Tag: Dairy

Kick Off the Summer by Celebrating Dairy!

Kick Off the Summer by Celebrating Dairy!

By Elizabeth Karides, 2021-22 Maryland Dairy Princess

In 1937, June was dubbed National Milk Month as a way to distribute extra milk during the hot summer. Since then, June has evolved into National Dairy Month. Though it may sound silly to dedicate an entire thirty days to this food group, National Dairy Month gives us a chance to reflect on the vital work dairy farmers do for our community and the environment.

For starters, our farmers work 365 days a year to provide milk, an undeniably healthy beverage packed with 13 essential nutrients like calcium, potassium, zinc, and Vitamin A, to neighborhoods far and near. These nutrients are linked to immune health, bone and muscle health, reduced inflammation, and reduced risk of chronic diseases like osteoporosis. From milk, we get some other delicious, and incredibly nutritious, products like yogurt and cheese which are both excellent sources of calcium to keep our bones and teeth strong.

In addition to providing our community nourishing foods, dairy farmers are also excellent environmental stewards. By incorporating buffer strips on their farmland to collect any manure or fertilizer-rich runoff before it enters waterways like Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay, making use of robotic feed pushers to reduce the need for gas-powered equipment by maximizing feed, and utilizing equipment known as methane digesters (which transform manure into a clean source of electricity to power their homes and farms), dairy farmers are truly dedicated when it comes to environmental stewardship. And given the fact that the U.S dairy industry’s carbon footprint shrank 19% between 2007 and 2017, the future of environmental protection through dairy farming seems bright. Not to mention, since practically all dairy farms are family farms, for farmers it is especially important to protect land, air, and water for future generations.

So there you have it, the next time you are enjoying a cool glass of milk, a warm grilled cheese, or a refreshing scoop of ice cream later this summer, think about the hardworking people who provided it.

Help prevent dairy farm chemical contamination with these tips

Help prevent dairy farm chemical contamination with these tips

The following information is provided by Nationwide®, the #1 farm and ranch insurer in the U.S.*

Chemicals keep equipment clean and animals healthy on many modern dairy farms. But when mishandled, they can cause problems for farmers and their cows. Dairy cross-contamination can also cause health problems for milk consumers.
In general, consider these steps to help keep chemicals out of your milk:
  • Monitor and document chemical use
  • Follow label instructions and dairy best management practices
  • Conduct regular, frequent inspections of farms and animals
  • Train workers to properly handle and administer chemicals
  • Update protocols regularly based on chemicals used


“All workers should be trained. Include education on chemical usage,documentation and proper storage and application,” said Nationwide Agribusiness Senior Risk Management Consultant Lance Reeve. “When a new chemical is introduced, train workers on potential hazards. Account for any special handling requirements and ways to prevent exposure.”

Minimize antibiotic risks
Dairy antibiotics help keep cows healthy and productive. But every farmer must make sure milk is free of even a trace of them before it leaves the farm. Work with a veterinarian and keep detailed records on specific products, their doses and when they’re given. Many antibiotics have labeled withdrawal periods. Observe those times to help keep them out of the consumer dairy supply chain.
“Review records regularly with a veterinarian who visits the farm,” Reeve said. “All farm workers need to know the importance of following protocols for antibiotic use. This training is vital to preventing cross-contamination.”
Build a chemical control program
There are a lot of other chemicals used on dairy farms. Account for the following product types in a chemical control program for your farm:
  • Cleaners
  • Sanitizers
  • Lubricants
  • Other animal treatments and medications

Your program should include how to take care of potential chemical residues in animals, barns and on equipment. Follow all specific product label instructions or warnings about cross-contamination and safe handling. Finally, have a plan for how you will eliminate those residues.

“Ensure you are appropriately managing all chemicals to protect employees and milk,” Reeve said. “For example, many cleaners are concentrated. If you dilute one before using, follow label instructions. Then, verify and document those steps.”
Don’t take shortcuts
It’s sometimes tough to resist the urge to do things like reuse containers, for example. Doing so can cause exposure even when all other protocols are followed.
A part of managing chemicals on a dairy farm is managing your workforce. Make sure only your workers and other approved personnel are allowed on the farm. Store chemicals securely and allow only trained, authorized workers access to them.
“Every worker on the farm needs to know mishandling chemicals creates a risk to themselves and the milk,” Reeve said. “All workers need general chemical training and education on protocols like safe storage and prohibited uses of unapproved chemicals.”
Visit AgInsightCenter.com for more expert tips and information from Nationwide.
*A.M. Best Market Share Report 2020.
The information was obtained from sources believed to be reliable.Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and its employees make no guarantee of results and assume no liability in connection with any training, materials, suggestions or information provided. It is the user’s responsibility to confirm compliance with any applicable local, state or federal regulations. Information obtained from or via Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company should not be used as the basis for legal advice or other advice but should be confirmed with alternative sources.Nationwide, the Nationwide Nand Eagle, and Nationwide is on your side are service marks of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.© 2021 Nationwide



Maryland Farm Bureau’s own Jo-Ann Chason is a recent recipient of the Christy Sue Lilja Resource Grant. Formerly known as White-Reinhardt Resource Grants, educators apply to receive $100 to spend on agriculture literacy books and resources from the AFBFA store.

Chason, former Baltimore County Farm Bureau president and current Maryland Farm Bureau board member for Harford and Cecil counties, teaches in the Highlands School, Bel Air, a school specializing in students with learning differences.

With a horticulture background, she is the “Growing Greater” teacher, touching all the grades, even as a part-time teacher. She said throughout her life she has tried to educate about agriculture, and when this opportunity came along and she was hired, she even got paid for her passion. The Chason farm grows produce, but also has dairy cows and chicken.

Chason marveled about the amount and quality of the materials in the AFBFA store. “They have an unbelievable amount of resources, and the variety is conducive to different styles of teaching. I even purchased some games. They had Maryland Farm Bureau member Chuck Fry’s book, “Tales of the Dairy Godmother: Chuck’s Ice Cream Wish.” It’s so easy to apply, as well, that I encourage others to.”

Chason said she has loved being able to connect the dots for kids, as she likens herself an activist for agriculture. “I think it’s great these funds aren’t meant just for ag educators. You’re sharing about agriculture, but in an organic way. I thank the foundation for doing this for us,” she said.

The grants awarded 51 winners this year. The CSL Foundation was established to carry on late AFBFA director Christy Lilja’s beliefs of helping others in need and to continue to advocate for educating K-12 teachers and students about the importance of agriculture.

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