here’s a couple of quick facts that I learned from my experience:

cows in an airy barn
• On average one dairy cow produces about 8 gallons of milk a day!
• Per milking, which happens 3 times a day, a cow spends only about 5-6 minutes actually being milked.
• Before and after milking, the cow’s udders are sprayed with an iodine solution to kill off bacteria from getting into the milk and to protect the cow from infection.
• A dairy cow typically weights around 1500 lbs and standing next them really makes you feel small!

Visiting Kelsay Farms helped reinforce the fact that farmers treat their dairy cows and other livestock well and create a good life for their animals. I strongly encourage anyone who doesn’t believe this to visit one of the many dairy farms in Indiana (or any type of farm for that matter!) and meet some of the truly great people who help feed us all. Many of us take having enough food for granted and don’t ever really think about or even know how food gets to our plates. Being able to see where milk begins on its journey to the consumer gave me a deeper appreciation of not only the cows whose milk I drink but also for the incredible people who work hard every single day to make sure that glass of milk gets to my table.