By Lauren Scott, Arizona Farm Bureau Intern
Dear Dairy Cows,
It’s Dairy Month, and I’d like to recognize you! I’ve lived in Arizona my whole life, and I’ve been fascinated by you and your dairy homes since the first time I could see you out the window of the car as we drove by. Of course, I was very little and didn’t yet know what a ‘cow’ was, but none-the-less I was intrigued.
When I was learning how to talk, I would get asked by various adults what sounds the different animals made. The dog goes ‘woof,’ the cat goes ‘meow,’ and my favorite: the cow goes ‘moo.’ Your milk was instrumental to my little growing body, and I wouldn’t be where I am today without it; so thank you.
I still kick myself about this, but when I was in kindergarten, I took a field trip to see a cow and experience milking it. Everyone had the chance to milk it, but it was so big, and I was so small that I wouldn’t even go near. But, dairy cow I didn’t milk, you stood there and let all the little ones milk you, one by one. You were so still and patient with the 20-or-so five-year-olds; I just wanted to thank you for giving us the opportunity to see what you do daily, even if I was a little scared.
In elementary school, my grandpa convinced me that white milk came from black and white spotted cows, chocolate milk came from brown cows, and strawberry milk came from magical pink cows that lived in a country far away. I believed him for a really long time, and every once and a while I like to think that those magical pink cows actually do exist in a faraway land I’ve never heard of; so thank you, dairy cows, for keeping the magic alive – even if you produce only white milk.
PHOTO BY JACK KURTZ
When I was in junior high, I didn’t think much about agriculture or where my food came from. I still drank milk every day, I still ate ice cream on Friday nights with my friends, and I still packed a yogurt in my lunch daily, but I didn’t realize that all that stuff was coming from an actual, living animal. I didn’t care. I just knew it was all so tasty and just appeared in my refrigerator; so I’d like to say a BIG thank you, cows, for those lost few years that I didn’t thank you enough.
When I was in high school, I joined the Future Farmers of America (FFA). Over the course of four years, I learned everything I could about livestock, especially dairy cows. By the end of my time in high school, dairy cows had become my favorite animal (and they still are!). Now every time I drive by a dairy I gaze out the window at you, cows, and I say a silent thank you for all you do and have done for me.
I think nowadays milk has become something people take for granted. Anyone can run to the store and grab a gallon, just like anyone can buy a 2-liter of soda. But that 2-liter of soda didn’t come from a hard-working cow. I don’t want you to think I take that milk for granted, dairy cows. I know where it comes from and I know it’s a full-time job for you!
To end, let me just say: thank you so much for ice cream, cheese, milk, and yogurt, butter, half-and-half, sour cream, and all other dairy products! You’ve been important to me all my life, and I’m sorry for the times I didn’t recognize you enough! I will forever be thankful for you, dairy cows! Happy Dairy Month!
Your #1 Fan,