Thank you to the judges who participated in choosing winners in each category & those who took the time to help us read through applications (my parents!).
Thank you to everyone who participated by entering – we are honored you took the time to apply!
The WINNING ENTRY has been chosen and they will receive a phone call very soon. If for some reason that person is not able to take Birdie, we do have a backup in mind. Once confirmed, we will post online who the winning entry is!
The finalists for the “Win a Free Heifer Calf” contest are:
Interview: Shawna R.
Why Jerseys? Mikayla L.
Original Recipe: Brenda G.
Research: Susanne S.
Bible Study: Carolyn R.
Art: Allison G.
Wild card: Jennifer P.
Interview with Ted S., my Great Uncle and Retired Dairy Farmer By Shawna R.
The crisp winter air nipped at our noses as we made our way to the parlor. My heart nearly explodes with joy as I lock eyes with what quickly became my favorite cow, a doe eyed Jersey! It was this moment I prayed that God would show me the path to starting each and every day with this and gave purpose for my application of being awarded that beautiful little Birdie. I suppose you can say that dairy is in my blood, however a milk cow at our old ranch home, we have not! My ultimate goal is to raise my family and stock with the blessings of her milk while creating a farm and lifestyle the way God intended.
As a young girl in Idaho, I would BEG my folks to allow me to go to my Great Uncles dairy each winter break. A perfect little dairy with 12 stalls set at eye level, concrete and heat… oh to dream this as mine is not a dream that has ever left my mind! Each winter vacation I would go visit, excitedly waiting twice daily for the Three o’clock hour in which I would almost run to gather up the milk cows. I use the word almost as running in full coveralls, and galoshes over boots, well… I don’t have to tell you how nimble you don’t feel! To this day you can see my uncles eyes light up as he re-caps the story of this brave little girl who never batted an eye with a feisty cow, nor hesitated one second to reach in for a calf!
“Schmidts Dairy Puts You In A Good Mooooooo’d” You read on the barn as you enter the property. This farm originated from my Great Grandparents in the little town of Greencreek, Idaho. Great Grandmother Zita Schmidt is a saint, as that farm was started with a brood of 17 children! This dairy was operational until the last few years when the price of transporting milk for one dairy in this small rural town added to the 50 elapsed years since the youngest boy of 17 kids took over the Dairy. This equation made retirement look all the more delightful. Retirement is a funny word for a farmer, as after that many years of a twice a day three o’ clock date with your cows, you don’t just start sleeping in until noon.
SR-Do you have a favorite breed of cow, and why?
TS-I am always a fan of the Jersey and the Brown Swiss, as they are by far the most friendly and least apprehensive to load in the milk stalls.
SR-How long do dairy cows stay in your herd?
TS- They stay as long as they are producing healthy milk and healthy calves; some do better than others, but there is really no set timeline.
SR- What is your most lasting memory on the Dairy?
TS- (I was re-capped the story above) to be in total truth each calf born has its own special place in my heart.
SR-Would you have done anything different?
TS- Laughing, No.
SR-What do you feel is the biggest challenge to managing a Dairy Farm?
TS-Once you are a larger scale, managing 100 cows for example, you are challenged for a vacation from that life. Even to just go camping would often end up as a day trip somewhere with the kids as milking is an enormous responsibility to handle. As they grew my boys and the neighbor boy would come and be a backup for the farm.
SR-What advice would you have for a future dairy farmer?
TS- Do as much as you can on your own, and don’t be afraid to ask for help and don’t be afraid to make decisions, especially concerning your animals. It’s not always easy but it’s the way of life and you already know what to do.
SR-What would you say would be the ideal number of milk cows?
TS- 80 was a good number, I ran up to 120, but 80 was a good cap.
SR-Do you have words of caution that I should know of managing a dairy cow?
TS- Keep your cows first, happy and healthy at all times and she will be good to you.
SR-What do dairy farmers do to ensure safe milk?
TS- We were blessed to have a seamless operation that went from cow to storage. There were no buckets to carry, except for the bottles of milk to the calves that we kept separate.
SR-Are your cows given rBGH or any type of synthetic hormone? Vaccinations?
TS- I supplied for Dairygold, and the rBGH is not an option, not that I would do that to my cows anyways. Those girs gave me all they had each and every time. In fact at one time I had a big Holstein that would give 11 gallons of milk. Yes, 11. What more could you expect her to produce. Vaccinations, those were on a cycle for healthy cows and babies.
SR-Are your cows fed anything else besides grass, hay and grass silage? Grazing?
TS-We did a silage daily plus when the time allowed, grazing. We grow our own hay so they got a very constant diet.
SR-What do you feel will get you the highest milk production?
TS-Green grass, and a happy attitude. I talked to my girls, afterall we did spend countless hours together each and every day. There is no day off in the dairy world, and I enjoyed every moment of it.
SR-Is there a certain mineral or feed that you feel boosts the animals confirmation or milk production?
TS- Water would be the first thing I could think of and rest, each cow had her spot to lie comfortably warm and dry. Managing your cows comfort will get you more milk than any supplement. (We once got in trouble as kids for riding the cows!)
SR-Why are dairy farms getting bigger?
TS- If you already milk 10, milk 50 – there is more milk and buying power if you are outsourcing it. We got to a position that there was only one other small dairy up here on the prairie, as soon as they retired, I knew that was my time. I am happy and at peace with that decision, but they don’t make it easy on the small farmers. From buying supplies for your milk cows to the fields, everything is more affordable the more you are buying.
SR-Who would you recommend me to get in contact with as a resource on a home dairy?
TS- You always have my number and getting in a Dairy cattle association or club is a wealth of first hand advice.
Youth entry by Mikayla L. – Why Jerseys?
I grew up on a small family dairy farm in Southwest Idaho. My great-grandfather moved the family here from Nebraska in 1942, and they started dairy farming in 1946 with a herd made up entirely of Guernsey cattle. In January of 1957, they purchased a new dairy farm, and it came with Holstein cattle. In 1991, my father brought the first Jersey cow onto the property. Her name was Cream Creek Sooner Betty. After Betty arrived, we became hooked on Jerseys. My father gave me my first Jersey calf when I was just five years old. Her name was Chocolate, and I learned how to show dairy cattle with her. I enjoy showing in open class at the Western Idaho Fair every year with my family. I also have been in the 4-H dairy project for nine years. I have always loved Jerseys over any other breed. I think the beautiful Jersey cows are the best breed because of their amazing dispositions, fantastic milk quality, and great efficiency.
Jersey cattle are very well known for their fantastic dispositions. I love being around them because they’re always extremely nice and very gentle. I have never had aggression issues with a Jersey, which is why I believe they are the best breed for young children to be around. I know I greatly appreciated how gentle my first heifer was. Also they are the perfect size. They’re small enough for a five year old to handle. I think that’s pretty impressive. Whenever I have new members in my 4-H club’s dairy project, I start them out on a Jersey to practice showing or to learn how to show.
Another trait that Jerseys are known for is fantastic milk quality. Jersey milk contains a high level of butterfat, so it is very valuable. It makes the richest, best tasting dairy products, and is in high demand. The most common breed, Holsteins, cannot even compete when it comes to the awesome quality of Jersey milk. Jerseys can be utilized for commercial and smaller dairy operations alike.
Jersey cattle are also known for their extraordinary efficiency. Jerseys produce more milk on less feed than any other breed. They also produce more milk for their body weight compared to any other breed. They have great longevity as well, and can produce for a very long time. My father’s show cow, Lincrest D Betty lived to be nineteen years and nine months old. My cow, Lincrest Ace Ellissa is seven years old, and in her fifth lactation. She’s produced 80,000 pounds in her lifetime so far, and is predicted to produce 22,000 pounds of milk in this lactation.
Jersey cattle are my most desired breed because they have amazing dispositions, fantastic milk quality, and great efficiency. I think they will eventually become pretty popular within the commercial dairy industry and will hold up to production expectations. I enjoy having Jerseys a lot. They’re a great breed all around, and I’d definitely recommend them to any dairy farmer who wants to increase milk production, quality, and value.
Recipe Entry by Brenda G. – “Oyster Pie”
(Oyster stew with cornbread baked on top)
About 10 years ago, I was reading the book, “Misty Of Chincoteague” to my 7-year-old son, Granite. In the book, the childrens’ grandmother made a dish called “oyster pie” for dinner. That sounded really good to me. My while family loves seafood. So I invented this recipe and modified it a little bit through the years. I hope you enjoy it!
Family Sized Oyster Pie:
Make the oyster stew.
1/2 C Butter
1/2 C white flour
4 C whole milk
2 jars of fresh oysters (rinsed thoroughly and fried in a little butter until cooked through. Remove the chewy hinges, which look like a white circle. Cut into bite sized pieces).
2 cans of whole oysters, drained
2 Stalks Celery, sliced
1 C sliced carrots
Dash of tobasco sauce
1 clove crushed garlic
Salt & Pepper
Melt butter in large saucepan. Stir in flour until smooth. Stir in milk. Add garlic, tobasco, salt and pepper. (Add other seasonings if you like). Cook over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Add oysters. (Note: raw oysters will cause the milk to curdle.)
In small saucepan, cook celery & carrots until tender, in enough water to cover them. Drain thoroughly and add to stew. Turn heat to lowest setting while you make the cornbread batter.
Make the cornbread batter:
3 C white flour
1 C white sugar
1 C cornmeal
2 TBSP baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 and 1/2 C milk
4 large eggs
2/3 C vegetable oil
6 TBSP melted butter
Mix dry ingredients & set aside. Mix wet ingredients thoroughly. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients & mix until smooth. Pour oyster stew into a 13 x 9 cake/baking pan or extra large roasting pan. Pour cornbread batter evenly over the top of the stew.
Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, cover the top loosely with foil to avoid over-browning the top. Cook for an additional 20-30 minutes, or until the cornbread is completely cooked all the way through. Enjoy!
Research entry by Susanne S. –
So you want to milk a cow <— Click link for a great PowerPoint presentation!
Bible Study entry by Carolyn R. –
Art entry by Allison G. –
Lyrics for the song:
The wind at my back
The daylight fading
Smells so sweet
Under my feet
When the people have all gone home
That’s when we begin to roam
Through the fields
Under the sun
Is where we run
Beneath the sky
We all are free
In this land of milk and honey
The sun at my back
The golden glowing
Shines so bright
As day fades to night
Oh, we wander breathless
Weaving through the earth and sod
Oh, this world is endless
Granted by the grace of God
& a Judge’s Wild Card Entry
Entry by – Jennifer P.
Interview Experience: Mother Therese- Our Lady of the Rock
I explained to Mother Therese why I was investigating the possibility of a heifer. She had already heard about Birdie from Mother Hildegard who set up our meeting. She was very patient and seemed happy to share her experiences.
Were you raised on dairy farm? No.
How many cows are you currently milking? She is currently milking one cow. One of her cows just calved at the very end of January, a Jersey cross, and she may begin milking her also.
On average how long does it take to care for your cows on a daily basis? It can take anywhere from an hour to two hours a day depending on the season and how many cows are being milked. She is happy to currently be milking only one. (She just broke a small bone in her leg). One cow provides her enough milk to make cheese twice a week (4 gallons) and to provide milk to her island milk subscribers.
What do cows eat and how much do they eat? That is hard to say. The Monastery has an abundance of pasture which is open to the animals year round. In addition to the pasture, the cows are offered free choice hay at all times. Mother Therese also supplements with dairy grain.
What other chores involving the cow go into the one-two hour commitment? Other chores include, brushing, mucking, fresh water etc.
How much space does a cow need? Two acres should be able to support a cow if well managed and supplemented.
What type of fencing is required to contain the cow? The Monastery has secure fencing around its entire pasture. I was warned about making sure there are no weak spots because cows are curious and willing to investigate beyond their pasture.
What type of shelter is required? Shelter is provided for the cows year round however she has observed that the cows prefer to remain out in the pasture except under windy conditions.
Can cows be housed with other livestock? She has never had any problems. Her cows currently live with llamas, sheep and alpacas.
Do you keep a bull or do you use AI? Right now our cows are breed by bull. Are they Jerseys? No-She does not recommend keeping a dairy bull. According to Mother Therese dairy breed bulls are much more difficult to control than non-dairy breeds. She has used AI in the past and still has the equipment but no longer does AI. She has good things to say about AI.
How much veterinary care does a cow need? Shaw Island does not have a resident veterinarian therefore some of the challenges that a cow owner might experience and would call a veterinarian for she cannot. There are a lot of hands on learning experiences. Cows require yearly shots etc.
Do you use a milking machine? No Mother Therese does not use a milking machine. Her cows are milked by hand. She has had trouble free milking.
What about milk fever? Milk fever is a concern and it is something to be aware of but shouldn’t be enough to dissuade a prospective cow owner. All animals including cows can and will develop problems.
What do you find most challenging about your cows? Sometimes doing everything you can and still not being able to fix a problem. Seeing suffering, losing a cow or calf is always heartbreaking.
Do you have a book or resource you have found helpful and would recommend? The Family Cow. It was invaluable for her education about all things cow and has been a great guide for me as a prospective cow owner.
Are you willing to mentor me in this experience? Absolutely.
Do you think I should get a cow? Yes, without a doubt.