Which Farmer Cares? Large, Small, Organic, and Who Cares About Bull Calves?

This post is not about debating safety/efficacy/research on GMOs, hormones, or antibiotics, but rather conveying that whatever you pick out in the grocery store CAME FROM A FARMER THAT CARED.  Fear-marketing, (which essentially implies that food produced in other methods is not safe or animals are not cared for), has become increasingly common in our world.  This form of advertising does not belong in the food industry, and needs some de-bunking.  Agriculture of all types is needed to make the world go ’round, and our stomachs full!  So here are some examples from all sorts of farms on how FARMERS CARE.


Carleigh Wright, of The Wright Place LLC in Maine, filled me in on her family’s operation.  They milk 700 cows, and have 1400 animals on the farm at any given time!  Care is very detailed, and I can only include some of what she told me!  Everyone has a very specific task; calf care, feeding, field work, book keeping, milking, cow care, parlor maintenance, etc.  Cows need consistency, and that stems from who cares for them.  The Wright Place LLC are very open about all the detailed processes on the farm of caring for cows!

The size of the farm doesn’t mean that individual care lacks, however.  There is a hospital pen, a vet comes once a week for routine checks, and a hoof trimmer comes weekly for those great pedicures!  All the calves get names – and they are often looking for help naming them on their Facebook page, like this cutie here!

(Courtesy of The Wright Place LLC)


Lee Ann Perez and her family operate a farm store, One Ash Farm and Dairy Supply, in South Carolina, and raise a few animals as well.  Lee Ann talks about their interaction and how the animals provide for their calf-rearing business:

“When I think about One Ash Farm and how we care for our livestock, our success comes down to one thing- human interaction. We aren’t a farm that throws our animals out to the field and turns our backs.  Take, for example, the way we use the milk from our dairy cows to bottle-raise calves.  Twice a day, every day, after freely munching on pasture and hay, our 3 girls – Juajita, Dixie and Maggie are individually escorted into the milking parlor.  Here they receive a full massage and check of their udders, a 3-step udder cleaning with warm water and cloths, sanitizing spray, and a dairy wipe rub, all while leisurely munching on high protein grains and minerals. During milking they enjoy the company of the entire family as we stand around them to discuss the days events. Once finished they are again personally escorted back to the field for free range pasture feeding and cattle companionship.

Taking care of these girls like this proves to provide our farm with consistent milk production and good animal health.  Because of this human interaction and caring our farm has been able to take this production and turn it into a successful family run calf raising
business.  Thanks to the partnership we have with Juajita, Dixie and Maggie, we are able to appreciate the many blessings that come from properly caring for our livestock.”

calves at gate oafds meme

              Courtesy of Lee Ann Perez, check out their FB page here


Zweber Farms based in MN, sells beef, pork, chicken, eggs, and organic dairy.  Farming in Minnesota can be blistering hot or bitterly cold.  In the cold, extra considerations must be taken, and at Zweber Farms, that consideration includes teats.  Zweber Farms makes sure dry sand is available for bedding in a building, which also provides shelter from the elements.  Cows who lie in it should have dry udders (and blue teats from a special cold-protectant teat dip) like this:

(Courtesy of Zweber Farms)

But a cow who doesn’t like rest like she should, and lies down in the cold outside, exposes herself to windburn and frost bite:

(Courtesy of Zweber Farms)

So to help prevent this, Zweber Farms keeps cows who make poor decisions inside at night!  Farming takes a keen eye, and by separating these girls, they can avoid further damage.  Read the full story, including heated teat dip for cows and warmers here, and make sure to visit their Facebook page!

Caring for bull calves:

From Nolan Sampson: “It has full access to grass, and a whole pasture to run around on. We also feed it some grain, vitamins, and minerals to give it the exact nutritional diet it requires and keep it healthy. He was sick as a calf and we had to give him some medicine, just like you would take at home. He’s happy and healthy as can be now.
And that woman beside him, that’s the American farmer …. She works her butt off everyday to produce a safe, affordable product for consumers. She doesn’t make much between high costs and low sale prices….”

Check out Nolan’s page, which features lip balm, honey, and naturally raised, grass fed freezer beef – Sampson’s Liquid Gold.

The difference in the system of raising animals comes down niche markets, and to how individual farms have found what is the best way to feed, care for, and house their animals.  Farmers care.  Unhealthy, sick, unloved, dirty, whatever else you can come up with, animals simply don’t perform the same (grow, milk, produce) as those receiving proper care.  If you have any concerns about this, think about yourself.  Would you achieve as much in a day if you were sick?  Depressed?  Hungry?  Felt threatened by those around you?  No!

I’m here to say I don’t care what you choose in the grocery store.  Grain-fed, grass-fed, natural, organic, lowest cost, one in a package with a smiling cow, or even no meat, milk, cheese, or other animal-sourced foods.  But don’t make those purchases believing animals coming from the other package on the shelf were mistreated or improperly cared for, make them based on exploring farming.  Talk with a farmer.  Farmers care.


About Everything Dairy

Everything Dairy encompasses dairy industry news, management, nutrition, calf care, protocols, and more for dairy producers and industry professionals. Also covered are animal welfare topics. Although I am not originally from a farm, I am completely my masters in dairy cattle nutrition and hope I can bring a unique voice to the agvocacy talk about to industry professionals!
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