Having grown up on a dairy farm in the Netherlands, Dr. Pol has a deep understanding and appreciation for life as a farmer. Add 45 years of experience working as a large animal veterinarian serving local dairy farmers and its obvious that Dr. Pol has tremendous respect for the hardworking people who help build the backbone of America.
FIVE WAYS TO CELEBRATE YOUR LOCAL DAIRY FARMER
1.Doing it All
In addition to managing milk production from cows, dairy farmers have a wide variety of responsibilities. They have employees to manage, and function as construction workers, mechanics, sanitation workers, and even engineers as needed. To keep their farm successful dairy farmers must be business experts handling everything from bookkeeping to public relations. They are often also educators with many local farms conducting tours and hosting events that provide opportunities for people to visit a working dairy. No doubt, keeping America’s dairy milk flowing is busy work!
2. Caretakers of the Cow
From a calf’s first breath to the last moments of a cow’s life, the welfare and livelihood of a dairy farmer depends on the health of their cows. Cows need to be fed every day and milked on schedule. Dairy farmers must understand animal health, herd health, and nutrition, along with monitoring and managing milk production. They often deliver calves themselves, nurse sick animals, and assist veterinarians with routine care. Without a healthy and well-fed cow, milk production slows and animals become vulnerable to sickness. Therefore, dairy farmers must be excellent caretakers of their cows!
3. Working with Mother Nature
Even the most experienced dairy farmer must work with Mother Nature. The calf is going to come when it’s ready and it’s going to take as long as needed to make its arrival. Fields grow best with a balance of rain and sunshine but extremes can bring floods and droughts for which a dairy farmer must plan. The changing of seasons brings new blessings and challenges from summer pests to frigid winter temperatures and through it all, the dairy farmer places the welfare of his herd above all else.
4. Stewards of the Land
Every day is Earth Day for farmers who have a unique relationship with the land. Most people don’t realize the strong commitment farmers must have to sustainability. The care and management of many acres of land for pastures, crops, and animals requires an understanding of crop rotation, nutrient depletion and replenishment, and harvesting. They must also manage the large quantities of manure produced by their herd. Health of the land is essential to health of their herd, which makes dairy farmers attentive stewards of the land!
5. 100% Committed
Working on a dairy farm is difficult work. There’s no taking time off because it’s too hot or too cold, or because you’re sick, or need a vacation. The cows don’t care if it’s a holiday or your mom’s birthday; they need to be milked. Farmers don’t work every day to further their careers, they do it because this is their way of life. They put everything they have into their farms – financially, physically and emotionally. It’s not just WHAT they do, It’s WHO they are. They are proud American Farmers and we tip our hats to them.
THE FINAL WORD FROM DR. POL
“There isn’t a type of animal I haven’t looked in the eyes and wondered how it was feeling.”