Talking with my kids about today versus when I was their age has been a fun way to pass the time, but in the same vein, it’s very sobering. I start to think back even further as I look at old photos of my great-grandfather and the first cows he owned and the tools at their disposal, and I am reminded how different it was back then. My mind then drifts to when I was a kid and the development of cell phones and televisions that weighed more than an adult with poorer quality than the tiniest screens have today. Although that’s fun to think about, the really amazing thing is to compare where the dairy industry was and how far we have come.
Over the last couple of generations, we have watched and learned about the cow and all her intricacies, helping her effortlessly silence life ending diseases all the while producing more milk than we ever thought to be possible. If my grandfather was alive today to see the things that people are implementing on farms today, it would absolutely blow his mind!
Robots and activity monitors on the farm were not even a sparkle in anyone’s eye in the early 1940s or 1950s. Heck, some of the best producing cows on some herds were making 70 pounds of milk, not more than a human generation or two ago. Now we are looking at animals that can yield nearly 200 pounds of milk with ease!
Let’s look at the last 10 years and where technology has gone in our world. In the last decade, we have seen extraordinary improvements and investments in technology across the board, nearly doubling and tripling efficiencies in many sectors with less effort and resources. The technology that has been created in the last ten years is going to yield vast and rapid improvements that I believe will be unparalleled to what we have seen in the last 20 years.
To put it in perspective, I remember my dad getting his first wired truck bag phone. Now we are carrying around watches that do a million more things than that bag phone ever could!
I believe that we have all found that no matter what the technology, we can find a use for it on the farm, and we have. I am truly excited to see where the dairy industry goes in the next few years, especially with the rapid adoption of new technologies that we are seeing on dairies.
I like to tell my kids the stories of where we have come from and the importance of our history, but I always end with, “Can you just imagine where we will go?”
Tyler Ribeiro is a fourth-generation dairy farmer born and raised in California. He is currently partners with his father at Rib-Arrow Dairy in Tulare where they proudly ship their milk to Land O’Lakes. Tyler is actively involved in the dairy industry, holding leadership roles in various organizations locally and across the United States.