Raising cows for milk/ is not an easy way/ to farm. The costs and labor/ involved/ make it difficult/ for a small farm/ to be profitable.
Bobolink Dairy/ in New Jersey/ raises milk cows/ that feed only on grass and hay/ all year. Jonathan and Nina White/ own the farm. This year, they have thirty-four cows/ and twenty-four calves. The Whites/ make high-quality cheese/ from the milk/ their cows produce.
The Whites/ have several kinds, or breeds, of dairy cows. They have brought together smaller breeds/ that do well/ outside in fields. Many of the breeds/ are common/ on dairy farms/ all over the country.
The Whites/ raise Ayrshire, Guernsey and Jersey cows. They also have Holstein cows, and even an unusual British White. But the prize animals/ at Bobolink Dairy/ belong to the Kerry breed. These cattle/ are mostly or all black. They are an ancient breed/ from Ireland. Although small in size/ for dairy cattle, they are strong and healthy milk producers.
The farm’s main male, or bull, is one of only about fifty Kerry cattle/ in the United States.
Mister White/ knows each of his animals/ by name/ and knows the way/ they act. The bull’s mother/ is Sarah. She is fourteen years old. That is very old/ for a productive milk cow. The Holstein breed, for example, has an average productive life/ of three to four years. These big cattle/ can produce up to forty-five kilograms/ of milk/ a day.
Industrial dairy farmers/ often give their cows/ the chemical bovine somatotropin, or bST. They use a man-made version/ of a hormone/ in cattle/ that is involved/ in growth and milk production. Federal agencies say/ it is safe.
Jonathan White/ does not sell milk/ and does not give his cattle/ bST. He can get about thirteen and one-half kilograms of milk/ a day/ from his cows. He turns that/ into five kilograms of cheese/ priced at forty-four dollars/ a kilogram.
The Whites/ started the Grasslands Cheese Consortium/ to show how small dairy farms/ can be successful.
Mister White says/ his business starts/ with sunlight and rain. He pays almost nothing/ for cattle feed. Land and cattle/ are his capital. He says/ small farms/ raising grass-fed cows/ can produce profitable products/ and be economically independent.