The best use of a quarter

By Michelle Plummer

The drought is profoundly affecting American agriculture and dairy farmers are some of the hardest hit. Dairy farmers appreciate Americans understanding their situation, and recognize these are tough time s for everyone.  Consumers can show their support for dairy farmers by continuing to enjoy and purchase nutritious, and great tasting dairy products.

Dairy farmers don’t control the price of milk at the store and a higher cost at retail doesn’t mean farmers make more money, on average farmers receive 30% of the retail cost.  Thinking about all the farmers do every day to make sure they deliver a perfect product, that isn’t much money!  An 8-ounce glass of milk costs about a quarter and provides so much benefit.

At the American Dairy Association we have a slogan and it seems to never go out of style that Dairy is always in season!  Today I want to share three of my very favorite dairy recipes that are good for you and your wallet!  Just in time for the Fall Season.

Maple and Fruit Oatmeal

½ cup oats                                                                           1 cup milk

2 tablespoons maple syrup                                          ½ banana sliced

In microwave safe bowl combine oats and milk.  Place in microwave for 2 minutes on high; stir halfway through cooking time.  Remove from microwave and top with maple syrup and sliced bananas.  Delicious!  Additional toppers: Peanut butter and fruit, nuts, spices, wheat germ (the sky’s the limit, be creative!)

Creamy Mac and Cheese

2 tablespoons butter                                                      2 tablespoons onion

2 tablespoons flour                                                         2 cups milk

8 ounces of macaroni                                                     2 dashes each Worcestershire, tabasco, cayenne pepper

2 cups assorted cheese, cubed                                  1 cup cooked chicken

½ cup peas and carrots

Cook macaroni in boiling water until tender; drain.  Meanwhile, in pan the macaroni was cooked in add butter, and onion.  Sauté for 3 minutes, add flour and stir for 3 minutes.  Add milk and whisk until smooth and add the Worcestershire, tabasco, cayenne and cheese.  Cook until smooth.  Add macaroni and chicken and combine.  Lastly add peas and carrots.  Here is the decision — bake or stove top?  At our house I like stove top and others like the crunchy edges—either way if you bake it place contents in the pan to a prepared baking dish and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees F or until you see the crunchy edges.  You can also add spinach or red peppers or salsa…. just open the fridge and get a bit wild! 

Ole’ Quesadillas!

4- 7” flour tortillas                                                            16 ounce package of onion pepper medley

1 tablespoon taco seasoning                                       1 cup grated cheese, assorted mild and sharp

Salsa                                                                                      avocado slices

In large skillet place frozen onion pepper mixture and add taco seasoning plus ¼ cup water.  Cook until tender about 5 minutes and mixture is dry.  On griddle place the tortillas add ¼ of the pepper mixture to each and top with ¼ of cheese on half of the tortilla.  Flip the top over the mixture and griddle until golden then flip to second side and griddle until golden.  Remove from griddle and place on platters. Serve with salsa, taco sauce, sour cream or plain yogurt and avocado.  Using a pizza cutter cut each quesadilla into fourths and serve with a green salad topped with salsa!  OLE!

Droughts May Affect More Than You Think

By Sarah Wagler, Wagler Dairy Farm, Morgantown

Remember that kid’s song, “Rain, rain, go away. Come again another day…”? Boy, we sure weren’t singing that nursery rhyme this year! Instead, we were praying every day for rain!

Hi! My name is Sarah Wagler, and my husband and his family dairy farm in Brown County. Every day, we work hard to help our cows produce wholesome, nutritious, delicious milk!

This summer required harder work because of the drought. This year started out beautiful and our crops were growing great and were a wonderful shade of green. Then it stopped raining.

Personally, the drought gave me a little vacation from mowing the grass, but that is probably the only perk! When I looked out our front door, my flowers were brown, our grass was brown, the crops lost their wonderful shade of green and weren’t growing and our ponds were getting lower and lower. Just like your flowers and vegetables were probably not doing as well this summer, more than the looks of our crops were hurt too.

The drought drastically affected the nutritional value and yield of our crops. Simply, our crops didn’t make as much and what they did make is not as nutritious. So what does this mean? It means we are going to have to feed more to achieve the same value.

Many homes and livestock producers in Brown County water themselves and their animals out of ponds or off of springs. No rain equals no pond or spring water, which means no water for the animals. That is one horrible equation!

What made it even worse for us was that our lactating cows—the cows we milk three times a day—drink a lot of water, about a bath tub full every day! It makes sense when you think that milk is over 85% water. So what did we do? We moved water, we moved water, and we moved water! For our lactating cows, we pumped water from one pond to the actual pond we utilize for water. For our younger animals out on pasture, we would truck water to troughs—big holding containers that are low enough for the cows to drink from.

Going along with the lack of rain, the extreme heat also decreases the amount of milk our cows give every day. Boy, it is scary to think how many things are linked to the weather. I guess the vacation from mowing was the only perk. All we can do now is pray for better weather next year!

Farming with Grandpa

By Kimmi Devaney

It’s no secret I am passionate about the dairy industry. After all, this industry has given me so many joys and opportunities over the years. However, none of it would be possible without one special man in my life—my grandpa.

Continue reading

Cow Appreciation Day


We celebrated my Guernsey, JoJo, as the King County Fair Royal Critter back in 2007.

By Kimmi Devaney

To say I love dairy cows is a huge understatement. So many of my favorite memories involve showing my cows at the fair, working at the dairy and hanging out at the farm. There’s something very relaxing about watching the sun come up while cleaning out stalls or moving cows into the parlor for milking.

Continue reading

Meet an Indiana Farmer: David Brand

By Kimmi Devaney

David Brand

Dairy Farmer, Waterloo, Indiana

David standing beside wife Kim, who's holding their daughter Addysen, 19 months. In front of David is their younger son Jaxen, 4 & on the right in front of Kim is Logen, 6

Q: Why did you get into the dairy business?

A:  I have always wanted to be in the dairy business.  Growing up on the farm, I was used to hard work and dedication to the animals. I loved being outdoors watching things grow.  As I got older, I became more involved in the day-to-day operations and just knew as I was graduating from high school that I definitely wanted to return to the farm.

Q: What do you love most about being in the dairy industry?

A:  What I love most about the dairy industry is the opportunity to work with my family on a daily basis and to be able provide for so many people.  We provide for the cows and they provide for us through the nutritious products they produce.  Not only that, but I truly take pride in the fact that we’re able to produce safe, nutritious food for so many.  I know a lot of people don’t take into account where their food comes from anymore, but I’m still proud to be a face behind the label.

Q: What do you want the general public to know about dairy farming?

A: I think the main issue we’re having as dairymen these days is the lack of understanding by the general public about how a modern dairy farm really works.  We as dairymen can no longer survive by milking a few dozen cows based on a pasture diet.  The genetic growth has unlocked a lot of potential in our cows and with that comes a lot of milk if fed correctly.

There’s more management with dairying these days than just going out and milking cows.  I wish more people could actually visit modern-day dairy farms.  I think they would understand a lot more about how precise and scientific it really is these days.  Small changes in the cows’ diet can make a huge difference in their health.

We do all we can to keep all of our cows as comfortable as possible so they are able to provide nutritious food for consumers.  And, I think that we have proof that our dedication to our cows pays off.  One of our mottos is: Focused on Longevity for the Future, and I believe we’re doing that.  More than a quarter of our milking herd is older than 5 years old, with our oldest cow being 13!

We care for our cows expecting them to last a long time and be productive for a long time.  We take care of their environment and the environment around us, because not only is it in our best interest, but it’s the right thing to do.

There are misconceptions and falsehoods being thrown about every day about how modern-day dairy farms are.  My advice is to try your best to talk to, or visit a dairy farm.  We give school tours and welcome visitors any time!

Top 10 Memories from 2011

We had another busy year and made many memories.  It’s tough to choose just 10; but here, in no particular order, is my top 10 list:

Celebrating 80 years of nutrition education in Indiana through our Dairy Council.  Indiana dairy farmers are long time supporters of nutrition research and education for the health of Hoosiers.

Dining at the home of Jim Irsay!  We partner with the Colts to bring improved nutrition and fitness experiences to Indiana school students.  That partnership yielded an invitation that I was thrilled to accept and gave me a rare opportunity to chat with Mr. Irsay about our Fuel Up to Play 60 program.

Celebrating 100 years of Indy car racing at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.  Indiana dairy farmers and the racing fraternity have a special bond:  milk.  We produce it.  They drink it to celebrate winning the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race.  That’s why, in Indiana, we know that Winners drink milk!®

Helping our two dairy farmer milkmen get ready to present the famous bottle of milk in Victory Circle following the Indianapolis 500.  This year I was very close to the action!  How exciting!

Attending our annual Dairy Summit.  More than 250 registered dietitians and school nutrition professionals came to the conference to learn from experts about the new dietary guidelines, the benefits of flavored milk at school and chocolate milk as a sports recovery drink.

Visiting several dairy farms during the Kentuckiana Dairy Exchange in Indiana.  Each year, dairy farmers from Kentucky and Indiana get together to tour farms and swap ideas.  We have a varied and vibrant dairy industry in Indiana and it was great to spend some time on several fascinating farms.

Watching Diane Ruyack receive her 35-year service award at our annual meeting.  I’ve had the privilege to work with Diane for many years and was so grateful to see her be recognized for a long career sharing the good nutrition news about dairy products on behalf of Indiana’s dairy farmers.

Unveiling the cheese sculpture at the Indiana State Fair.  For several years, we’ve brought Sarah Kaufmann, cheese sculptor, to our great state fair to create a work of art from huge blocks of cheese delighting thousands of fair-goers!

Hosting Dairy Day at Victory Field.  We entertained Indiana dairy farmers at the beautiful ball park in June.  It was a great time for visiting and showcasing dairy at the ball game.

Announcing that 2012 is the Year of Dairy Cows at the Indiana State Fair!

Happy Thanksgiving!

By Kimmi Devaney

Thanksgiving is here! As we sit down with our families this holiday season, let’s not forget the hardworking individuals who work hard year round to ensure we have enough to eat. Dairy farms and many other types of farms are 24/7/365 operations, and this includes holidays. Sometimes this means juggling meal schedules and other activities to milk or feed cows.

Continue reading