Nine recorded, and possibly many more generations, of Zwebers farming is quite a legacy to maintain. Our family farm has always tried to farm in a way that is best for our land, our animals, and our family. Our best is going to be different than our neighbors, but that is okay.
When my husband, Tim, and I returned to the family farm in 2006, we knew we wanted to continue to farm, and we also knew that we had to find a way for the farm to support two families. My husband’s parents were not close to retiring. We had two choices, increase the amount of milk we were currently producing by increasing the number of cows we owned, or increase the value of the milk we were already producing. We decided to go organic. The organic market allowed us to keep our farm the same size, but provide enough income for two families.
Making the transition from conventional to organic was not tough for us. There are three main requirements that make USDA Organic certified farms different than our neighbors. While all farms may incorporate some of these components they are not required by law to do so, like organic farms are. Those three requirements are: cows eating from pasture, no GMOs, and no antibiotics. For the most part, we were already doing these things when we were conventional.
We have found that our practices of grazing, diverse cow diet, lots of exercise for our cows, and preventative practices such as vaccinations, actually prevents most illnesses. We rarely have a sick calf or cow. When an animal does get sick, we first use USDA Organic Standard approved medicines. Most of these include herbal remedies. If those treatments aren’t effective we use antibiotics after consulting with our veterinarian. Caring for the cow is our number one concern. Once she is treated with an antibiotic, her milk is not mixed with our organic milk. When she is healthy again, she is sold to a conventional dairy farm where she can live out her life.
Every other day our milk truck driver arrives to take the milk from our farm and brings it to the bottling plant only 30 miles away. Within 24 hours it is in grocery stores in our state and region. You can be guaranteed that our milk is a delicious and nutritious drink for your family. Our family will continue to farm in a way that is best for our land, our animals, and our family, and help put healthy milk on your table. No matter your choice at the grocery store, thank you for supporting dairy farm families like ours.
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