Agvocate

15 All Around the Farm Tips

Anyone who has animals, gardens or farms is always looking for better ways to do things. Things one person takes for granted another thinks is a genius idea! 1. If you run cattle and goats or sheep, and have a connecting field or shed you want to allow the small stock but not the cows, […]

Weeding With Chickens

Too often people think chickens and gardens have a happy co-existence. Chickens get weeds, pests and leave manure while the garden benefits from the exchange. Unfortunately it doesn’t always work that way. More often than not digging down after weeds and pests moonscapes the area, digs up plants and leaves nothing behind! A compromise comes […]

The Creation of our On-Farm Creamery

We’re in the process of building and equipping an on-farm creamery to bottle milk from our cows for retail sale. There is an interested in purchasing products directly from the farmers who produce them. Our creamery will allow people to purchase fresh milk from a local farm.

We will produce small batches of non-homogenized, whole milk in white and flavors. The creamery is located just steps away from where the cows are milked. You can’t get any fresher than that! Very few dairy farms in Ohio, or across the country, make products on-farm for retail sale. We’re excited about this new adventure!

We remodeled a portion of office space in the barn for the processing room. Here are some pictures from the construction of the Creamery which started in February. . .

The office space before becoming a Creamery
A local Amish family remodeled this space
The room with it’s new ceiling
Me in the Creamery after the walls were complete
Experts from Burton Carpet carefully install the tile floor
Preparing the concrete mix for the Creamery floor

The tile floor during installation
The 250 gallon vat pasteurizer being delivered
Lad moved it with the loader while I watched nervously
Lad moved the pasteurizer onto the front porch with the skid steer
Moving the vat pasteurizer into it’s new home
Discussing the next steps to installing equipment in the Creamery

We plan to sell milk at the farm, at local retail outlets and restaurants. We hope to be producing milk for sale by mid-June. For updates, check this blog or the Hastings Dairy Facebook page.

The Creation of our On-Farm Creamery

We’re in the process of building and equipping an on-farm creamery to bottle milk from our cows for retail sale. There is an interested in purchasing products directly from the farmers who produce them. Our creamery will allow people to purchase fresh milk from a local farm.

We will produce small batches of non-homogenized, whole milk in white and flavors. The creamery is located just steps away from where the cows are milked. You can’t get any fresher than that! Very few dairy farms in Ohio, or across the country, make products on-farm for retail sale. We’re excited about this new adventure!

We remodeled a portion of office space in the barn for the processing room. Here are some pictures from the construction of the Creamery which started in February. . .

The office space before becoming a Creamery
A local Amish family remodeled this space
The room with it’s new ceiling
Me in the Creamery after the walls were complete
Experts from Burton Carpet carefully install the tile floor
Preparing the concrete mix for the Creamery floor

The tile floor during installation
The 250 gallon vat pasteurizer being delivered
Lad moved it with the loader while I watched nervously
Lad moved the pasteurizer onto the front porch with the skid steer
Moving the vat pasteurizer into it’s new home
Discussing the next steps to installing equipment in the Creamery

We plan to sell milk at the farm, at local retail outlets and restaurants. We hope to be producing milk for sale by mid-June. For updates, check this blog or the Hastings Dairy Facebook page.

Farm Week in Pictures 4/30/2014

Been a slow last week here from the crop standpoint.  Received 2.5-4.5 inches of rain last week and started off Monday and Tuesday both with rain and another 1/2 inch.  We have around 375 acres of corn in the ground and are ready to roll on both corn and soybeans at the same time here […]

Is Milk Safe? How do I Know it’s Free of Antibiotics?

Did you know none of the milk in the grocery store, conventional or organic, contains antibiotics? Regardless if milk is labeled as being free of antibiotics or not. All milk is tested for antibiotics and discarded if it tests positive. Of the 3.19 million loads of raw milk delivered to processing plants across the country in 2013, only 445, or 0.014%, tested positive for antibiotics. This milk was dumped and never reached the grocery store shelf.

 
In this video, I share how dairy farmers keep antibiotics out of milk;
 

In my experience, milk safety and quality systems in the U.S. work. Milk quality begins at the farm, but is carried through all the people responsible along the way including the person who hauls milk from the farm to the processor and the processor who prepares the product for retail sale.
 
Here’s what fellow dairy farmers, a veterinarian and a dietician have to say about milk safety;
 
Milk Testing…If it’s not perfect, we pitch it! By Shannon Siefert, Minnesota Dairy Farmer
“I bet you didn’t know that each dairy farmer is required to keep ANY cows treated with antibiotics separate from the other cows that are not treated with antibiotics. The milk from all treat cows is usually disposed of and does not enter the human food supply. If it’s not perfect, we pitch it, every time, everyday!”
 
Antibiotics in my Milk? by Dairy Moos Blog, California Dairy Farmer
“I can say confidently that there are no antibiotics in any milk because it’s illegal for antibiotics to be in the milk.”
 
Cows, Antibiotics, and You by Will Gilmer, Alabama Dairy Farmer
“When antibiotics are deemed necessary for the sake of an animal’s health, we have a process that allows us to help the cow while protecting the safety and integrity of the milk that leaves our farm.”

Veterinarians, Farmers Have Shared Goal of Producing Safe Milk Supply
From coast to coast, dairy veterinarians around the nation feel similarly about using antibiotics responsibly. Chick here to watch how veterinarian, Dr. Richard Veeman, cares for cows in Oregon. 
 
Food for Thought – A Perpetual Post by Melissa Joy Dobbinson, Registered Dietitian
 
Click here for a great resource that shares brief videos with answers to common questions about milk safety. 
 
I want to assure you U.S. dairy products are safe. They are among the most highly regulated and tested products on the store shelf today. You can feel good about serving milk and dairy products to your family!
 

Is Milk Safe? How do I Know it’s Free of Antibiotics?

Did you know none of the milk in the grocery store, conventional or organic, contains antibiotics? Regardless if milk is labeled as being free of antibiotics or not. All milk is tested for antibiotics and discarded if it tests positive. Of the 3.19 million loads of raw milk delivered to processing plants across the country in 2013, only 445, or 0.014%, tested positive for antibiotics. This milk was dumped and never reached the grocery store shelf.

 
In this video, I share how dairy farmers keep antibiotics out of milk;
 

In my experience, milk safety and quality systems in the U.S. work. Milk quality begins at the farm, but is carried through all the people responsible along the way including the person who hauls milk from the farm to the processor and the processor who prepares the product for retail sale.
 
Here’s what fellow dairy farmers, a veterinarian and a dietician have to say about milk safety;
 
Milk Testing…If it’s not perfect, we pitch it! By Shannon Siefert, Minnesota Dairy Farmer
“I bet you didn’t know that each dairy farmer is required to keep ANY cows treated with antibiotics separate from the other cows that are not treated with antibiotics. The milk from all treat cows is usually disposed of and does not enter the human food supply. If it’s not perfect, we pitch it, every time, everyday!”
 
Antibiotics in my Milk? by Dairy Moos Blog, California Dairy Farmer
“I can say confidently that there are no antibiotics in any milk because it’s illegal for antibiotics to be in the milk.”
 
Cows, Antibiotics, and You by Will Gilmer, Alabama Dairy Farmer
“When antibiotics are deemed necessary for the sake of an animal’s health, we have a process that allows us to help the cow while protecting the safety and integrity of the milk that leaves our farm.”

Veterinarians, Farmers Have Shared Goal of Producing Safe Milk Supply
From coast to coast, dairy veterinarians around the nation feel similarly about using antibiotics responsibly. Chick here to watch how veterinarian, Dr. Richard Veeman, cares for cows in Oregon. 
 
Food for Thought – A Perpetual Post by Melissa Joy Dobbinson, Registered Dietitian
 
Click here for a great resource that shares brief videos with answers to common questions about milk safety. 
 
I want to assure you U.S. dairy products are safe. They are among the most highly regulated and tested products on the store shelf today. You can feel good about serving milk and dairy products to your family!
 

10 Hats We Wear Every (Earth) Day

Like many in agriculture, Earth Day isn’t just one per year. It’s every day. In the process of day to day life we wear many hats. That can make for a busy day, and sometimes rushed weeks. Sometimes we don’t seem to get much done, but the reality is there’s so much to do it’s […]

It’s National Agriculture Day!

It’s National Agriculture Day! I’m celebrating because dairy farming has been a way of life for me and my family for generations. My husband and I are glad to be raising our boys on a farm. But agriculture doesn’t only impact farm families, it’s far reaching touching everyone’s life.

Today is a great opportunity to reflect on how agriculture makes a positive impact in our lives; 
Food quality & choice – there is a larger variety of quality food in the store today than ever before
Fiber – plants, like cotton, and animals, like sheep, goats, and alpacas, produce wonderful fibers
By-products – many household items, medicine and other goods contain plant and animal products
Open space – large flat fields, small rolling fields, barns and tractors create beautiful landscapes 
Economic impact – farmers purchase lots of products and services which support local businesses
Strong community – farms are the backbone of viable rural communities 

This is one of my favorite photos of my sons, Garrett and Jack, and my husband, Lad

As dairy farmers, we are interested in making improvements that benefit the animals we care for and the land we grow crops on. Part of working smart is utilizing technology and other tools available to do a better job producing food using fewer resources.


My 2013 National Ag Day blog post shared theEvolution of Dairy Farming featuring improvements dairy farmers have made over the years. It includes thoughts from my father, Tony Souza, and my father-in-law, Duane Hastings, both dairy farmers who have experienced many changes in dairy farming over the years.

Dairy farming is a unique and challenging business. In order to sustain farming and the food choices people enjoy today, it’s necessary to embrace farmers of all types and sizes. Successful farms producing quality food can be large, small, organic, or conventional. Healthy animals can be fed a variety of feed stuffs and be housed inside or outside. It’s ok if we adopt different practices. The goal for all farmers is caring for land and animals to produce quality products people want to consume. After all, we live on our farms and eat the food produced here!

National Ag Day is the perfect time to celebrate the food quality and choices we enjoy in this country. Thanks to farmers who work hard every day and to consumers who support what we do!

It’s National Agriculture Day!

It’s National Agriculture Day! I’m celebrating because dairy farming has been a way of life for me and my family for generations. My husband and I are glad to be raising our boys on a farm. But agriculture doesn’t only impact farm families, it’s far reaching touching everyone’s life.

Today is a great opportunity to reflect on how agriculture makes a positive impact in our lives; 
Food quality & choice – there is a larger variety of quality food in the store today than ever before
Fiber – plants, like cotton, and animals, like sheep, goats, and alpacas, produce wonderful fibers
By-products – many household items, medicine and other goods contain plant and animal products
Open space – large flat fields, small rolling fields, barns and tractors create beautiful landscapes 
Economic impact – farmers purchase lots of products and services which support local businesses
Strong community – farms are the backbone of viable rural communities 

This is one of my favorite photos of my sons, Garrett and Jack, and my husband, Lad

As dairy farmers, we are interested in making improvements that benefit the animals we care for and the land we grow crops on. Part of working smart is utilizing technology and other tools available to do a better job producing food using fewer resources.


My 2013 National Ag Day blog post shared theEvolution of Dairy Farming featuring improvements dairy farmers have made over the years. It includes thoughts from my father, Tony Souza, and my father-in-law, Duane Hastings, both dairy farmers who have experienced many changes in dairy farming over the years.

Dairy farming is a unique and challenging business. In order to sustain farming and the food choices people enjoy today, it’s necessary to embrace farmers of all types and sizes. Successful farms producing quality food can be large, small, organic, or conventional. Healthy animals can be fed a variety of feed stuffs and be housed inside or outside. It’s ok if we adopt different practices. The goal for all farmers is caring for land and animals to produce quality products people want to consume. After all, we live on our farms and eat the food produced here!

National Ag Day is the perfect time to celebrate the food quality and choices we enjoy in this country. Thanks to farmers who work hard every day and to consumers who support what we do!