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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Sunday, April 10, 2011

How It's Made - Canadian Dairy Farmer

It always amazes me how out of touch with food production many urban dwellers really are.  One of our kids is a primary grade teacher.  Do you know if you ask a child in grade 2 (age 7) where apples come from the first response is the grocery store.  Some of these children have never been to a farm and have no concept as to where their food actually comes from.  Even parents don't think of the farmers who put food on their table.  There is a very good message circulating along the countryside, throughout communities and on lie.  That message is "If you ate today, thank a farmer!"

The plight of Canadian farmers echos what is being seen globally.  Many of our friends and family are farmers - full fledged, that's how they make their living farmers.  One of the biggest problems is their children do not want to stay on the farm when they get older so there is that drain.  Many farmers simply can no longer make a living by farming alone so they and/or their spouse must work off the farms as well.  Farmers are self-employed lacking the employment benefits like CPP, UI, prescription coverage, dental coverage, incidental medial coverage, and retirement plans.  Young folk going into farming as a way of life are few and far between.

I found this great video of a young couple starting out as dairy farmers in 2004.   It is refreshing to hear their optimism.  It is now 2011 so I would be very curious whether they are still dairy farming but with the cards stacked against them it is doubtful.  Dairy farming is an expensive operation and as with any farming endeavor there are risks but it is possible to make a living.  Part of that is due to the price of milk being controlled by the Dairy Board so Canadian dairy farmers are guaranteed a fair price for the milk they produce. 

Dairy cattle produce milk only during lactation so they are artificially inseminated yearly for 6 years.  The newborn calf suckles a couple of days then goes to another paddock to be raised.  A milking cow will produce about 35 L of milk per day for 10 to 12 months.  Associated costs include feed, vet bill, transportation, abattoir, bedding, barn heating/electricity, equipment as well as costs for maintaining equipment.  In addition to that, a dairy farmer cannot simply pick up to go on vacation as the cows need daily attention.  At best a family member or hired hand can help out.  Think of all the dairy you use on a regular basis all possible from the dedication of Canadian dairy farmers, then say a word of thanks!

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