Thursday, May 21, 2015

Cows at the Speedway

It's hard not to notice that the Indy 500 is just days away. Between hearing about practices (and unfortunately, practice injuries) on the news to attending events at the track, there's always something.

I spent part of Tuesday down at the track for the dairy association's annual Rookie Luncheon. The event honors the rookie class of drivers and introduces them to the famous tradition of the drink of milk in victory circle.

When I walked into the office Tuesday morning for a meeting before going to the track, my boss asked if my dress was cow print. "No, but would that really surprise anyone?" Nope, it wouldn't. I think the spots are supposed to be little leaves, but cow print is awesome. I'll take that.

I love this event since it's essentially an Indiana dairy industry reunion. It's a good way to see a lot of people all in one place.

Each year, two Indiana dairy farmers serving on the dairy association's board of directors are selected to present that famous bottle of milk to the winning driver. Each farmer has a two year term--the first as the "rookie" and the second as the "veteran."

As with most of the ag boards I work with, most of the people on it are men, but this year the rookie farmer is a woman. I got to know her when I visited her farm during my time working for the dairy association a few years ago. She's a lot of fun.

Meet Janet, the rookie milk woman for this year's race
My non-cow friends always tease me that I have a talent for finding cows or dairy people at every event I go to. Well...

So of course, I had to take a picture with the cow Purdue brought down.

Purdue University Dairy Club also brought two little calves. At lunch, I sat with a few industry friends and the medical director for the track and his son. He asked if the two calves belonged to the cow that was out there. Great question. The answer is no. Calves and cows are separated within the first day or so to ensure both mama and baby get the best individualized attention. This means ensuring that the baby gets enough colostrum (the first milk a cow produces after giving birth that is full of antibodies to jump start the calf's immune system) and to make sure the cow is eating. If she isn't eating (and sometimes after birth they don't want to), this can lead to some metabolic issues and we don't want that, so we keep a close eye on those new mamas.

They both had awesome questions. I don't think his teenage son had seen a cow before, so that was a great opportunity for him to learn more about farming as well.

It's bound to be a busy weekend around the circle city, so be careful and give yourselves lots of time to get where you are going. Also remember that many farmers are still out in the fields planting, so be cautious around farm equipment. Have a great weekend!

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