Gratitude Journal: the Dairy Month Lecture Series

As we wrap up Dairy Month, the 2019 Dairy Month Lecture Series is also coming to a close.

The Dairy Month Lecture Series has been my pet project for the last three years.

I have basically become a professional eavesdropper, listening for any mention of milk, cheese, butter, and dairy farms – taking mental notes on what people believe, how they feel, and what they know. Agriculture is one of the few industries that almost nobody has any background in, but everyone has an opinion on. When’s the last time you took a flight and sent notes to critique the pilot on his take off and landing?

Where everyone used to have a cow and a garden, those numbers are dwindling, and with it, a connection to food. Today, farm and ranch families comprise just 2 percent of the U.S. population.

There are many many misconceptions about dairy. But those are the types of things that are easy to prove wrong.  What really drives me is the lack of connection and understanding to the big picture.

When we talk about chemical use on fields, in addition to speaking about environmental concerns, we should also be talking about: how few acres a farmer has, how volatile the weather in a changing climate can be, how fuel and equipment costs can be reduced, how weeds are terrible nutrition for cows, how one lost acre could be the difference of life and death of a farm business. When we talk about milk, in addition to speaking about animal care, we should also be talking about: what country alternative milks come from, how much processing alternative milks take, the natural occurring nutrients in cow’s milk, and the nutritional value of these options.

So we talked about it. The Dairy Month Lecture Series brought in experts from all fields of dairy to take a lazer focus on a complex industry. 

Sincerest thanks to Dave Patteson from Lely Robotics Vermont & Albany, Cathy Shugg from Nutrien Ag Solutions, Lee Halasz from Kestrel Land Trust, Sue Mazrolle, Registered Dietitian, Dr. Caroline Barstow from Hess McWilliams Veterinary Services, Nicole Galambos from Vanguard Renewable Energy, Julie Knodler from Agri-Mark Cabot Cooperative, and Massachusetts State Senator, Jo Comerford for taking the time to tour our farm with me, speak to the public about what you do, and give us all a little more in depth knowledge about our food system.

Every industry is more complex and connected than we think.

Thank you to the participants who toured the farm for the Dairy Month Lecture Series. I realize that this programming is quite niche, but also unique!  Thanks for taking the time to learn more about my family dairy farm and the industry as a whole. We need more local AGvocates and we’re glad to have you in our community!

This programming has helped me better connect with my larger dairy community and I’ve been very lucky to have the support of the experts who have come to talk. That said, the Dairy Month Lecture Series will take either a break or a new form next Dairy Month.  Thanks to all for another outstanding Dairy Month!

 

 

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