Keeping cows safe and healthy has long been a goal at the Kraft Family Dairy in Fort Morgan, Colo. The care that they have shown for their animals and the transparency with which they run their operation has earned the dairy’s owners, Mary and Chris Kraft, both Colorado State University alumni, the 2018 National Dairy Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) Award.
“The Kraft Family’s commitment to cattle care and implementation of BQA principles is among the nation’s elite,” said Libby Bigler, BQA coordinator for the state of Colorado.
Mary graduated from CSU in 1986 with a degree in journalism, and Chris graduated from CSU in 1990 with a degree in animal science. They started Kraft Family Dairy in 1985.
Healthy cows are productive cows
Whether lowering stress levels when moving cows to and from the parlor, closely monitoring health through radio frequency identification-enabled collars, or changing out water, beds and food regularly, the Krafts understand that a happy cow leads to a better quality dairy product.
The RFID collars on each cow can not only monitor milk production and reproductive status but also changes in health and behavior. Seeing these changes in real time helps quickly determine if an animal is in the beginning stages of illness. Hand-held computers connect with the collars to provide data to the herdsmen. From there, they’re able to make on-the-spot decisions about treatments, breeding and cow needs. Those data are sent back to a computer and stored to record treatments, health notes, milk weights, and to schedule future events.
The Krafts also keep an “open-door” policy on their farm for consumers to learn more about where their food comes from and to allow them to experience dairy production firsthand. They host about 50 tours each year for schools, chefs, international guests and many others, including CSU student groups.
“I want consumers to know that I eat this beef, too,” said Mary Kraft. “I want to have a really wholesome wonderful product for my family, and I think my job as a farmer, my job as a mom, is to make sure that you and your family have the same quality food.”
For more information on Kraft Family Dairies and other 2018 BQA Award winners, visit https://www.bqa.org/about/bqa-awards.
About Beef Quality Assurance
Beef Quality Assurance is a nationally coordinated, state-implemented program funded by the Beef Checkoff that provides U.S. beef producers guidelines and certification drawn from common sense husbandry techniques and accepted scientific knowledge on how to raise cattle under optimum management and environmental conditions. BQA reflects a positive public image and instills consumer confidence in the beef industry. When producers implement the best management practices of a BQA program, they assure their cattle are the best they can be. For more information on BQA, visit http://www.bqa.org/.