Tonight for Farm Bureau we had the privilege to visit the Kerr Dairy farm in Buckeye, Az. Sine is our state women’s chair. She and her husband Bill are the second generation of the family at the dairy. Their son,Wes, gave us a nice tour. We got to hang out with the “girls” and pet babies. We learned several things:
*the milking machines let go of suction automatically when they sense the cow’s udder is close to empty – contrary to the myth going around that dairy cows are hooked up to machines sucking away until their udders bleed
*antibiotic use is only when the cows are sick – once the antibiotics are clear of the cows system she returns to the herd. At organic dairies a cow thats sick is culled for butcher as antibiotic use is prohibited altogether. How many of us go to the doctor and get upset when we don’t get an antibiotic when we’re sick?
*babies go to the barn for the first month of their life….a nice covered barn where they have their own pen with plenty of room to move, get water and feed free choice and bottles twice a day. The pen floor is lifted of the barn floor so they aren’t laying in their own poop.
*All the pens are kept dry as possible to reduce smell, facilitate manure management, and improve cow health. Being Az, the pens stay pretty dry!
*Holsteins can come in red too!
*A2 milk – I asked Wes about this issue. He is quite knowledgeable about his cattle’s genetics and this is what he said…
A1 milk comes from a genetic variation in European breeds. A2 is a recessive gene. This is similar to some folks having blue eyes. A1 milk is not a health hazard or cause of any disease. Some folks with digestive needs do have an easier time digesting A2 milk. A2 is not currently available in the US from US herds but is imported from Australia at this time. The Kerr’s are using bulls that have been found to be A2-A2 in response to the possibility of consumers asking for A2 certified milk.
In typical neighborly farmer fashion, we enjoyed some pizza and fellowship after the tour. Thank you to the Kerr family for sharing your farm story, your home, and your passion for God’s creation.