As a Dietetic Intern, you never know where your rotations are going to take you. My time with Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Child Nutrition Department led to my favorite adventure yet. Through the Fuel Up To Play 60 program, students from Lebanon Road Elementary were invited to tour the dairy at White Rock Farms and I was excited to tag along. I had never had the opportunity to learn the entire process of where milk comes from.
I was blown away by the beauty of the farmland. White Rock Farms has acres upon acres of rolling hills and warm, dry barns for the cows to call home. I saw a few of the 580 cows going through their milking process. Keeping the cows comfortable and healthy is the dairy farmer’s first priority as both directly impact the amount and quality of the milk the cows are able to give.
In order to keep the Jersey’s and Holsteins comfortable and on a consistent schedule, they are milked every 8 hours. The cows even have a nutritionist who creates 9 different recipes of feed mix based on what the cows are digesting well, their age, and the stage of lactation they are in. I soon realized the cows and calves living at White Rock Farm live a luxurious life. They enjoy being milked three times a day, go on vacation when they’re pregnant, and the calves have their own personal house to sleep in.
We gathered for lunch and much to everyone’s surprise, Graham Gano, placekicker and Fuel Up To Play 60 Player Ambassador from the Carolina Panthers spoke to the students. Graham shared how important the health benefits of dairy are to keeping him strong and healthy and encouraged the students to be leaders in their school. As a future Registered Dietitian, I am glad to know students are learning where their food comes from and meeting farmers. In fact, if you ever have a chance to go on a farm tour, take it. There’s nothing like seeing it all and asking your questions directly to a farmer.
Katie Busker, MS
Katie is a Dietetic Intern at Lenoir Rhyne University. She is currently completing her administrative rotation at Child Nutrition Services Charlotte Mecklenburg School System. Katie graduated from NC State in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition along with minors in Sports Science and Psychology. She then went on to graduate school at Meredith College where she received a Master’s of Science in Nutrition. She is very interested in preventative nutrition therapy as well as working with children to improve lifestyle behaviors.