Bad weather.  Long days.  Challenging economic conditions.  Public criticism.  Those are a few of the challenges dairy farmers face these days, even though technologies like robotic milking machines are supposed to make their job easier.  At the recent Prescott County Holstein Club’s Family night at Wilkridge Farm near Fournier, The Review took the opportunity to ask some of the dairy farmers there what they thought the public needed to know, or what it could do to show more respect for what they do.

“We care for our animals, they’re our pride and joy,” said Rony Odermatt, who farms near Dunvegan.

His partner Tiffany, holding their son Marco, emphasized that dairy farming is a profession farmers take seriously.

“Our dairy cows are bred to produce milk for us, it’s not something we take away from them.  We take very good care of them, we spend long hours everyday taking care of them,” she said.

Wim Keurentjes of Kirk Hill said the best way for people to get a better understanding of what dairy farmers do is to visit a farm and see for themselves.

“Every morning when you get up and have a bowl of cereal, thank a farmer because the milk on that cereal just didn’t come out of a jug, it came out of a lot of hard work to get it there,” said Al Nixon, a farmer from the Vankleek Hill area.

Ashlie Hardy from Martintown said it is important for people to know where their food comes from.

“I think it’s important if you get an opportunity to go out to a farm and actually see what they do and how they do things,” was her advice.

She noted that farming is a 24-hour job that continues 365 days a year.

Colin MacKay from McCrimmon had a similar answer.  He said non-farmers need to visit farms and see how things are really done instead of believing what they see on the internet.  MacKay was referring specifically to online allegations about animals being mistreated.