Cow care starts with the farm owner

Hoard's Dairyman: 

Cow care starts with the farm owner

Date: 
Thu, 12/12/2013

Notice to the help

W.D. Hoard’s Notice to the Help set the standard for all farm staff over a century ago.

by Corey Geiger, Hoard’s Dairyman Managing Editor

The recent video showing employees at a northeast Wisconsin dairy mistreating dairy calves and cows is very disheartening. No one can condone those actions. As dairy farm owners, we must reinforce to our employees that quality care is job number one. Everything else is secondary.

Some consumer groups have come to think that the hiring of employees on dairy farms is a recent development due to growth in herd size over the years. That is far from reality, as dairy farms needed employees or large families to serve as the labor force to hand milk cows and perform other manual cow care functions on dairy farms over a century ago. Just like that era, hiring and training employees to take care of cows as good as the herd owner does takes continuous work and long-term dedication. Even so, we all need a reminder of cow care and handling basics now and then.

To that end, W.D. Hoard’s Notice to the Help stands as true today as it did when it was written back in 1885. We’d encourage you to read Hoard’s message and share it with your entire farm team. It sums up cattle care as succinctly as any message we know. Copies hang at our entrance of the parlor at the Hoard’s Dairyman Farm and in the employee break room.

NOTICE TO THE HELP
THE RULE to be observed in this stable at all times, toward the cattle, young and old, is that of patience and kindness. A man’s usefulness in a herd ceases at once when he loses his temper and bestows rough usage. Men must be patient. Cattle are not reasoning beings. Remember that this is the Home of Mothers. Treat each cow as a Mother should be treated. The giving of milk is a function of Motherhood; rough treatment lessens the flow. That injures me as well as the cow. Always keep these ideas in mind in dealing with my cattle. — W.D. Hoard.

If you would like to order a copy of this message, send $3 to: Notice to the Help, Hoard’s Dairyman, P.O. 801, Fort Atkinson, WI 53538. Translated copies also exist in Spanish. For orders outside the U.S., higher shipping rates may apply. A copy hanging by the entrance to your farm or by the time clock at your dairy may serve as a constant reminder to all who work with animals on your farm.

Just how insightful was Hoard’s advice? Renowned cattle behavior specialist Temple Grandin wrote this in our October 10, 1999, issue of Hoard’s Dairyman, “W.D. Hoard’s wisdom has now been proven with science. Scientists have mapped the fear circuits of the brain, and they know how these circuits work. Dairy managers can use this information to train employees on the importance of treating dairy cows with kindness.” To read Temple’s entire October 10, 1999, article, “Reducing fear improves milk production,” click here.

Corey blog footer

The author is the managing editor, and he brings 18 years of industry leadership to our readers overseeing all editorial content and production of the magazine. His degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison combined dairy science and agricultural economics.

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