The Conrad Family
Dairy Farmers from New Holland, Ohio
Greg Conrad is a third generation dairy farmer. Together with his parents, his wife Judy and four children, the family cares for about 100 cows and farm 400 acres in New Holland, Ohio. The family is passionate about providing the best care for their cows while still being very involved in their local community
What is a normal day like on your farm?
Greg: The day on the dairy farm usually starts here at 5:00. That’s when the morning milking starts, and we’re usually milking between 5 and 9 a.m. Then we’re doing a lot of feeding the cows, feeding the calves and bedding so the cows have proper housing. As soon as they’re done milking in the morning, the cows come out and are on pasture during the day. Then they come in close to 5:00 so that they can go back toward the barns, where they’re milked for the second time in the day. Now, of course, it’s spring right now, and there’s some good pasture. When it changes to winter, the cows are pretty much kept inside.
Do cows know when it’s time to be milked and go out to the pasture?
Greg: Cows love to have a routine, and, once they get used to the routine, they have no problem repeating it. A day for them is they’re starting out getting milked, then at some point they’re let out into the pasture field. Most of them make their way out, no problem; they don’t have to be told where to go. As time goes by during the day, they may migrate their way back toward the gate. So typically, if they do have to be called back in, I can walk up there and give them a big call or say “C’mon, babe!” They have great hearing and can hear from a great distance. Typically, they will come running, and they know exactly what’s supposed to happen. They know to be up toward the gate, ready to come in before 5:00 so they can get in there to get milked again.
HEAR FROM THE FARMER
Hear Ohio dairy farmer’s daughter Macy Conrad share why she wants to be the next generation to work on her family’s dairy farm.
How do you know if a cow is sick or needs medical attention?
Greg: We milk around 100 cows, and I know every cow we’re milking. I know what they look like from day-to-day, so, if I see a cow that doesn’t look right or maybe that didn’t eat right in the milking parlor, I know that something is off with her. Then, we watch closely to see if she does have a problem and needs some kind of treatment and make sure that she’s cared for. It’s important with that animal-farmer relationship that you know your animals; you watch, you know what to look for as far as signs that she’s not maybe feeling the way she should.
How can you be confident milk from your farm is safe?
Judy: I wouldn’t be scared of any dairy farmer’s products because I know the regulations they go through, and I know the care that they take; the pride that they take in their farms, especially family farms that have been generational, like ours. I know that the animals are well cared for. I’m confident in the system that we have to regulate the animal agriculture industry and the food chain.
Greg: Our milk is probably tested more than the water you’re drinking out of your faucet. We have to follow regulations to produce the milk. Once the milk truck comes to pick up our milk, he takes a sample. That sample is tested multiple times to make sure the milk has no antibiotics and that it is safe and wholesome.