First-Generation Dairy Farmer Emily Dornan Celebrates June Dairy Month Giving Back to CommunityFri, 21 Jun 2019 13:10:55 CDT
Emily Dornan is a first-generation dairy farmer who along with her husband and children run a dairy operation out of Carny, Okla. contracted with Highland Dairies. Dornan recently volunteered to represent her chosen industry at a blood drive hosted by DairyMax in conjunction with the Oklahoma Blood Institute. During that event promoting June Dairy Month, she took a moment to sit down with Radio Oklahoma Ag Network Farm Director Ron Hays to talk about her life as a dairy producer and why the industry and the products it produces are essential to a healthy, nutritional diet. You can listen to their complete conversation by clicking or tapping the LISTEN BAR below at the bottom of the page.
“Being a dairy farmer has opened a lot of opportunities for our family that if we had a 9 to 5 job we would have never been able to do,” Dornan said. “Our kids are with us 24-7. It’s just something I feel like has been a big thing for our family and we wouldn’t change it.”
The Dornan’s operation consists of 200 head of cattle with about 150 cows currently being milked. Dornan and her husband are the primary laborers on the farm that keep their business going. They also employ two other farm hands to help especially during the summer months when the extra help is needed to hay and put up silage. Dornan describes their parlor as an “average dairy barn” with the capability of milking 11 cows on each side using swing milkers. The milk they produce is shipped through Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) to Chandler, Okla. and processed by Highland Dairies.
“It’s a 24-hour a day, every day job - even on holidays,” she remarked. “But, like I said, I wouldn’t change it.”
Nor would she change DairyMax’s mission to engage and support the local communities it serves, Dornan says. Events and initiatives like their recent blood drive not only help communities, it also creates an opportunity for consumers to meet and interact with local dairy producers. During these interactions, producers like Dornan are able to connect with and potentially educate consumers about dairy’s role in a healthy, balanced diet. Through her advocacy, Dornan says she has hopefully been able to raise dairy’s profile in the minds of consumers who may have been skeptical at times, confused by the misinformation floating around in the market space.
“We go through two or three gallons of milk a day in my house and then we have friends who don’t drink milk at all,” Dornan commented. “I know people are trying to eat healthy and I try to explain to them that milk and dairy is important to their nutrition. But, I hear some people say that dairy is fattening. So, I tell people to look at me - I eat dairy every day and I’m not overweight. I think it’s more about your lifestyle and not just overconsumption. It should all be looked at as a whole.”
Despite the challenges family-owned and operated dairies continue to face, Dornan says they will endure the hard times - if for nothing else - the love of doing it.
“We’re hopeful that things will come back up. But it doesn’t matter if we are milking two cows or 200 cows at this point,” she said. “We’re not going to quit. We’ll do it until we can’t do it anymore.”
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