The Deal with Dairy: Derrick Josi
I chose to interview the Derrik Josi a dairy farmer of 37 years out of Tillamook Oregan, and ask him questions on pressing 'issues' in the dairy industry. He blogs and is very active on Facebook and Instagram where he shows his viewers how his farm functions from the inside out. While many people take his posts as a learning opportunity or an insight into how their favorite ice cream is produced, a hefty majority still leave nasty comments and even voicemails telling him that he is a terrible person for what he does. These people who choose not to educate themselves on issues but would rather take one thing they've heard and blow it out of proportion are missing out on this golden opportunity. This golden opportunity comes in the form of a farmer who wants you to learn and wants you to understand why he wakes up at the early hours of the morning just to get cream in your coffee and cheese in your omelet in the morning.
~A few of the main areas of concern (for the public) around the dairy industry centers around calves and sustainability. The fact of the matter is that calves are separated from their mothers within 12 hours of being born. Many see this a cruel that cows want their calves with them but from experience, cows couldn't be bothered. Most new mothers have their calf, take time to lick it dry, thy walk away to go eat or drink. If a dairy farmer wasn't there to help this new baby calf they would most likely not survive. It is vital for calves to get their first milk called colostrum from their mother. This contains antibodies that help the calves build their immune system. After the farmer steps in, they ensure that the calf gets this colostrum twice if not more with in the first 12 hours. Calves are then put into individual crates or hutches to keep them warm or cool depending on the weather and, to prevent any diseases from spreading with in the heard. To summarize farmers take on the job the dairy cow mothers don't want to do. We make sure they are set up with the tools to succeed in life because, farmers care, that's the bottom line. You can take a look at Derrik's social media and just see how much he cares about his cows. I mean selfies and safety meetings are a regular occurrence.
Along with caring about his animals Derrik and many dairy farmers take measures to reduce their global warming emissions such as methane and CO2. Feed additives, types of feed, and manure management all help combat emissions on dairy farms. The United States Environmental Protection Agency actually stated: "All livestock only represent 3.9% of the US GHG emissions." This is significantly lower than transportation which stands at around 28.5%...But blame the cow farts and burps.
How long have you been working with dairy cow/in the dairy industry? I’m the fourth generation on my family dairy so I guess for 37 years
Why does the dairy industry separate cows and calves? For health and safety reasons, we are better able to care for both the cow and her calf.
Do cows get upset when calves are taken away? No, most don’t care and the ones that notice forget about the calf as soon as it’s out of sight. People forget cattle don’t have complex emotions as humans do. Does individual housing benefit calf's
health? Yes, you’re better able to monitor them and it helps keep them from spreading bacteria to other calves if they are sick What does "dairy sustainability" mean to you? Sustainable dairy is being able to the dairy on the same land indefinitely while improving the lives of cattle, the land, and the dairy farmer. Sustainability is more than just a farms environmental impact, it’s the impact it has on its community and the financial stability of the farm itself.
What does your farm do to be 'sustainable'? We have implemented manure management practices that protect wetlands and sensitive areas. Feed our cattle a ration (feed) designed to help eliminate excess GHG emissions (cow belches) and are continuing to improvement anywhere we can.
Do you feel it's important to educate the public on dairy practices? Yes, an informed public helps protect farmers from activists and restrictive regulations.
What's your favorite dairy product?