Ensuring Milk is Antibiotic Free

When a cow is sick she generally needs medicine to feel better. Did you know that once a cow has been treated (received medicine) her milk/meat cannot enter the food system until ALL of that medicine has left her system? 

So what do we as farmers do to ensure that the milk/meat you buy is free from antibiotics and other medicines? Here are important steps we take at our farm to keep your food safe.

Immediately when a cow is treated she receives 2 red Velcro leg bands. Red means STOP. This is a fairly universal rule in any milking parlor. 

Red means STOP!


These 2 simple bands allow everyone to know that her milk cannot go in to the bulk tank.But she still needs milked. Her milker will now hook up to a separate  bucket. This way the milk she gives until her  withdrawal (the time it takes for medicine to leave her system) is over can be dumped down the drain. 

The pail her milk goes in to every milking until her milk is “good” again.


All medicine comes with a mandatory withdrawal time. It varies from medicine to medicine and has been established from many trials done by veterinarians and scientist.

We are required by law that ALL of our medicines are clearly labeled with the withdrawal times. Regardless if they are purchased over the counter or a persciption is required.

It’s important to keep track of all the medicines a cow is given. This way she can continue to receive care accordingly and we know when her milk can be sold again. For ease of communication we have a large white board that hangs in our parlor to record any treatments given. 


The note on the board has her name/number, the date when she was treated, what medicine she received as well as the day and shift (am/pm). 

This is not a very long standing record. We have a computer system where we enter all of our medical (as well as many other) records. Medical records are available on any of our animals that cover the time they were born until the leave the herd. 



The cows identification number, medicine given and date are entered in to the records system. If you happen to enter a cow is leaving the farm before all of her withdrawals are done the computer alerts you. This is another great tool! 

Farmers work diligently to keep the food you buy safe. Every load of milk is checked for antibiotics and other medicines before being unloaded to be processed. Over 3 million loads were checked last year (that’s a lot of milk!). Out of 3 million loads there were only 371 loads that tested positive. These loads had to be dumped. 

You can buy your milk at the store with confidence knowing several steps have been put in place to make sure you are buying the safest and tastiest milk possible! 

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Girls Can Be Farmers Too

You’ll only like spending time with cows until you find boys. 

I’ll never forget the day our vet told me this. I was in middle school and loved spending time with the cows. It hit me hard. 

With one of my girls, Pala, back in my younger years.


While it’s true that the average little girl doesn’t dream of growing up and being covered in cow poo daily, there’s plenty of girls who dream of living in the barn. 

Farmers are often envisioned as men. Agriculture is predominantly a male occupation. However, more and more women are declaring farming/ranching/agriculture as their main form of income. 14% of farms have a female principal operators. 

Being a female farmer never easy. Some people have a preconceived notion of what a farmer should look like. Most of these descriptions don’t involve a mom wearing yoga pants and a messy bun. Few things can be as disheartening as having a sales rep stop by only to ask to speak to your husband or father. 

Generally no one questions if a man can drive a tractor, pull a calf or AI (artificially inseminate) a cow. “You know how to that?” is not something that is asked to often of male counter parts.

Packing silage this past summer.


Women have a growing presence in agriculture. As more and more young women decide to cement a career in agriculture (be it sales,production, engineering) the gap we have with our male counterparts lessens. 

AND if you’re a young aspiring girl who wants to farm, here’s my piece of advice. Don’t listen to that old vet. There’s boys who like farming, that love girls who farm too 😉