The Spahr Family
Dairy Farmers from Findlay, Ohio
Spahr Jersey Farm, in Hancock County, Ohio, is home to 400 Jersey cows and 1,500 acres of crops which are cared for by Brian, a fifth generation dairy farmer, and wife Laurie Spahr and family.
What is it like being a dairy farmer?
Laurie: My husband, Brian, is a fifth-generation dairy farmer, but I didn’t grow up with that background and didn’t realize how hard dairy farming can be. It’s all day, every day. There always has to be someone here to take care of the cows. However, that’s also the best part. I’m so happy that we had the opportunity to raise our kids on the farm and to be able to show them where their food comes from and the hard work that goes into it.
How do I know my milk is safe?
Laurie: We know our consumers are getting a safe milk product because we know how the cows are fed, how they’re being cared for, etc. Milk is one of the safest foods in the world because of the many regulations and tests it goes through before it ever reaches the consumer. In fact, milk is never touched by human hands through the entire process – from the farm to the fridge.
How do you balance being a good neighbor with what you do on the farm?
Laurie: We like to say we have the best of both worlds of living in the country, but not being too far from the city. That means maintaining good relationships with our neighbors is important to us. We make sure to let them know ahead of time when we will be applying manure to the fields. We just try to be open and let people come and educate them on what’s going on here.
What are some ways that you keep your cows comfortable when it’s cold?
Brian: In the free stall barn, it’s all about keeping the wind off the cows during the winter. Cows generate a lot of body heat, so once we close the doors and curtains to block the wind, they stay pretty warm. We also use deeper bedding to make sure they can rest warm and comfortably. We have a temperature-controlled facility where we keep the calves so we can make sure they are warm in the winter and cool in the summer. This allows us to keep a close eye on them and make sure they are as healthy as possible. Everything is better if we do these things – the cows will live long lives, and we will have a healthy milking herd.
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