Bledsoe and Prock Families
“Dairying is about taking care of animals, and the people who do it well enjoy that part of it.”
Golden Genes Dairy ~ Riverdale, California
Jamie Bledsoe calls his son, Josh, the “cow whisperer.” It’s just one sign of how seriously the family takes its moral and ethical responsibility to understand the needs of their animals.
For the Bledsoe family, cows aren’t a job, they are a passion.
“Dairying is really about taking care of animals, and the people who do it well enjoy that part of it,” Bledsoe said.
Bledsoe is pioneering efforts to bring a new dairy animal care program to California, called Dairy FARM: Farmers Assuring Responsible Management. The national program was developed in 2009 as a systematic way for farmers to demonstrate proper animal care to customers.
“People want to know more about where their food comes from and how we treat our animals. FARM gives us a way to show the world what we are doing and credibly verify it. Mostly, it allows us a strong way to demonstrate that dairy farmers are doing a good job,” Bledsoe said. “In cases where there is a need for improvement, it will also help us identify issues and give folks the opportunity to improve.”
“The technology helps us do what we have always done, just better. Raising healthy, comfortable cows has always been job number one on our farm.”
Ray Prock, Jr.
Ray-Lin Dairy ~ Denair, California
Fifteen seconds flat. That’s how fast Ray Prock, Jr. can pull up one of his cow’s individual health records — on his cell phone.
“The technology helps us do what we have always done, just better,” Prock said. “Raising healthy, comfortable cows has always been job number one on our farm.”
With a complete health history of his cows right in the palm of his hand, Prock still walks his dairy daily to make sure the herd is healthy. When he notices an animal’s not feeling well, he makes a quick note of the symptoms on his handheld. After tending to the animal, he uploads the treatment information to his dairy’s health record database.
“I can make sure she’s up-to-date on her vaccinations or check when she had her last hoof trimming so she continues to move freely and comfortably on the farm,” Prock said. “Technology helps us better care for our animals. But at the end of the day, it’s the caring, not the tools, that matter most.”
“We know that nutritious milk comes from healthy cows, so we go to great lengths to track the health and well-being of our animals,” he added. “More information helps us practice better preventive medicine, and treat illnesses in a timely manner. That’s good for our animals, and also helps us always deliver a high-quality product for consumers.”