Dairy Diary – Confidently Raising Safe Milk – Day 5

Krista_Stauffer_Milking_ParlorBy Krista Stauffer, dairy farmer and mom from Washington

I am a dairy farmer, but I am a mother first. Our family eats what our farm produces. I want to make sure that what my children eat is safe and nutritious. I am confident in knowing that the dairy products are just that: safe and nutritious.

We take antibiotics seriously on our farm. I believe a common misconception is that we routinely give our cows antibiotics when they are not sick. Antibiotics are a last resort for us. We treat our cows depending on the illness. For example, we would apply an udder cream for a cow with mastitis.  It all comes down to what exactly the cow has and how serious it is. If we decide to administer an antibiotic, there are several steps we take to ensure it doesn’t enter the milk supply.

  • Every cow gets red leg bands prior to being treated.
  • Once she receives her leg bands, her information is written down on a white board in our milking parlor as well as a treatment book. We write down her number (for identification), the date treated, what she was treated with and the date at the end of the withdrawal period.
  • While undergoing treatment, all of her milk goes into a bucket before being disposed of. This milk never reaches our bulk supply. Before any other cows can enter our milking parlor, all the equipment used to milk her has to be cleaned.
  • The process of milking her separate from the herd continues for the entire milk-withhold period according to the antibiotics instruction, or maybe even longer depending on the situation.
  • On our farm, we have a milk tester. We can test the milk from that cow before we add her back with the rest of the herd to ensure the milk is antibiotic-free.

That is what is done by us to ensure that antibiotics do not taint our milk supply. So what happens if a step gets missed?

  • Depending on the farm and location, milk is picked up every day or every other day. Our milk is picked up every other day. When the milk truck arrives, the driver takes a milk sample and checks the temperature of the milk. We also have a device that records the constant temperature of the milk. Then the milk sample will be sent to the lab to be tested for antibiotics as well as the overall quality of the milk.

So if they take a sample of the milk prior to being loaded on the truck to be taken to the plant, how does that do anything if it is not tested right then and there?

  • Every truck is tested at the plant for antibiotics prior to entering. If the milk sample is free of antibiotics, the milk can be offloaded. If it contains traces of antibiotics, it gets dumped, and the farmer responsible eats the cost and pays a fine.+

It is incredibly important to us that we provide a safe and nutritious product for you. We take antibiotics very seriously on our farm.

Continue to Dairy Diary Day 6

Return to Dairy Diary Day 4


Anja Heibloem Stroud

Good job. I milked for years and milk is one of the cleanest and safest products around. I wish I could find a reliable source of raw milk. Love your articles. Anja

Monique McLean

Thank you for the true story. So much media has us believing all cows are regularly dosed with antibiotics. You all have a voice, set the recod straight.
I have a good friend named David Lewis in Victor, Montana with Dairy Gold who explained this exact process and how frustrating it has been to educate the public of the many steps that are in place to assure sage milk for our families.


I was a service technician for a dairy equipment company in California for 15 years. I worked on all equipment for a variety of dairies during that time; Small family to large commercial operations. These items and procedures outlined in this article are standard throughout the industry. I am still an advocate for the dairy industry as a whole despite leaving the service aspect of the business under less than favorable circumstances. I am a little puzzled that this article attempts to portray these procedures are unique and innovative to this particular farm when in fact these are standard.


Hi Tim,

This article is me telling MY farm story. I never try to speak for our entire industry even though I know these are standards across the board.


Mini Cheese Stuffed Meatloaf Cups - Sweetphi

[…] How do you manage pests and disease? Well as far as pests, we let our farm dog take care of that. The key to disease or sickness is healthy animals. Making sure that our girls get top quality feed and keep their home clean is how we do that. They are fed every day with new feed, have access to fresh water and we clean their barn twice a day. We clean the alley ways twice a day with our tractor and we hand rake their stalls twice a day as well. If someone does get sick and someone will no matter how well of a job you do, we will treat them with antibiotics. There are strict withdrawal periods we have to follow. Read more here: http://www.thefarmerswifee.com/are-there-antibiotics-in-my-milk-the-answer-is-no/& https://findourcommonground.com/blog/dairy-diary-confidently-raising-safe-milk-day-5/ […]


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *