I love milk. It’s no secret. We always have at least a gallon or two in the fridge. Yogurt and cheese are staples at our house. The whole family likes to go for ice cream whenever we can. I’m unashamedly addicted to a certain fast food chain’s soft serve mixed with candy. Needless to say, I was very excited to be asked to tour Goma Dairy in Marlette, Michigan. Thanks to the United Dairy Industry of Michigan not only did I get to try something new, I got to meet fun bloggers and I had an excuse to have a sleepover. Win!
The Van Den Goor family runs a tight ship! Two of their daughters were on hand to help with the tour, and they were gearing up for an awesome event: Breakfast on the Farm. Goma dairy milks 2,700 cows and produces 29,000 gallons of milk EVERY DAY. Yep! In fact, I found it very cool to learn that their milk is shipped in part to Kroger and to a Yoplait plant.
Before this tour I had never been to a dairy farm, much less seen the inner workings. So, just in case you are city folk like me, you need to know that this is a VERY clean farm! Don’t let the poop and mud fool you. I asked our expert Vet, Dr. Erskine, about the cleanliness and he said that these cows were happy, clean, well cared for animals. I also learned a few things about the cows and babies that I didn’t know before.
- Cows are cold weather animals. They don’t sweat, so when temperatures get hot, they have to be cooled with fans. The barns were open sided and all the overhead fans provided a nice breeze, even for people!
- Babies are separated very soon after birth. I was feeling sorry for them and their mamas until Dr. Erskine let us know that calves who are separated quickly have a much lower instance of infection and death than those left alone with mama. All manner of things can happen for the babies if not monitored. At the Goma Dairy farm, where we toured, mamas a left nearby for a few days. In part, to keep mama separated from cows who have not recently given birth and to be near the babies. AW!
- Once babies are old enough they are put into individual compartments. It’s quite cute!
- As for the Milk? IT NEVER TOUCHES HUMAN HANDS. How cool is that? When the cows come into the milking room, their teats are disinfected and sprayed off then a worker pulls a few squirts of milk to make sure that any milk going into the milking machine is clean, then the workers attach the milker thingies ( I’m sure that is the technical name !) Inside the milker thingies, is a wheel that spins. Once the wheel spins below a certain number of revolutions the milker pops off on its own. The milk travels from the milker thingy, into a room directly below the milking stations in the basement of the building where it is cooled. Once cooled it travels directly into a tanker. I had no idea!
- Cows will try to eat your purse and/or behind if you get close enough. All the cows we saw were very curious. They never stopped eating or chewing their cud while we were present. (According to Dr. Erskine, this is a sign of a happy cow!) They constantly poked their heads over the railings and congregated around us as we mooved through the farm. It was kinda cute in a slobbery, enormous tongue kind of way.
- Michigan is a “surplus” state in regards to dairy. This means that milk for sale in MI is from MI and surplus is shipped to other states. All our milk is LOCAL! Yay! Milk jugs are stamped with a number. Part of the number denotes where the milk originated. Michigan’s code is 26. This website shows you where your milk comes from.
All in all, I had fun and learned something new! I love learning and this trip was a success in that regard. Also, I got to make cow jokes. And say poop. All thanks to the United Dairy Industry of Michigan!
As part of our participation, we got awesome gift bags AND we get to share one with our readers too. The winner of this giveaway will receive an IDENTICAL gift pack containing a $50 pre-paid MasterCard , a brand new 17 piece MAGIC BULLET, recipe pack, Got Milk? baseball cap and some moo-velous cow print socks in a reusable grocery bag. Pretty cool right? All you have to do is use the Rafflecopter entry form below. What are you waiting for?
For more UDIM: http://www.youtube.com/user/MichiganDairyNews http://www.michigandairynewsbureau.org/ https://www.facebook.com/MichiganDairyNewsBureau
Thanks to Dr. Ron Erskine for answering my pesky questions and graciously laughing at my teat joke. Thanks to the Goma Dairy, UDIM and the other experts on hand!
This post contains information provided by UDIM and Goma Dairy. I was not compensated for this post, however I was provided a gift bag and transportation to and from Goma Dairy. All opinions and photos are my own.