It’s not often that I get emails that include “…but then I am going to breed a cow for someone.”
This is what I read from Sam when we were trying to connect this week. It was so unexpected that I laughed out loud and then read it to Adam.
There’s something about being a farmer that I find so intriguing. While I love living in the city, a part of me yearns to live out in the country, with acres and acres of land filled with animals and a life that revolves around providing for those animals and inherently then providing for the people of my community. Where part of my day is breeding a cow!? I mean how crazy and different from what I do here on my double lot and my downtown office in the city…
I want to share some things about Sam and her dairy farm with you – because the more I get to know the people in my community that provide for me and my family, the more I want you to know them too. And I think it’s vitally important to learn about how Indiana farmers intertwine with my urban community. Plus, meeting farmers and making farmers more personal to me makes me want to support my local farming community even more and I hope it does the same for you.
So here are some random things about Sam and her dairy farm that I think are fun:
- She has 89 active milking cows, 22 dry cows (that will be dry for about 2 months at a time) and about 90 heifers (which are young cows that haven’t had a first calf yet). That’s over 200 cows!
- They name each and every one of those cows. (The girls thought it was crazy that they didn’t have any cows named Alaina, Cameran, Lucas or Isaac.)
- In addition to the cows, they also have a pony, a horse, three dogs and over 30 cats.
- Sam grew up on a dairy farm, but her dad didn’t want her to be a dairy farmer.
- She just started going back to school. Her first class was a photography class and she wants to study writing (English or journalism or something similar).
- Sam met her husband at a dairy convention. They have two sons. She says of the photo below: “Me and my boys Wyatt in white and Ethan in black. Milk does a body good right? They are each members of the 1000 pound club at school. Milk builds strong bones and muscles.”
- Sam was a milk tester for 10 years. What’s a milk tester, you ask? Sam tells me it’s basically “cow accounting” by auditing milk weight – testing samples for butter fat and somatic cells and other things. This info is kept by cow to track a cow’s milk production and lifetime events. It’s not required by any agency, but it used as a management tool for dairy farmers. By using tools such as this, dairy farmers can track herds over a hundred years back to see pedigree. It’s like Ancestry.com for cows.
- Each cow has a registration number, similar to a social security number, that is tied to their farmer/herd.
- Sam compares cows to toddlers: “Milking cows is like taking care of a whole herd of 2 year olds. They aren’t potty trained, they can’t serve themselves their own food, they can’t tell you where they hurt, and they are always curious about things. … Cows are also like kids in the fact if they know you have something planned, they will somehow inadvertently stop you. They get sick, have babies, break the fence….all at inconvenient times. Last weekend I missed the wedding of the century around here with a long rainy day and 2 sick cows.” Sounds familiar.
- Sam’s dairy farm is participating in the national 2013 Show Your Pride dairy farmer photo contest. This contest engages farmers in the Fuel Up to Play 60 program. The goal of the contest is to have dairy farmers show their enthusiasm for the Fuel Up to Play 60 program and their partnership with the NFL. The winner gets a visit to their dairy farm from an NFL player. You can vote daily here (click on the Colts themed picture). Voting ends on Oct. 18 at 11:59 p.m. EST.
- You can follow Sam on Instagram – she’s IndyMilkMaid.
I’m trying to convince Sam to run a 5k with me. Think she’ll bring me fresh chocolate milk from her cows to refuel with? 🙂
Disclosure: As an Indiana Dairy Ambassador, I was sponsored for this post. Though, as always, all thoughts and opinions are completely mine.