Cultivating Conversations, Dairy Edition

Elizabeth Wood
SCFB Ag Literacy Director

Today’s consumers have a desire to learn about where their food comes from. 95% of U.S. households have dairy products in their refrigerators making dairy production a hot topic. As a Farm Bureau member, here are a few talking points you can use to discuss dairy farming with consumers.

  • Organic vs. Conventional: All dairy farmers care about the livelihood of their cows because the happiest and healthiest cows produce the most milk. There is no nutritional difference between organic milk and conventional milk. We are lucky to live in a country that has diverse farms, so we can make informed food choices. Remember: these are farming methods and they do not impact the nutrition or safety of food.
  • Hormones: BST (Bovine Somatotropin) is a naturally occurring hormone that helps cows produce milk. rBST (Recombinant Bovine Somatotropin) is an artificial hormonal boost that can help increase milk production in a cow. It is currently used in about 10% of dairy cows. The FDA has determined there is no significant difference between milk from rBST treated cows and non-rBST treated cows. So, consumers can rest assured knowing no matter which milk they select, they can feel confident knowing that it’s wholesome, safe and nutritious.
  • Antibiotics: Cows are treated with antibiotics only when medically necessary and always under veterinary supervision. Farmers take the health of their cattle seriously, much like the concern you show for your own family. If a cow is treated with medicine, she goes through a withdrawal period where all of her milk is dumped until the medicine is out of her system. Then, milk is tested multiple times to ensure its wholesomeness. Animal health is a top priority for farmers as is the safety of their products.

Let’s all raise a glass of cold milk to the men and women who produce our safe food supply!

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