June is Dairy Month

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Cornell Cooperative Extension Specialist, Alycia Drwencke, shares information about the dairy industry in Southwest New York.
Cornell Cooperative Extension Specialist, Alycia Drwencke, shares information about the dairy industry in Southwest New York.

Cornell Cooperative Extension Specialists Share Information about Dairy in Southwest NY

The Southwest New York Dairy, Livestock, and Field Crops Program is excited to celebrate June Dairy Month by sharing information about the economic importance and conscientious management of dairy farms in the region. There are over 680 dairy farms in the Southwest New York Region, encompassing Erie, Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Allegany, and Steuben counties. Those farms care for 75,000 dairy cows that produce enough milk to meet the dietary needs of more than 2 million people every day. This milk travels from the farm to local facilities where it is bottled into milk for schools and stores; made into blocks and slices of cheese; and cultured for products like yogurt and buttermilk.

Dairy farming in the Southwest New York Region provides many economic benefits for the area. Studies show that for every $1 a farmer receives, $2.29 is generated in the local community. Farming remains inherently local – the store where feed for the animals is purchased is a short drive away, the tractor repair business is down the road, and the veterinarian the farm uses is close enough to answer calls within a short time. A 100 cow dairy farm could have as much as a $2.78 million dollar economic effect in the region and create 29 direct and indirect jobs. If we look at an average 100 cow dairy farm, they will need around 2.5 employees. These employees will include family partners and paid employees that could be full or part time. However, these are just people employed at the farm – dairy farms utilize the services of many others, including veterinarians, nutritionists, milk haulers, hoof trimmers, consultants, and many more. So, although that specific business might only have 2.5 people on their payroll, there are many hands at work on the farm.

Farmers and employees provide care to cows every day of the year, regardless of holidays, cold weather, or other challenges. Some routine tasks must be performed every day, even multiple times per day, while others are performed weekly, or seasonally. Animal care tasks that occur every day include cleaning and checking the health of cows. Multiple times per day the cows are provided fresh feed and water. The feed that is given to cows is carefully balanced to provide the nutrients cows need.

Cows are typically milked 2 – 3 times per day. As cows are milked, a careful procedure is followed to promote the best health and care for the cow, while also keeping the milk that is produced safe, clean, and wholesome. The equipment that is used to milk cows is cleaned between each use. Routinely, farms will also add more soft bedding for the cows to lay down on. Laying down on a comfortable spot is an important part of a cow’s day, as she will choose to spend 11-14 hours per day resting. In addition, farmers provide shade, fans, and sprinklers during warm weather to help keep their cows cool. These are just a few of the things farms provide to the cows routinely.

Farmers work each day to provide the best care possible for their cows to keep them healthy and comfortable. Cows that are more comfortable produce more milk which is beneficial for the farmers, and consumers who enjoy dairy products. Producing a safe, wholesome product for consumers to enjoy, while providing cows the best care, is the top priority of the dairy industry. If you would like to celebrate June Dairy Month, grab your favorite dairy product and enjoyit with your friends and family!

For more information about dairy production and marketing in the Southwest New York region, contact Alycia Drwencke, Dairy Management Specialist, at 517-416-0386 or amd453@cornell.edu.

Cornell Cooperative Extension’s Southwest New York Dairy, Livestock, and Field Crops Program specialists are here to help provide research-based resources and support during this challenging time. Their team of four specialists includes Katelyn Walley-Stoll, Farm Business Management (716-640-0522 or kaw249@cornell.edu); Joshua Putman, Field Crops (716-490-5572 or jap472@cornell.edu); Alycia Drwencke, Dairy Management (517-416-0386 or amd453@cornell.edu); and Amy Barkley, Livestock Management (716-640-0844 or amb544@cornell.edu). While specialists are working remotely at this time, they are still offering consultations via phone, text, email, videoconferencing, and mail. They are also providing weekly updates with timely resources and connections via email and hardcopy and virtual programming. For more information, or to be added to their notification list, contact Katelyn Walley-Stoll, Team Leader, at 716-640-0522, kaw249@cornell.edu or visit their website swnydlfc.cornell.edu.

The Southwest New York Dairy, Livestock, and Field Crops Program is the newest Cornell Cooperative Extension regional program and covers Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, and Steuben Counties. The Southwest New York Dairy, Livestock, and Field Crops regional specialists work with Cornell faculty and Extension educators to address the issues that influence the agricultural industry in New York by offering educational programming and research based information to agricultural producers, growers, and agribusinesses in the Southwestern New York Region. Cornell Cooperative Extension is an employer and educator recognized for valuing AA/EEO, Protected Veterans, and Individuals with Disabilities and provides equal program and employment opportunities.