I’m wearing a hospital gown, about to have surgery. The last thing on my mind is work.
The pre-op nurse walks into my room. We cover the routine stuff and talk about what to expect afterward. That’s when she asks what I do for work. I tell her that I work for dairy farmers, promoting milk and other dairy products. “I’m a dairy farmer!” she says, much to my surprise.
We had never met, but here I am with my employer. The pre-op nurse is one of the 12,000 dairy farmers for whom I work. Nursing is her part-time job. She also works helping her husband on their certified organic dairy farm in Central New York, making organic milk. She shows me pictures and tells me about her farm. That’s when our conversation turns to organic and conventional milk.
Is organic milk better for me and my family than conventional milk?
Organic and conventional milk are equally nutritious and wholesome. Don’t take my word for it. Check the nutrition label. You’ll see every 8-ounce serving has the same amount of nine essential nutrients, including calcium, vitamin D and potassium. And it’s the real deal, made from cow’s milk, unlike milk alternatives.
What is different about organic milk?
“Organic” simply refers to on-farm practices… how the land and animals are cared for. All organic and conventional milk made in the United States must adhere to the same strict federal standards for quality, purity and sanitation.
The USDA seal ensures that the milk comes from dairy farms where …
- Cows are exclusively given food grown without the use of pesticides or commercial fertilizers.
- Cows are given periodic access to pasture.
- Cows are not treated with supplemental hormones.
- Cows have not been given certain medications to treat illnesses
High quality milk starts with cows
Whether an organic farm or a conventional farm, keeping cows comfortable is a priority for all dairy farmers. After all, farmers depend on cows for their livelihood.
Are there antibiotics in milk?
There are no antibiotics in organic and conventional milk sold for consumption. All milk is rigorously tested for safety. Every tank of raw milk is checked for antibiotic residue before milk gets processed. No matter if it is on the label or not, all milk is antibiotic-free.
Even well-cared-for animals get sick now and then. Dairy farmers work with veterinarians to make sure the animals get proper treatment. If a cow is sick and needs medicine, that milk is not used.
My conversation with the dairy-farmer pre-op nurse was eye-opening. It reminded me of the many hats dairy farmers wear to sustain their business. That farmers often must step off the farm to support their family. Declining milk prices aren’t helping matters. Whether farmers produce organic or regular milk, dairy farming is their passion. It’s why they’re in the business, and care for their land and animals. It’s because of their dedication and hard work, their commitment to producing a wholesome product, that I continue to buy three gallons of milk a week …organic and conventional milk, whatever I happen to get my hands on… not to mention other dairy products.
American Dairy Association North East is one of 16 state and regional promotion organizations working under the umbrella of the United Dairy Industry Association. It is the local affiliate of the National Dairy Council®, which has been conducting nutrition education and nutrition research programs since 1915. For more information, visit www.americandairy.com.