Learn the facts about dairy farming by clicking common questions below. Dairy farm facts are important to know!
Dairy farmers work hard every single day to make sure their cows are as comfortable as possible! Cows always have access to fresh food and water and a dry place to lie down. During the summer, fans and misters keep cows cool and in the winter, calf jackets keep calves warm and barns provide shelter for cows from the heat, cold and snow.
Cows can eat all sorts of things that humans can’t – many are byproducts of other industries that cows help keep out of landfills! Cotton seeds, citrus pulp, distiller’s grains from alcohol production, and more. Cows also eat corn silage, which is the entire corn plant ground up, and alfalfa, hay and other crops. Learn more.
No! It’s important to know that there are no antibiotics in the milk you drink. But that doesn’t mean dairy farmers don’t care for sick cows. Just like humans, cows sometimes get sick and need medicine. That cow’s milk is collected separately and discarded until it tests free of antibiotics. All milk is tested for antibiotics before it is ever processed to ensure antibiotics stay out of the milk supply.
No! Dairy farmers follow stringent government standards ensure that all milk – whether organic or regular – is safe, wholesome and nutritious.
Bovine somatotropin (bST) is a hormone that occurs naturally in all cows. Its physiological function is to help young cattle grow, and adult cows to produce milk. A small amount of bST is naturally present in all milk, including organic milk.
A synthesized copy of bST – recombinant bovine somatotropin (rbST) – is available for farmers who choose to use the hormone as a farm management tool to boost their herd’s milk production. Health authorities such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) have determined that milk from cows treated with rbST is both nutritious and safe.
Still, most of the milk found at the grocery store is from cows not treated with rBST. This milk is often labeled as such.
Dairy cows are a dairy farmer’s first priority. Whether it’s providing regular veterinarian visits, specially formulated diets or ensuring cows are comfortable, dairy farmers take excellent care of their animals. Learn more about dairy cow care here.
Farmers also participate in a program called The Farmers Assuring Responsible Management program, or FARM, which works with dairy farmers, cooperatives and processors to show consumers that the dairy industry is taking the best care of cows and the environment, producing safe, wholesome milk, and adhering to the highest standards of workforce development. Created by the National Milk Producers Federation in partnership with national dairy checkoff, Dairy Management Inc., FARM demonstrates that U.S. dairy farmers are committed to producing the best milk with integrity. All dairy producers are required to participate in the FARM program to sell their milk to cooperatives and processors. Learn more about FARM here.