Dietitians Learn about California Dairy Farming and Values


Dietitians Learn about California Dairy Farming and Values

17, April 2018 10:00 AM

Today, more than ever, consumers are genuinely interested in where their food comes from. However, in a world of information at our fingertips, it can be difficult to distinguish what is factual, and what is not. Last month, Dairy Council of California helped 20 registered dietitian nutritionists go directly to the source of their dairy foods with a trip to a dairy in Galt, CA as a California Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (CAND) Public Policy Workshop pre-conference tour. 

Dairy Council of CA staff and board members Stephen Weststeyn, a third generation dairy farmer from Willows, CA; Sarah Goreham with Sunnyside Farms; and farm manager Arlin Van Groningen accompanied attendees on the bus and on the farm, sharing their passion and commitment to dairy farming and milk processing. Along the way, attendees learned about cattle feed, animal welfare, milking practices and production, milk processing safety, dairy farming sustainability and milk processing beyond the farm. 

As dietitians focused on helping humans get the right combination of nutrients for optimal health, attendees really seemed to enjoy a presentation from dairy feed nutritionist John Kennedy. Kennedy explained how dairy cow nutrition works, feed mixing ratios for optimal nutrition and even how cow biology enables them to convert agricultural waste products like cotton seed and almond hulls into nutritious milk. 

Dairy sustainability was a popular topic during the tour as attendees viewed a methane digester on the dairy, which turns cow manure into renewable energy, such as electricity.

Reflecting on the day, attendees walked away with a deeper understanding of California’s top agricultural product, milk, and the hard work that goes into dairy foods from cow to container. In post tour surveys, attendees shared what they learned about dairy farming:

“A lot. Great to learn about the ruminant stomach and how it works. That to have high production cows must be well fed and live in a low stress environment.” 

“Everything! Knowing nothing going in, I definitely gained knowledge and respect for dairy farmers.”

“It's efficient and very scientific.”

“Dairy farming is a labor of love and labor intensive!”

Attending a farm tour- whether to a dairy, a vegetable farm or an orchard- provides an opportunity for health professionals, educators and consumers to learn first-hand about the work that is required to grow and raise nutritious food that feeds the world. If you are interested in hosting a future tour at your dairy, please contact me at [email protected] 

James Winstead, RDN
Industry Relations Manager

Tags: Dairy Farm Tour nutrition education registered dietitian nutritionist sustainability

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