Holy Cow, Why is that Cow so Skinny?!
By: Mississippi State Senior Seminar Dairy Group
As the dairy group, we are here to inform you that these cute little cows serve a purpose to provide for us. Many people have negative things to say about producers. They are concerned that producers do not adequately feed their animals or take care of them. Cattle, just like dogs, are not all designed for the same purpose. A German Shepherd is not built the same as a Chihuahua, as a dairy cow is not built the same as a beef cow. Both types of cattle serve a different purpose. Dairy cows are bred to produce milk, while beef cows are bred to produce meat.
Ms. Susie Wall, a jersey heifer-calf farmer in Sturgis, Mississippi, feeds her calves twice a day allowing them to get the amount of nutrients they need to be healthy and produce milk. She started raising heifer calves on her family farm to teach her sons responsibility and stewardship. When prompted about issues she has encountered from the community, Ms. Wall said, “Over the past ten years, I have noticed that the public perceives dairy cows as emaciated and frail.” People criticize that they can see the cows’ ribs and bones leading them to think that the owners do not feed them enough. Generally, the public does not understand that dairy cows are not meant to be muscular and over-conditioned. Dairy cows serve a purpose, and that purpose is to produce milk. Ms. Wall shows love for her animals as if they are her pets, but she knows that they are livestock and have a job. If a dairy cow is overweight, her udders will become filled with fatty tissue, inhibiting her milk production. A high producing dairy cow is using her energy to produce milk, thus she is leaner than a typical beef cow whose goal is to use the same energy to gain weight and fill out. The farmer and the cow work to benefit and provide for each other, contrary to the belief that only the cows work for the farmer. We, as the dairy group, aim to inform our local community about the dairy industry and remove any confusion or misinformation that stems from lack of knowledge.