Saturday, February 12, 2011

Travelers From Afar Come To See California Dairies

 This week the well renowned World Ag Expo took place in Tulare, California. Hundreds of thousands of people descend on the small, rural farming town of Tulare to share ideas on agriculture, see new products and technologies, and enjoy three days of everything farm-related. This is the largest agricultural show in the world and people travel from all over to attend. It is quite a sight to see!

This year, the farm vet and I had the opportunity to show large California dairies to two groups of UK dairy farmers and veterinarians. These groups of progressive farmers traveled half-way across the world to visit the show and learn about the different styles of dairy management here. It was fantastic discussing the issues dairy farmers face from one country to another. Here are some photos from the tours we hosted.

 We took them to my family's farm, which has been in the family for four generations. We now milk 3,000 cows and are proud of it. I was flattered by the nice comments and genuine interest the UK farmers took in our operation. Every day we are working with a food product for human consumption. Our dairy farm has evolved over the past 98 years to keep up with providing a safe food product - just like restaurants and hospitals don't look like they did 100 years ago - neither does our dairy farm.

One of the gentlemen in the group is aiding in trying to get a large dairy operation built in northern England, called Nocton Dairies. They are facing quite a bit of opposition which is extremely disappointing to hear. Big is not always bad. There are good dairy operators and bad dairy operators no matter what size or shape it may be. It is just like anything else in this world: doctors, restaurants, hotels, grocery stores. Just because something is big does not mean it is bad. The farm vet has clients of all sizes and not one size is "better" than another. There is a place in this world for each style of management and I fail to comprehend why some people try to put a stop to something they do not understand. I wish the Nocton Dairies luck and look forward to hearing the outcome of the project.

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