Food Bullying Podcast

Dairy farmer millennial mom talks robots: Episode 44

 

This episode’s guest and her husband are millennials and third generation dairy, beef and crop farmers in Michigan.  They are working hard and using technology, including robots, to secure the future of their farm.  Ashley Kennedy shares insights on being a working mother, fostering a positive attitude toward food, and what exactly robots are doing on their farm.

Ashley Kennedy is mother to two passionate little girls, one about animals and the other about Cheerios. Ashley and her husband are third generation dairy, beef and crop farmers in Michigan. She is a long-ish distance runner usually hating herself for signing up for a half marathon. Her blog and vlog mix all of these things together by sharing about her cooking, training, farming, and mom-ing.

Millennial Dairy MomKey points:

What do robots do on the farm?

  • Milking robots that milk:  Cows love to milk via robot, they get pick when they get milked, and some choose to milk up to 6 times per day (every 4 hours). Typically, without a robot, cows are milked on a schedule in groups.
  • Pushes feed to the cows all day long so they have fresh feed
  • Mixes formula for calves

What do you wish people would know about what you do?

  • It’s not just about making money. 
  • We are passionate about our product because it is safe, wholesome, and healthy for your family and we take that very seriously.
  • We shop at the same store. We buy milk from the dairy case. We wouldn’t feed our children something dangerous.  We wouldn’t feed your kids something dangerous either.
  • Happy, healthy content cows make the most milk.  A comfortable cow makes more money.
  • We don’t make a lot of money, and don’t think about money every day.  Our lives revolve around making sure our animals are safe and comfortable.
  • Being millennial taking over farm and raising young kids:
    • Before kids working 80 hours per week.  Have all of the struggles of a working mom.
    • They were lucky her parents understood how important it was to talk about expectations were for retirement and they young couple taking on the farm. This is unusual for farming families. 
    • Financially the transition took longer than planned, which caused stress.
    • Had to give farming the best try – even if they fail.
    • Exciting things ahead for farming with technology.  She hopes to secure the future of the farm for their daughters.

How do you have a positive attitude toward food?

  • Sanity and mental health are important when choosing food.
    • Let negative feelings go.
    • We want to protect kids from things that will impact their health in the future, but that leads to well-intentioned mom bullying.
    • Milk fat became “bad for you” now the research supports dairy as part of a healthy diet.
  • Don’t over think it.
    • Our bodies and brains need carbohydrates, fat, and protein to function and grow.
    • Choose a few things that are important to you.
    • Milk fat became “bad for you” now the research supports dairy as part of a healthy diet.
  • Work with a registered dietitian (not a nutritionist, trainer, or someone from the gym).
    • A good dietitian is like a food wizard and a psychologist all in one.
    • Ashley is actively working on separating negative feelings from food.  Packing a lunch for her kids causes guilt.
    • Ashley fights against the “diet culture.”  Pregnancy triggered a strict diet to lose the baby weight which backfired.

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