Our family farming history began with my great-great-... (nine generations ago) grandfather Johannes. He, his wife and three children left Saxony, Germany, on April 20, 1734, aboard the ship St. Andrew, mastered by Capt. John Stedman. They landed at Philadelphia on Sept. 22 and eventually settled our family’s first "New World" farm near Society Run in Frederick Township, Montgomery County, Pa., in 1743. Pig farming was our family’s specialty until the mid 1950s. A lot has changed since then. Our BQA cow–calf operation includes 100% grass-fed registered Red Angus, Hereford and purebred Beefalo; 30 to 35 pastured Duroc and Spot pigs; 100 Freedom Ranger broilers; and 90 Golden Comet and Buff Orpington layers. We organically maintain 80 acres, comprising 15 acres in rotational pastures, 15 acres in tillable cropland, and alfalfa/mixed grass hay on the balance. We have never used chemical pesticides or herbicides on our pastures or hay fields. We are not a "certified" organic farming operation, but we prefer the natural/organic approach to help promote sustainability.
GRASS, it does a body good!!
Apr 09, 2010
100% Grass-Fed MILKERS
Milk from 100% Grass-fed animals is much healthier than ordinary milk. It has a higher concentration of vitamins and antioxidants, fewer “bad” fats, and more “healthy” fats such as omega-3 fatty acids and CLA (conjugated linoleic acid).
Typically, forages on grass based dairies include grasses like orchard, Endophyte-free fescue and a legume such as red & white clover or alfalfa. The animals are given free-choice hay and/or haylage when there is not enough high-quality pasture.
There are very few 100% Grass-fed dairies in the United States, but in recent years many more producers are transitioning to all grass due to the over-all improvement in animal health and lower vet and hoof trimmer bills. Heifers & Cows that are 100% Grass-fed may produce less milk, but in the long run the increased vitality of the animals and over-all herd health program improvements far outweigh the small loss in milk production. The more grass in the animals’ diet, the healthier the milk is for you and your family.
All of the dairy farmers should produce milk that is free of antibiotics and added hormones. 100% Grass-fed dairies in the U.S. have been very rare in recent years, but if you go back 60 years, all American dairies were grass-based. They may not have been 100% Grass-fed but they also weren’t as large as they are now. I’ve spoken to a lot of dairy producers in our state and most free-stall housed dairy cattle are kept that way because “it’s too much trouble and takes too much time to bring in 100, 200 or 500 cow’s 2 or 3 times a day for milking”. All too often the producers’ reasoning for confinement cattle is because there isn’t enough time. So herd health suffers because the bank is pushing the producer to “make more milk”, and with the dwindling number of farm kid’s staying on the farm after high school, Mom & Dad are pushed into a corner by the bankers who only care about getting paid, rather than the welfare of the animals that are lining their pockets. You can’t completely blame the kid’s either. Most times Dad isn’t willing to relinquish and decision making to the next generation either! O.K., O.K., I’ll come down off my soap box now, thanks for letting me vent.
For more information about the nutritional benefits of Milk from 100% Grass-fed cows, read the essay Super Healthy Milk by Jo Robinson.