When dairy farmers speak to each other, we often toss around terms such as TMR, DA, fresh, dry, lactation, milk fever, and hundredweight of milk like we learned those terms back in the first grade. That's because we understand dairy terminology, it's second nature for us to use, and it works fine in conversations with peers. However, when we share our dairy stories to those outside industry circles, that technical jargon does not work to convey our message.
I really enjoy sharing my day with my wife (a pharmacist) at supper. She likes to know how many gallons a cow can give because she pictures that much easier than pounds. She also is amazed at how many pounds a cow can eat and really does not care about the NEL value of our silage . . . that's net energy of lactation for you dairy nerds.
She also loves to share with me about her day at the hospital pharmacy. I like to know that there are new medications that can possibly save someone having a stroke if administered quickly in the Emergency Room. I could care less about, nor do I understand, the chemical makeup of the particular drug. For me, it's too technical and, quite frankly, way too boring.
The lesson I learned from our farmer to pharmacist conversations is to reflect how others are hearing messages. If you explain things in terms the other person understands, then you will probably get asked questions about the cow and not about the terminology. Too technical simply becomes too boring!
My Rx . . . that's pharmacist lingo for prescription . . . talk gallons instead of hundredweight as it leads to a healthier conversation filled with a lifetime of sharing the miracle of producing milk.
My second Rx . . . talk to nondairy friends; you will quickly develop a list of Rx dairy lingo solutions.
Mark and Caitlin Rodgers are dairy farmers in Dearing, Georgia. Their "Daddy and Daughter Dairy Together" column will appear every other Thursday on HD Notebook. The Rodgers have a 400-cow dairy that averages 32,000 pounds of milk. Follow their family farm on Facebook at Hillcrest Farms Inc.