Guest blogger, Brooke Emery, is the 2018-2019 Pennsylvania Dairy Princess
When I was little, my parents would always ask me what I was going to ask Santa to bring me on Christmas. Every year my answer always seemed to be the same: “I want Santa to bring me baby goats, baby rabbits, baby lambs, baby pigs and baby cows!”
I had been raised on the farm, and the only thing I could picture on Christmas morning was running down to the barn and finding a new animal to raise and love. One Christmas morning, my wish came true. I woke up and underneath our Christmas tree was a calf bottle filled with milk!
I threw on my boots and went running out the door, straight to the barn. There, to my surprise, was a calf! She was everything I had always wanted (and what I still want 13 years later!)
This memory plays through my head every Christmas when I think about everything that I am thankful for. Christmas is a time of giving, and this year especially, I have been thinking about how much dairy farmers give to us. As I prepare myself to serve the dairy industry as the Pennsylvania Dairy Princess, I think about how many sacrifices dairy farmers make every single day, but especially around the holidays.
Dairy farmers work hard every day of the year to provide our families with high-quality dairy foods. Part of that daily hard work is the care of cows. Dairy farmers work tirelessly to guarantee that their cows are comfortable and well taken care of.
Some of the things that farmers do to care for their cows include having soft bedding to lay on, trimming their hooves, routine herd checks and having fresh water and nutritious feed available at all times.
Did you know that some dairy cows get to sleep on waterbeds? That’s right, waterbeds! You can catch these cows laying down chewing their cud on their comfortable waterbeds. Some cows even get comfortable beds made of sawdust or beds made of sand. (That’s like getting to lay on the beach, and who wouldn’t love that?) By having a comfortable bed for the cows to lay, ensures that the cows are comfortable and stress free.
Another way dairy farmers care for their cows is by having a veterinarian come to perform routine herd checks. The veterinarian comes and gives vaccines, checks for pregnancies, and performs a routine check-up. All to help ensure that the cows are healthy and living their best life.
Other ways that farmers ensure that their cows are comfortable is by providing their living areas with fans, back scratchers, curtains and misters. Dairy cows like to stay cool, so by providing them with giant ceiling fans, curtains to ensure shade and even misters that cows can walk by, helps to keep them cool and comfortable. When the cows are not laying down or eating, you can probably find them waiting in line for a back scratch. This giant brush allows cows to walk by and get that pesky itch and it sure feels good!
I am so thankful that I have the honor to represent Pennsylvania’s dairy industry in addition to my team this year. I have the chance to give thanks to the farmers who work hard every single day. Without dairy farmers, I would have never had the chance to wake up on Christmas morning with a calf waiting for me in my barn.
Dairy farmers sacrifice sitting in their warm and cozy houses on Christmas morning to go and care for their cows so that their cows can stay on the same schedule and same routine so that the cows can produce nature’s most nearly perfect beverage – milk!
This Christmas season and the rest of the year, I hope you will thank your dairy farmers who work long hours from sunup to sundown to provide you with a nutritious and delicious dairy product. Be sure to put out a nice cold glass of REAL milk for Santa this year! I hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy Moo Year!