COWS & THEIR CALVES LIVING TOGETHER –
‘HAPPY COW’ MILK
How Now Milk is about being able to enjoy drinking milk, without the guilt.
Our mission at How Now Dairy is to rid the world of “Bobby Calves” – the 5 day old calves that are essentially a by-product in the commercial world of Dairy Farming. With very few exceptions the calves are separated from their mothers within a day or two. Some are kept on the dairy farm to become the next generation of milkers. Most of the rest of the calves (roughly half a million each year) are taken to abattoirs. This is just the ways things are mainly done today as dairy farmers struggle against large dairy companies and the pressures from the large retail outlets (you know, the unsustainable $1 a litre milk!). We empathize with the pressures placed on current dairy farmers but we also believe things can be done differently.
At How Now, we do things differently…. We raise ALL our calves and will continue to do so. But here’s the big thing – they stay with their mums from the moment they’re born – NO SEPARATION. Often they even come on into the dairy with Mum for a look around while she gets milked. Our attitude is, we are sharing the milk. There’s plenty to go round.
But before I continue with what we are doing, let’s go back to the beginning…. To tell you our story about ‘Happy Cow’ milk or ethical, kind, cow-centred milk¬ we need to talk about milk production generally.
Producing milk is fairly straightforward: a cow has a calf and then produces milk. This milk is then diverted via the milking process and ends up in our fridges.
That is the simple version. There is a lot more to producing milk than this – the hard work of dairy farmers milking day and night; the need to ensure quality feed and grazing to make the cows happy and healthy; the milk production process including milk tankers traversing the countryside to collect milk from the diary farm vats and deliver it to the milk production factories for processing, packaging and distribution. There are many people working hard to get that litre of milk to the retails stores and supermarkets.
Now Dairy and Dairy farming is a lot more complex and many changes to the industry also shape industry practices, such as the decline in family farms and the rise of large-scale corporate dairies more aligned to “factory farming”, the closure of small-scale dairy processors and the growth of mega-processors, the ultra-competitive environment that leads to various ‘efficiency’ techniques such as the use of pesticides and fertilizers on crops for feed, hormones and drugs used on the cows, and the additives placed into dairy products. We are not part of this and want to provide an alternative to this faster, larger, mega and ultra mantra.
Our approach is focused on an ethical cow-centred approach that is more humane. Being cow-centred means we are focused on starting our thoughts with the cow and then working on ways that we can achieve our objective (milk) that does the least harm by taking into account the ways to keep cows happy. Taking away their calves is not one of these ways. We are told that (very occasionally) cows abandon calves (we are yet to see it), and naturally sometimes calves are too sick to survive. But that doesn’t mean we have to remove every calf so we can get as much milk as possible from the calf and not be over-burdened with calf rearing. So we don’t remove them. But that is just the start and we can now talk about our HAPPY approach.
H – humane, applied ethics by being cow-centred. Calves stay with their mothers 24/7.
A – (artisanal) additive free production and processing with none of the hormones and other additives commonly used.
P – provenance of products with a closed loop process. Paddock-product-plate. No interventions.
P – production of milk and dairy products right next door to the dairy shed.
Y – yummy. Yes it is not as technical as the others but its true. More natural, more tasty.
Our cream is done the same way, we separate cowside (big companies just can’t get within a bull’s roar of this), then this amazing cream – cream like you have never tasted before – and the remaining skim milk go off to follow the same path as our luscious full cream milk. We’re not messing about and trying to be more clever, we’re just keeping it super simple and getting our milk to you almost as fresh as the suckling calf gets it.
Our cows are located on an amazing, 370 acre farm near Shepparton. It has trees in every paddock, with a creek running along the back of the property. We have a dairy and just nearby a cheese factory.
We are small, family owned and fiercely independent. But our dreams are big (massive in fact) and with enough people coming on the journey with us and demanding Kind Milk we think we’re onto something that’s going to change dairying around the world. We hope you will join us….
Kind Milk –
milk from a