No, I have never milked a cow. Yes, I am an American farm girl.

Nearly every time I share with a non-agribusiness person about our family farm, I am asked the following question immediately, “Did you wake up early to milk cows?”

No, I did not. I did, however, wake up early to take buckets of corn out to my beef calves. Does that make me a unique farm girl?

No, it does not.

97% of today’s farms are family owned and operated. There are more than 2.1 million farms in the US (Ag Census.USDA) and out of that 2.1 million only 47,000 are dairy farms (Dairy Management, Inc).

You have a much higher chance of meeting a farm girl who showed pigs or goats in 4-H, than one who has milked a cow on her farm.  Before you feel bad for ever asking a farm kid that question though, please know that you are not alone in your thinking.  Have you ever opened a child’s coloring book about farm animals?  Rarely have I found a cow that wasn’t white with black spots (a Holstein dairy cow) or at least didn’t have a farmer knelt beside it primed for milking.  Has your child brought home an assignment from school about agriculture and it had a cow on the page? What did it look like? My guess is a dairy cow. Here’s what happened when my adorable farm girl niece was asked to color her assignment page in 1st grade…

Lydeas Picture

It was seriously a very proud moment for all of us. Definitely Facebook worthy!

A couple of months ago an exciting food chain opened up only an hour away. I have been a loyal customer of this chain ever since we moved to Louisville back in 2009. However, once we moved back to the farm I no longer had access to that rich southern sweet tea, perfectly breaded chicken nuggets or peanut oil fried tators. That all changed when one opened recently in Columbia. I have visited three times already and my taste buds were satisfied. I was treated with such gracious hospitality and they even offered free mouth wash in the bathroom which was perfect for my niece who was headed to an orthodontist appointment.  Yes, I’m talking about Chick-Fil-A. Their “eat more chicken” slogan doesn’t offend me as a cattle producer because I support all farmers. What does offend me though is that they use the wrong breed of cow to promote their chicken! If I was served a steak from a Holstein I would “eat more chicken” as well! Thankfully, I’ve only been served tender, mouth watering black Angus steaks. The breed American’s prefer for their choice of red meat. My brother thinks it’s just funny they have to use a cow to sell their menu.

One last example to prove that we do have a problem, Houston, comes from an incident on my husband’s iPad last night.  He was lovingly showing our toddler some cute animal videos to entertain her while I made dinner and she asked to see the one about a cow.  This comes as no surprise because she has been “mooing” since she was 9 months old and daily she asks to go out to see the cows. While watching the video together my husband realized it wasn’t just a cute cartoon, it was actually supposed to be educational. Great! It’s rare to find agricultural education on the toddler level. However, as they watched together he heard them rattle off what a cow is used for such as milk, caramel, cheese….NO BEEF!  Beef was not even mentioned when listing what a cow is used for! You may be asking right now if this is really that big of a deal….. ummmm, yes! Not just for our livelihood but for your health.

You see, beef accounts for iron, vitamins, protein and essential nutrients that are vital to your family’s health.

“Beef is an excellent source of vitamin B12 and very good source of protein, niacin, vitamin B6, selenium, zinc, and phosphorus. It is also a good source of choline, pantothenic acid, iron, potassium, and vitamin B2.” – (World’s Healthiest Foods)

Please, do yourself and your kids a favor and print out the included coloring sheet for them to work on while you cook up a delicious beefy meal and explain to them that a majority of cattle are used for beef and they taste yummy! Praise God for beef!

Fun Farm Facts Coloring Page on Cows (click me!)

Need a beefy new recipe? Try our family favorite, Cheeseburger Soup!