As a Rotarian, I was able to visit a Dairy farm about 45 minutes away from where I live. Now when I say a dairy farm, this is the mother of dairy farms with approximately 4,000 cows being milked 3 times daily. All of the milking is done electronically on a rotary conveyer that can milk 80 cows at a time, and they are able to get about 80 pounds of milk out of each cow per day.
These numbers mystified me. Kirk mentioned that all of the cows are artificially inseminated and they typically will have 12 cows birthing per day. Can you imagine – 12 births per day! They even had a coloring system which told workers which cows were pregnant or not. The babies you see to the right had just been bor within the last hour of this photo being shot.
This farm was the cleanest farm that I had ever seen. They are the only farm in Wisconsin and one of a select few in the United States that uses all waste products from the animals as well as from the local community to feed what is called a digester. This cement enclosed structure is basically a bacteria laden energy making machine. All of the waste form the cows as well as other by-products from companies throughout Northeast Wisconsin are fed into the digester and is turned into raw energy that is sent to the power grid as well as 22 days later solid waste is removed to make a product that is very light to the touch and makes great lawn fertilizer (little to no odor) as well as bedding for the cows. (See below)
This is grueling work and definitely not a profession I would ever see myself doing. I saw my great grandfather and how hard he worked on his farm and know that being a college administrator is fine for my way of life. I salute the hard work of farmers for what they do and contribute to our society.
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