Johnson of Providence Dairy explains misconceptions in industry

Published 4:52 pm Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Paul Johnson of Providence Dairy spoke to Rotary on Tuesday afternoon about life on a dairy farm and the misconceptions people often have regarding dairy products.

He said 1.8 percent of the U.S. population provides food for 155 people. Johnson explained very few people are involved in agriculture and even fewer understand agriculture. On Johnson’s farm, they deal with the cattle and feed them specific rations that help meet the cow’s growth capacity, because of this they are able to produce 10 gallons of milk per cow per day. They are currently producing more milk in dairy products that can be consumed in the U.S. and are dependent on 10 percent of products that can be exported.

The issue with this is that people are not drinking as much milk as they used to, Johnson said.

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Johnson referred back to the good ole days. He said dairy farmers used to be able to rely on the fact that every morning at breakfast families would sit around the table and eat eggs, bacon or cereal all accompanied with a glass of milk. Today that is no longer the case. Because of this, the farming community had to get bigger to compete. Today, milk is convenient. Consumers can buy it 24 hours a day at any store and have a wide variety. Johnson’s concern though is that parents who don’t drink milk, even when it is convenient, produce children who don’t drink milk.

Children in grammar school already struggle to drink the milk they are provided with because it is fat free and has a lack of taste. If they see their parents are not drinking it, they won’t either.

Another reason Johnson believes people aren’t drinking milk is because they aren’t educated on where it comes from. It is reported that 27 percent of Americans believe chocolate milk comes from brown cows. People have never seen a cow or touched a cow and don’t understand how the milking process works and how it is processed and rids itself of bacteria.

Because of this misconception, Johnson asks parents to take the time out to talk to their children and explain food safety and where their food comes from.

America has some of the highest food standards in the world, and dairy farmers are working harder than ever to create an even higher standard. They have worked with their consumers to create longer expiration dates and want to continue making their buyers happy, but they can only do so when the buyer understands the dairy process Johnson finished.