(Jamie)Welcome back to Farm Factor. Let’s meet up with Duane again as he visits with a small producer from Oklahoma.
(Duane) Duane Toews joining as we continue discussion about dairy at the Kansas State Fair. We had the opportunity to talk for AGam in Kansas with Bridgette Smith. She is from Collinsville, Oklahoma, and Bridgette your family exhibiting Brown Swiss here at the Kansas State Fair and a family operation that has learned to adapt through the years. (Bridgette) Yea, adaption for a small family farm is kind of the key right now because the corporate farms are making more money, making it harder for the small family farms. So it’s been vital for us to find a niche. What marketing tool would work for us to be able to stay, keep the vitality going in our farm and even stay in business? So, that’s kind of what we’ve been working on. (Duane) Certainly understand that you have been providing off-site income to the family operation for a number of years, but the field of education kind of sparked your interest in education and continued learning that maybe found a new home for Jones Smith Dairy. (Bridgette) Well, what happened, I’m a teacher by trade and we were looking for, there was an article out there when I was looking into finding ways for the small family dairy to keep going, and it was about A2A2 milk. And if you know each animal gets a protein either A1 or A2. Well I found out Brown Swiss, which is what we breed that they are 97 percent of them have A2A2. Well A2A2 milk is the natural. All the old breeds have A2A2 milk. Like Guernseys, most of them are A2A2. And Jerseys. And so that A2A2 milk actually doesn’t cause inflammation in the body, it’s easier to process. So, people who have autoimmune diseases, people who have disabilities like autism, Down’s Syndrome all of these, they actually process that milk and it helps their body. And so, I started doing some research and University of California at Davis has a lab and I started sending and testing our animals. And once we did that, we found out that most of our animals have been A2A2 so we’ve been able to sell A2A2 certified animals to different people actually in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas. And we’ve been selling heifers and we just sold an A2A2 bull for the first time. And we concentrate on that niche in our market. (Duane) Certainly I for one, prior to taking to you, thought that milk was milk. And it appears that the majority of what’s commercially available doesn’t fall in that category, I understand. (Bridgette) That’s correct. There’s only, in the United States, there’s only 2,000 Holsteins that are A-2,A-2 So, if you think about 2,000 Holsteins and how much milk is actually being made in the United States. That’s a very small percentage of animals, because most of our milk, traditionally comes from Holstein cattle. So, A2A2 milk, it’s really important. It’s just kind of like when you talk about organic, everybody’s definition of that is different. So, you need to find a way to educate yourself about what you eat. And A2A2 was a way for people who had issues, they can actually process this milk better. And so, in Australia, they’ve actually come out with, all the dairies are going A2A2 certified. And the milk over there in the store is labeled A2A2. So, it’s kind of a trend that’s been going on in other countries, but the United States is just kind of picking up on it now. (Duane) Our thanks to Bridgette Smith, Collinsville, Oklahoma, joining us here on AGam in Kansas with opportunities for niche marketing and small producers to stay competitive in the dairy industry. Jamie, back to you in studio.
(Jamie) Thanks for joining us again at the Kansas State Fair. I’m your host Jamie Bloom and I hope you enjoyed our dairy stories today. See you next week on Farm Factor – we’re here every Tuesday on AGam in Kansas.