Robot cheesemakers and bovine pickpockets: What you don't know about life on a dairy farm.
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America’s Dairy Farm Families and Importers

If you ask Warren Chamberlain, Dairylain Farms could easily be the inspiration for a pastoral landscape painting.

The dairy takes up about a quarter of the 400 sprawling acres of wide-open farmland that Warren and his son, Jason, own and operate alongside their wives, Lori and Mary.

All photos courtesy of Dairylain Farm.


"We have sunshine year-round, pretty much," Warren says. "We get very little rain. We’re actually in a desert, but it’s all irrigated, green, trees."

To the west of the farm sits a small mountain range, capped with snow that shines a brilliant white against an almost always blue sky.

"It’s just a beautiful place. You can’t beat it for raising kids and grandkids. And for livin'."

To the uninitiated, running a dairy sounds like hard, dirty, exhausting work. But according to the Chamberlains, the dairying life is worth the sacrifice of a little sweat.

Part of the joy they get from their work, says Warren, comes from the love of animals, specifically cattle, that's been passed through three generations.  "I believe anybody that's in dairy loves animals," he says. "Animals and land — you gotta love 'em both."

Dairylain Farms is home to a herd of about 450 Jersey cows that produce milk that the Chamberlains then sell to a mozzarella plant in Idaho to be made into delicious cheese. (Fun fact: The milk produced by Jersey cows is higher in butterfat than that of other cows, so it's prime milk for cheesemaking.)

Warren explains that the cows are very curious animals. "You walk out into our pen, you’re gonna get surrounded by 50 to 80 animals all wanting to smell you," he says.

And that curiosity can verge on the nefarious — farm workers have been known to have their barn radio switched off or their wallet picked by a mischievous member of the herd. "Anything you have in your pocket, you’d better hold onto it ‘cause if they see it, they’re gonna grab it and take off," Warren laughs.

The cows are so friendly that even Warren’s kids and grandkids can work with them. In fact, that’s another reason he loves the dairy so much.

"What other job can a dad or granddad have that they can have their kids or grandkids with them all day long — watch them grow up, teach them?" he asks. "Most people get their kids from five o’clock in the evening 'til bedtime. We get ‘em all day."

As enjoyable as the work is, Dairylain Farms is a business, and the Chamberlains, like many dairy farmers, have continuously needed to find ways to innovate to keep up with the times. For them, that involves ... robots.

That's right — instead of milking the cows, the Chamberlains own robots that automate the entire milking process. "The cows come to the robot whenever they want," Warren says. "It cleans her, milks her, feeds her a little bit of grain, and sends her on her way."

The cows wear collars that monitor their health and activity levels, keep track of how often they’re milked, and send all that information to the Chamberlains. Each morning, Jason reviews the data to see if anything seems out of place — if a cow isn’t milking or if it’s walked less than normal or something else that might indicate a problem — and goes to check up on the animal himself. Automating the process helps the Chamberlains keep better, more accurate track of the health of their herd.

And for Warren, the health of the farm is the most important thing.

"You want to pass this stuff on through generations," Warren says. "And if you don’t take care of your cattle, you don’t take care of your land, you can’t pass it on."  

Researchers at Harvard University have studied the connection between spanking and kids' brain development for the first time, and their findings echo what studies have indicated for years: Spanking isn't good for children.

Comments on this article will no doubt be filled with people who a) say they were spanked and "turned out fine" or b) say that the reason kids are [fill in the blank with some societal ill] these days are because they aren't spanked. However, a growing body of research points to spanking creating more problems than it solves.

"We know that children whose families use corporal punishment are more likely to develop anxiety, depression, behavior problems, and other mental health problems, but many people don't think about spanking as a form of violence," said Katie A. McLaughlin, director of the Stress & Development Lab in the Department of Psychology, and the senior researcher on the study which was published Friday in the journal Child Development. "In this study, we wanted to examine whether there was an impact of spanking at a neurobiological level, in terms of how the brain is developing."

You can read the entire study here, but the gist is that kids' brain activity was measured using an MRI machine as they reacted to photos of actors displaying "fearful" and "neutral" faces. What researchers found was that kids who had been spanked had similar brain neural responses to fearful faces as kids who had been abused.

"There were no regions of the brain where activation to fearful relative to neutral faces differed between children who were abused and children who were spanked," the authors wrote in a statement.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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