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Farming


No Idle Hands: A Farm Photo Essay

by Rootstock Editor

Aug. 28, 2019

by Rootstock Editor

We all look forward to the long Labor Day weekend, right? 

Organic Valley farmers look forward to waking up before the sun even on a Saturday. But on Labor Day? The cows don’t know what that is. 

The herd still wants fresh, green pastures and clean water. People still need cream, eggs and milk to make delicious breakfast feasts. The grass doesn’t stop growing on a holiday. 

For all the farmers out there who don’t know what a three-day weekend is, this one’s for you.


 

A woman farmer throws grass hay from a trailer into a chute.

For organic farmers who believe that grass is the best food a cow can get, making hay is a routine as common as Saturday morning brunch in the city. Crystal Klaphake smiles while working with her siblings to send the hay up to barn hayloft for the coming winter on their Minnesota dairy farm.

Neal Klaphake stacks hay in a cramped hayloft of the organic family farm barn.

Her father, Neal Klaphake, takes the hay bales off the track and stacks them with a strategy all his own. It isn’t quite like Tetris since every shape is different. 

People who love Organic Valley milk often ask how a cow can be grass-fed in winter. This is a real glimpse into how farmers make that happen.

A boy in a white shirt, jeans and boots tosses grass hay to cows.

Even after cows are out in the pasture during the best parts of the day, they still get hungry when they do decide to go back to the barn. On the Regli farm in California, cows look forward to sweet, delicious hay hand-delivered even on the weekends.

A farmer wearing an Organic Valley hat hammers portable fence stakes into his green pasture.

Before cows can munch on fresh grass, Butch Lay in Tennessee puts up portable fencing to section off a fresh paddock—a small part of a larger pasture. For farms that focus on regenerative grazing, creating fresh places for cows to graze is an everyday kind of job.

A man holds a child while riding his horse as the farm dog jumps for joy.

Although the work is hard, farm life is often beautiful. The Stornettas in California check on the far reaches of the land they steward on horseback while their trusty sidekick frolics nearby. Farming involves the whole family—especially the doggos.

Juli Bansen overlooks her bountiful farm garden of spinach, onions, and more while her children weed in the background.

Many of the farm families in our cooperative who grow your food also grow their own! On the Bansens’ family farm in Oregon, 100% grass-fed Grassmilk is just one of the delicious things they harvest on a daily basis. 

Growing the highest quality organic food takes hard work 365 days a year, and we are constantly grateful to our nation’s farmers for their dedication, perseverance, and hard work. On this holiday weekend, we thank you, farmers, for making dairy that goes into the delicious Organic Valley Half & Half we pour into our Saturday morning coffee to give us the motivation you have in spades.