The Student Affiliate Division and Grad Student Division (SAD, GSD) of the American Dairy Science Assn. (ADSA) ventured out of the ADSA annual meeting in Cincinnati this weekend to Yellow Spring, Ohio, for a tour of Young’s Jersey Dairy.
Young’s is a highly agritourism-based dairy that milks 40 cows. Instead of shipping the milk, the dairy sells its homemade products in the various restaurants and shops on the property. It offers many different cheeses, including smoked cheddars, brie, curds, aged cheddars, Colby jack and swiss. It also has many flavors of ice cream that change depending on the season, and even have a flavor called “Cow Patty”!
There were two parts of the tour - a dairy foods portion and a management portion. In the dairy foods portion, the group learned about the cheese and ice cream making processes as well as the marketing. Discussed was how the farm must carefully monitor its milk production since milk is primarily used for cheese making and cannot be shipped if there is any excess. This also leads to a semi-seasonal way of operating since the farm works to calve more cows (especially heifers) during summer when the demand is highest for ice cream and cheese.
During the management part of the tour, the group learned about the different feeding practices used by the farm. Unlike most farms in the U.S., Young’s does not feed corn silage. The reasoning being that the butyric acid from the fermentation process causes the cheeses aged for greater than a year to have a sour after-taste. Instead, a very high-quality alfalfa hay, pasture and a low-protein grain mix is fed. The cows are milked twice daily using bucket milkers by the farm’s very own Young brothers. All milkings are open for the public.
Overall, it was very interesting to see Young’s Dairy. It is a farm that can be considered very different when compared to the rest of the dairy industry but judging by the success of its value-added products and agritourism, this may be the way the dairy industry is headed.
Submitted by Jessica Sexton, an animal science student at the University of New Hampshire.