July 8 2024 10:38 AM

    What does it really take to make a glass of milk?

    Walking into a grocery store, picking up a gallon of milk, taking it to the checkout line, and bringing it to your fridge at home is a common task in many households. Buying a gallon of milk is simple, but all the things that happen to get the milk to the store are not. That raises the question: What does it really take to make a glass of milk?

    Coming from a dairy family, I’ve witnessed the hard work it requires to be an active member of the industry, and the list is never ending. The midnight phone calls, long hours, and unpredictable circumstances are all undeniable aspects that go alongside being a farmer. In conjunction with the hard work, dairy farms have several moving parts, and every role is crucial to the farm’s success.

    Between feeding, milking, and every outside job out there, there are countless tasks to be completed in just one day on a dairy. Just like my grandfather, my dad starts every day at 5 a.m. alongside the dairy cows. Many farmers work before sunrise and after sundown, because that’s the way that it goes. They pour blood, sweat, and tears into the industry that they’re passionate about.

    The list of these contributions goes beyond the farmer. There are the truck drivers, processors, advocates, and consumers that are driving factors to get milk to the grocery store. All these people are pieces to the large puzzle that ultimately gets you that gallon of milk.

    So, what does it really take to make a glass of milk? There isn’t just one specific answer, but the best one that I can give is that it’s the people. Whether you make, promote, or buy dairy products, you are an integral part of the cycle that brings milk from the farm to the glass.

    Behind items on the grocery store shelves, there are farmers working tirelessly, advocates speaking intently, and supporters driving the agriculture industry to success. In other words, thank a dairy farmer and their community for the milk that’s in your fridge. Without them, it wouldn’t be there.

    Morgan Oliveira

    Morgan Oliveira is the 2024 Hoard’s Dairyman editorial intern. She grew up working on her family’s dairy farm near Hilmar, Calif. As a student at Cal Poly University, Oliveira is majoring in agriculture communications.