A Day On Our Family Farms

Sometimes the simplest things require a lot of work. That's why we celebrate our farmers so much. For them, producing milk for wholesome, delicious products — from yogurt and butter to cheese and ice cream — is a labor of love. And you'll taste the result of that love in every sip, spoonful and bite. 

A DAIRY FARMER’S SCHEDULE

Every dairy runs a little differently, but there's one thing that's always the same: the hours are long and the cows never take a day off.

Explore below to see how a few of our farmers spend their days, from before sunup to after sundown.

  • 4:30 A.M.

    Wake up and make a pot of coffee. A big pot.

  • 5:30 A.M.

    Start morning chores. These change by the day and the season, but there's never a shortage of things to clean, mend, track and catalog.

  • 6:30 A.M.

    Stop in for a quick breakfast before the day slips away.

  • 7:00 A.M.

    Time for the first milking of the day! This is a routine for everyone involved, and the cows are ready to go.

  • 8:30 A.M.

    Now that the cows are milked, they're ready to eat again. Actually, they're always ready to eat. Each milking cow eats about 100 pounds of feed each day.

  • 9:00 A.M.

    Feed the calves. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, even for cows! Calves are the future of the herd so they have to stay strong and healthy.

  • 10:30 A.M.

    Tend to the land. Healthy fields feed healthy cows, and keeping the fields in tip-top shape takes constant attention.  

  • 11:30 A.M.

    The milk truck arrives. A semi-truck loads up the milk and takes it off to the plant to be made into all of the products you love like milk, cheese, butter, ice cream and more.

  • Noon

    Grab a bite for lunch. Farming burns a lot of calories.

  • 1:00 P.M.

    Update the paperwork. Dairy farming is labor intensive, but it also involves a lot of record keeping to make sure vaccinations are current, growth is on track and the crops are tended to.

  • 3:00 P.M.

    Vet visit. This doesn't happen every day, but once or twice a week the cows need to see their doctor too, especially for those pregnant moms and young calves.

  • 5:30 P.M.

    Dinner for the cows. Making milk will leave you hungry so we make sure dinner is nutritious and prompt.

  • 7:00 P.M.

    Second milking. Our cows are on a strict milking schedule to keep them comfortable and happy.

  • 8:30 P.M.

    Relax, then hit the hay. Enjoy some precious family time, eat dinner, then rest up to tackle it all over again tomorrow.

Milk — From our farms to your family

Feeding the Cows

Feeding the Cows

Cows spend most of their time eating and sleeping. On some farms, that means grazing in a field, and on others, meals are delivered directly to the hungry herd throughout the day. Either way, farmers work closely with vets and nutritionists to ensure each cow is getting a precise blend of vitamins and nutrients.

Feeding the Cows

Milking Time

Man with white gloves pouring feed from bucket

At least twice each day, cows head in to the parlor for milking. Consistent milking ensures each cow is comfortable and healthy. It's also the perfect time for our farmers to check on how each animal is doing. Innovative technology, like robotic milking systems, increase efficiency and help cows spend less of their time milking. 

Man with white gloves pouring feed from bucket

Into the Storage Tanks

Into the Storage Tan

The milk is collected and stored in refrigerated tanks until it's ready to be picked up. These tanks are precisely cooled to ensure peak quality and safety. Before any milk leaves the farm, it's tested for antibiotics and bacteria levels. Once the milk that meets our strict standards is collected, these tanks and stainless steel pipes are meticulously cleaned before they're used for the next batch.

See How They're Made

Into the Storage Tan

On the Move!

On the Move

Chances are good you've seen milk tankers on the road. These special trucks are equipped with stainless steel bodies which are insulated to keep the milk cold on its way to a processing facility. It's the job of each driver to evaluate every batch of milk before collection. This way, only milk that meets our strict standards makes it to a processing facility, and ultimately, to you. 

On the Move

At the plant

At the plant

Once the milk arrives at our processing facilities, it's tested again for antibiotics and bacteria. Our strict adherence to the Safe Quality Foods initiative ensures that every step of the process meets the highest possible standards. 

Then, it's pasteurized to kill bacteria and reduce spoilage. Next, it's homogenized to ensure that the fat is evenly dispersed throughout the milk. Then, it goes through a process called separation, which involves removing the cream from the milk. The amount of fat remaining in the milk creates the different types of milk you see at the shelf: whole, low fat and skim. Lastly, if flavored milk is what we're after, this is when we add the chocolate!

At the plant

Ready for Your Fridge

Two children enjoying cereal at table

After the milk is processed, it's packaged, dated and tested one more time for quality and safety before it's shipped off to your local grocery store. At DFA, we have farms all across the country, which means our milk doesn't need to travel far. It might be hard to believe, but this whole process—from farm to shelf—happens in just 48 hours. 

Two children enjoying cereal at table