Being a dairy farmer may seem uneventful, but there is a lot more that goes into the process than people realize.
Michaela Wilson is a fourth-generation dairy farmer and the owner-operator of Blue Ribbon Dairy in Tallassee, Alabama.
Wilson graduated from Auburn University in 2010 and sells her product in multiple locations throughout Lee County. These locations include: Lulu’s Bakery, Tiger Town Eagle Convenience Store, Parkway Farmers Market and Mama Mochas.
“I am just taking care of cows on a daily basis, but every day is different," Wilson said.
Wilson’s day starts at 3 a.m. with the morning milking of her cattle. She finishes her morning milking around 7:30 a.m.
After the morning milking, Wilson said she feeds the heifers, draft cows and baby calves.
Next, Wilson’s day has some variety. She said the late morning and early afternoon can include vet visits, catching up on book work, deliveries or whatever else might come up.
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Feed for the cattle is delivered every three weeks and the milk is distributed for sale four days a week.
Wilson starts the cows’ afternoon milking around 3 or 3:30 in the afternoon.
In spring and summer, Wilson tends to her hayfields.
“I’m in the hayfields spraying for weeds and putting out fertilizer,” Wilson said.
Visitors are welcome every day at Blue Ribbon Dairy. They are able to watch the afternoon milking and bottle feed calves around 4 p.m. Visiting the farm is free, but BRD asks that visitors support them by buying their products in the on-site farm store or the other locations that carry their milk.
Blue Ribbon Dairy currently offers plain and chocolate milk. In about three weeks they will start to offer fresh ice cream on the farm. At their farm store, they also sell products from other local farmers such as jam and honey.
They pasteurize and bottle all of their own milk daily. All of their milk is vat pasteurized cream-line milk meaning it is pasteurized at a lower temperature and not homogenized. Wilson has three part-time employees to help her bottle the milk.
The pasteurized and bottled milk is delivered within a day to one of the 20 different locations that carry BRD products. The locations include farmers’ markets, local grocery stores and convenience stores.
Wilson’s great-grandfather was the first in the family to produce milk in Elmore County. He built a milk parlor in 1947 on BRD’s current property. Wilson’s grandfather, C.D. Lott, carried on the legacy and produced milk from the late 80’s until 2005.
Wilson followed in her family’s footsteps and started Blue Ribbon Dairy in 2017. Her mother and father are also involved in the family business and help with milking, deliveries and bottling. Wilson said the business is just getting started and she hopes to keep it in the family for many generations.
For Wilson, the early morning and hard work are worth it.
“I enjoy being able to provide a wholesome, nutritious and delicious product for everyone to enjoy,” she said.
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