Brush up on some of the common words used around the farm.
Bulk tank. A large refrigerated storage tank that holds fresh milk. As cows are milked, the milk travels though the milking machine and through pipes in the barn into a bulk tank. Milk trucks pick up milk from the farms every other day and bring it to a processing plant.
Dry period (dried off). The time during which the cow does not produce milk. Typically for the last two months before a cow is due to freshen (give birth), a farmer will stop milking her. This allows the cow to relax her body and build up strength for the upcoming birth.
Free-stall barn. A building that provides farm animals with a clean, dry, comfortable resting area and easy access to food and water. Cows that are housed in free-stall barns are not restrained and are free to enter, lie down and leave the barn whenever they choose.
Milking parlor. A special area on a dairy farm where cows are milked.
Organic farming. Organic refers to the way agricultural products—food and fiber—are grown and processed. Organic farming methods rely on healthy, rich soil to produce strong plants that resist pests and diseases. Toxic persistent pesticides and chemical fertilizers are not allowed. In the case of livestock such as dairy cows, antibiotics and artificial hormones are prohibited.
Runoff. Water from rain, snowmelt or other sources that flows over the land surface and is a major component of the water cycle. Dairy farms take measures to control the amount of runoff from their farms through the use of drainage systems and retention ponds.