Although I was not raised on a farm, growing up in small-town Kentucky meant I was never very far from one. There are nearly as many cows as people in the Bluegrass state, and in some counties the people truly are outnumbered by cows! Agriculture has been woven into my education– from elementary to college– and now comes in handy as the newest Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) with The Dairy Alliance.
In my new role, I’ve been able to learn more about what the dairy farmers in the Southeast do each day. In fact, I recently had the chance to visit Harvest Moon Farms in Crestwood, KY. Many people, including fellow dietitians, have never been to a dairy farm, but I would encourage you to do so to learn all about how farmers care for their dairy cows, steward their land and encourage milk safety. There is a lot of misinformation about dairy foods, and I’m proud to work for an organization that helps to clarify those dairy myths and educates the public on the importance of dairy in the diet.
One of the most interesting parts of my visit to the farm was meeting with Dr. Dan Riddell, the dairy nutritionist for Harvest Moon Farms. As the “dietitian” for dairy cows, he has a Ph.D. in ruminant nutrition and knows how the nutrients in a cow’s diet impact milk production and quality. Professional animal nutritionists such as Dr. Riddell help farmers formulate specific diets for cows based on a variety of factors, just as a dietitian would help you reach optimal health through food.
Milk is an excellent source of protein, calcium and other essential vitamins and minerals for us in all stages of life. There is no alternative beverage that can stand up to the nutrient content of cow’s milk. Wouldn’t you rather get more with milk?