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Bob Crowe demonstrates how cows are milked to a group of kids during Agribition. Photo by Josee St-Onge.

by Josee St-Onge

 

The cows waiting to be milked at the Canadian Western Agribition don’t seem to mind the crowds gathering around them.

 

Bob Crowe is getting ready to show a group of curious kids where exactly the milk in their cereal comes from. He’s a retired milk producer and has come from Dauphin, Man. to share his knowledge about the industry.

 

Crowe feels that many Canadians are misinformed about milk production.

“Unfortunately it’s the news media that started it, that cows are injected with hormones and antibiotics every day, which is wrong,” he said.

 

Crowe explained that while cows do get antibiotics when they are sick, their milk is thrown out for three days afterwards to prevent contamination. According to him, milk produced on a farm is tested vigorously and fines are issued if any antibiotics are found in it.

 

“Another (myth) is the injection of hormones. Hormones aren’t available in Canada, they’re illegal,” explained Crowe. “I’m not going to jeopardize my cow and her natural production by injecting something that I’m not even too sure about.”

 

The milk display at Agribition is put on by Sask Milk as part of the Agri-Ed Showcase. One of the goals is to expose urban kids to where food comes from.

 

“There is a disconnect between the kids and the farming community. This is probably the one place for them to actually see that milk does come a from cow and not a carton,” said Deb Haupstein, who is a dairy specialist for Sask Milk.

 

Haupstein and Crowe also want people to understand that dairy cows are not mistreated.

 

“The better I treat (my cows), the better they respond. That’s my pay cheque, that’s my bottom line,” said Crowe. “We have to insure that they have a quality life and they will respond in turn by producing more milk, and putting more dollars in my pocket.”

 

One thing’s for certain, the milking demonstration is a hit. Excited kids line up for a chance to take a look at a milking machine and shriek with laughter when one of the cows poops on the ground.

 

“That’s another thing that comes from cows,” jokes Crowe. “Fertilizer.”