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Find out more about dairy farmers and industry experts, including the producers behind unique dairy operations and innovative management strategies.

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In June 2005, a group of eight women were sitting around a kitchen table planning a fashion show. One woman mentioned a local children’s home where the kids needed undergarments. The woman also found out that the children could only get one glass of milk each day – if they asked for it and if there was enough money in the budget that week.

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Sitting in a classroom or studying in his dorm room, 19-year-old Luke Vander misses working outdoors. He frequently longs for a 12-hour workday treating cows on his father’s 700-cow dairy in south-central Michigan. But Luke, a sophomore studying animal science at Michigan State University, also knows attending to his university studies is just as important.

“You have the rest of your life to be on the farm,” Vander says. “You’re only going to gain more from going to college.”

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Peering down from metal amphitheater seats to the glass encasing below, Rita Moenck’s small class of third-grade students shushed each other as they watched the highlight of their field trip unfold. For most of the students, it was the first time they had seen an animal give birth. After watching for more than a half hour, the class members’ whispered “eeewhs” turned to “ahhhs” and clapping when the Holstein cow they were watching finally calved her baby.

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A broad-based interest in soil conservation began in the 1930s as a result of the devastating “Dust Bowl” era when the shortcomings of the then current agricultural practices became apparent. This trend has continued on many fronts, and the most visible one at present is the “organic movement.” It is well to remember “organic” is only one part of a much larger trend toward sustainable agriculture changing the nature of farming in the U.S. and in many other parts of the world as well. My evolution as a holistic veterinarian roughly paralleled this broader national movement.

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Jim and Laura Lee Albers decided to leave the hustle and bustle of Chino, California, in September 2005. Their move to the west Texas town of Dalhart made Covenant Dairy a pioneer in one of the fastest-growing dairy regions in the nation.

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Brent Duncan of Franklington, Louisiana, is most grateful this Christmas for normal weather. To a dairy producer in the Louisiana panhandle, cool temperatures and wet fall days are critical for winter survival. Both have been fantastic this fall, and optimism has replaced survival as the theme on Duncan’s dairy this Christmas.

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