Updated: Sep 17
With the end of our season approaching and the majority of the herd pregnant, our thoughts turn naturally to the next generation... of cows, obviously! Since 1989, we've had what's called a "closed herd": we never buy outside stock, and all the animals in the herd were born and raised here on the farm. We chose this path for a number of reasons. One (a poignant one in these times) is health: since our animals are never exposed to other cows we're able to keep them shielded from diseases. Another is customizability: the types of cattle that work for a conventional US dairy have little in common with those that can handle our mountainous terrain and grass-based diet. But careful selection and breeding has given us, thirty years on, a herd that's can not only live but thrives on such a system, and produce excellent cheese milk to boot.
Our Meadow Creek Dairy breed is perfectly matched to our land, and working with the same cattle for multiple generations makes them very special to us. It can also make hard choices -- like this year, when economic necessity forced us to downsize the herd by almost 25% -- even harder. But it's the choice we stand by. We wouldn't have our girls any different.