Last week I was invited to go on a tour of one of the many AZ dairy farms here in the Phoenix area. The dairy is Kerr Dairy and is a fourth generation family owned and operated dairy farm. I brought my 2 girls along and they were so excited to see all the cows as we got out of the car. They couldn’t wait for our dairy farm tour and to see the 1,000 cows that live at the Kerr Dairy.
Our first stop was at the pen where they keep all the cows that are pregnant. In fact, we saw a new born calf that had been born just moments before we got there! The dairy farm was really well organized in keeping track of the different groups of cows. Pregnant cows, milking cows, calves, cows not in milking season (I don’t remember the official term for that).
The Kerr family showed us the inside of their milking barn. We saw the milking area where the cows are utters are washed and then connected to the machine for milking. Most cows are milked 3 times a day. We saw the storage tank where the milk is held after it has gone through the cooling system. Milk has to be cooled down and stored under 40 degrees or it can not be taken to be processed for sale in the stores.
I have to admit, my favorite part was seeing all the calves. The calf area was full of adorable 2 month or younger calves that get bottle fed a couple times a day. They have about 3 people who’s job it is to bottle feed the calves. I think that would be a fun task. They are just too cute!
Baby girl loved all the sounds at the dairy farm tour. Especially all the mooing the cows were doing. She had to get in on that action and started talking back to the cows.
When the trucks come to pick up the milk from the dairies, they take 5 sample tests and then fill their trucks. When they get to the processing plant, they test the samples and if there is any antibiotics or chemicals in the milk samples, they dump out that truck load of milk. All samples and milk transported has to stay under that 40 degree temperature mark. Once the milk is processed, it is then bottled and sold at our local grocery stores.
What would a dairy farm tour be without a little hayride? It was a beautiful day on the farm, learning about where our milk comes from, trying to feed the baby cows, talking with the momma cows and going on a hayride.
I thought the tour was really interesting. At one time my husbands grandfather owned a dairy and his dad will talk a little bit about the work he did there. So I appreciated the hard work that goes into a dairy a little more. You could really see the pride that dairy farmers have in their business. I appreciate milk a little bit more knowing how fresh it is and the steps taken to make sure it is safe to drink.
Plus I love supporting local!!
Happy Milk Mustaching!