Indiana Family of Farmers
Indiana Dairy Blog

Who Keeps Your Office Running?

by Mary on April 23, 2014

“Accomplishing the impossible means only that the boss will add it to your regular duties” – Doug Larson

Even though we all wear several different hats as a routine part of our jobs, I believe the hat rack for our administrative professionals is bigger than the rest of ours.  Our offices have been blessed to have three great ladies who wear each multiple hats so well.

Here in our Indianapolis office, Linda has been keeping us together for many years.  Her unflappable style is calming when the staff is coming and going, all on separate projects perhaps.  Not only is she the assistant to our General Manager, Linda also serves as our Human Resource person and a financial officer.  And we can’t leave out Event Planner and Travel Agent!  Whether it’s our Fastest Rookie Luncheon, or Dairy Princess Scholarship Program, or planning board meetings and making travel arrangements, we can always count on Linda!

Leilani and Linda

Leilani is the new kid at the Indianapolis office.  She has been with us less than a year, but she has fit in with the staff from day one.  It’s always good to have a fresh set of eyes to look over proposed projects, and Leilani’s opinions are always appreciated.  Leilani serves not only as our greeter and receptionist, but call screener, meeting facilitator, and gift basket maker as well.  Plus there are always a lot of other miscellaneous tasks.  And what a pretty name – Leilani; it’s very fitting.


Up in South Bend, Jody (aka Jod) helps staff member DeDe hold down the fort.  Now DeDe would be the first one to tell you that she’s not super computer-savvy, (she’s not bad), but Jody is a whiz, and helps keep track of all sorts of records for all of us.  Jody, too, is a greeter and receptionist, but she does so much more in keeping DeDe and the office organized.  A positive attitude and cheerful smile make for a great assistant in South Bend.

So to Linda, Leilani, and Jody – our hats are off to you along with many, many thanks and much appreciation!

“No one is more cherished in this world than someone who lightens the burden of another. Thank you.”

-author unknown


Earth Day – How do you celebrate?

by Mary on April 21, 2014

Set your “way-back” machines to April 22, 1970, and you might find yourself in the middle of a protest against the Vietnam War or driving a big, heavy car that only uses leaded gasoline.  Smog may surround you if you’re in a big city.  Or you could find yourself as one of the 20 million Americans who took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive rallies from coast to coast.  That was the first official Earth Day observance, and it led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency, along with the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.

Efforts at recycling got under way then, too.  I would argue that my Mom was a recycler well before then.  Having grown up during the Depression, she followed the use-and-reuse mantra faithfully. Food containers, like cottage cheese cartons, were used over and re-purposed.  A piece of foil could last a long time, but boy, did my sister and I hate washing it. And clothes – oh my!  Hand-me-downs were the norm, at least for me.

Cow eating grass

Dairy farmers have been recycling, too, long before it received a lot of public attention.  Dairy farming is inherently a very sustainable form of agriculture because of a farm’s ability to naturally recycle nutrients between people, animals and plants. Because of her unique digestive system, a cow can recycle food that people can’t eat, such as grass, cotton seed, or citrus pulp. She converts that into an average of 144 servings of nutrient-rich milk per day.  And the manure she produces can be used as fertilizer to grow more crops for people and animals. Across the United States, dairy farms large and small are intent on optimizing this natural nutrient cycle.

Wheat head

You don’t have to go far to see sustainability in action.  Fair Oaks Farms in northwest Indiana has an amazing education program for all ages.  Their entire operation is powered by the manure from the cows and pigs that live there.  On a smaller scale, and a little closer to Indianapolis is BioTownAg in Reynolds.  They are doing some amazing things with poo power!  The use of waste for energy isn’t confined to the farm, either.  Food waste can also be a part of the picture. Last fall FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, home of the Browns, began collecting food scraps which would otherwise go to a landfill.  They are collected and ground into a slurry, which is transported to an anaerobic digester, which periodically adds cow manure to lower acidity and boost the methane.  Biogas for energy and fuel is then produced.


So whether you’re an individual or a large operation, there are many ways we can contribute to the health of Planet Earth!


Meet Chef Riley Groover C.C.C

by Michelle on April 18, 2014

groover3How have you worked with the Indiana Dairy?

As a Chef in the Classroom presenter in 2013 & 2014.  (a note from the Dairy Association: Chef Groover has provided the CA Beard School district in Knightstown with his talents.  Providing more than 5 presentations for the students this year!

What is your favorite part of your job?

Teaching young children new ways of cooking healthy foods that taste great and are easy to prepare.

Tell us a little about yourself.

I have been a member of the American Culinary Federation for over 33 years and a Certified Chef de Cuisine for over 25 years; I am currently the President and Certification Chairman of the American Culinary Federation East Central Indiana Chapter.

I am presently a judge for the Practical Exam for the students earning their Certified Culinarian Certification through American Culinary Federation.

I have participated in many Cooking Demonstrations including Farmer’s Market Demonstrations at Minnetrista in Muncie, Indiana.

Tell us a little about someone who has influenced your life and why.

My mother, Millie, was one of the biggest influences in my life. She taught me to cook when I was young. When I met my wife, Denise, she asked me what I wanted to be. I told her a Chef and that was how my career as a chef got started. After graduation from IVY Tech Community College Culinary Program, I worked under many Chefs’ who also influenced my career.


Pocket Cheese Quesadilla

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 3 minutes

Total Time: 13 minutes

Yield: 1

Serving Size: 1

Pocket Cheese Quesadilla


  • 1- 6 Inch Flour Tortilla
  • 2 Tbsp. Salsa
  • 1/2 ounce of Shredded Cheddar Cheese


  1. Use either a Tortilla at room temperature or warm a Tortilla in a dry skillet for 1 minute per side.
  2. Place the warmed Tortilla on a plate and spoon the Salsa in the center of the Tortilla.
  3. Place the Cheese on top of the Salsa.
  4. Fold all of sides into the center to form a pouch.
  5. Place the tortilla pouch with the folded sides down on a lightly greased sheet pan or sheet pan that has been lined with a sheet of parchment paper.
  6. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.
  7. This could be served with Salsa & Sour Cream


Kid Approved Snack

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Pico de Gallo


  • 3- Ripe Tomatoes diced fine
  • 1/2 Green Pepper diced fine
  • 1/2 Onion diced fine
  • 2 TBSP Cilantro Chopped fine
  • 2 TBSP Lime Juice
  • Jalapeno Chile diced fine can be added to taste


  1. Mix the ingredients and serve cold
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chef logo


Summer Berry Day Dreamin’

by Krista Marshall on April 16, 2014

I’ve got fresh summer berries on the brain. I can’t help it. I realize it’s only April, and here in Indiana, we have a good 6-8 weeks before the strawberries are fresh and ripe for the picking. But I don’t care. It was a long…long…LONG…winter, and I am ready…beyond ready… for warm weather.

We are lucky enough to live about 10 minutes away from a great local farm that runs a fresh produce stand and U-pick berry patch. All summer long they have everything a berry lover dreams of: strawberries, raspberries, both red and black, and blueberries. My son and I always take a trip early in the season, and I let him pick pound after pound. It’s truly one of the highlights of our summer.

But alas, as I mentioned before, those fun trips are still a little ways off, so I had to find a way to satisfy my berry craving here and now. Lucky for me, I have this recipe that gives me the flavor, even when it’s wet and chilly outside. Oh, and I was lucky enough to find some berries in the store that were nice enough for me to feel okay about buying them until I can get to the patch.

These make a terrific after school snack, or sweet treat for after dinner. (I mean, come on, who doesn’t love Jello?) They can be whipped up in almost no time in the morning, chill all day and be ready for you in the afternoon.

Now, you have a couple of options when cutting them out. You can either just cut them into squares or make it really fun and use some cookie cutters. In fact, let the kids get in there and do it themselves. That is actually how I ended up with hearts. They were red, so my son said they needed to be heart-shaped. It didn’t occur to him, that they might resemble something more appropriate for mid-February and make people think his mom had lost her mind. LOL

I think these would even be great for a classroom party, after all…anything that you can eat with your hands is going to be a hit with the kids!

I can’t wait for berry pickin’ season to get here, but until it does, I have to satisfy my strawberry loving taste buds somehow and these definitely hit the spot!

Creamy Finger Jello

Mix boiling water with jello in a large bowl. Mix to dissolve. Set aside for 30 minutes at room temp. In a large bowl whisk together pudding mix and milk until creamy. Quickly pour into jello mix. Whisk until well combined. Grease a 9×13 pan. Pour jello mix into pan. Set in fridge until set. Cut out and top with whipped cream and berries if desired. *NOTE* Any flavor of Jello will work…be creative!

Creamy Finger Jello

Creamy Finger Jello


  • 2 6 oz. boxes strawberry Jello
  • 1 (4 oz.) box instant vanilla pudding
  • 2 1/2 c. boiling water
  • 1 c. milk Whipped Cream
  • Sliced strawberries for top, optional


  1. Mix boiling water with jello in a large bowl.
  2. Mix to dissolve.
  3. Set aside for 30 minutes at room temp.
  4. In a large bowl whisk together pudding mix and milk until creamy.
  5. Quickly pour into jello mix.
  6. Whisk until well combined.
  7. Grease a 9x13 pan.
  8. Pour jello mix into pan.
  9. Set in fridge until set.
  10. Cut out and top with whipped cream and berries if desired.
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Sideline Success Series: J.E. Ober Elementary

by Brooke on April 14, 2014

Today’s blog post is the 8th entry in our Fuel Up to Play 60 Sideline Success Series. Fuel Up to Play 60 reaches more than 70% of Indiana schools, and we are honored to share success stories from our dedicated students and advisors!


We’re always interested to hear what initiatives are working for our FUTP60 schools and what needs a slight adjustment.  Here lately, we’ve been receiving a lot of positive feedback from the recent increase in school breakfast programs!  We are thrilled to have so many dedicated schools around the state, but more than that, we are ecstatic that so many more students are powering up with protein thanks to the consumption of dairy!

Our most recent success story comes from J.E. Ober Elementary in Garrett, Indiana where the students have quickly jumped on board with breakfast.  The following account from school advisor Janis Arrington highlights how her school’s breakfast participation has not only increased, but has provided quick results for her students who hadn’t been consuming a meal first thing in their day:

We started with a goal of increasing the number of students eating breakfast by 5%. The students made announcements and invited a friend to breakfast at an upcoming picnic. They advertised the breakfast for two weeks prior to the picnic. The Student Wellness Team came up with the idea of inviting a friend to breakfast. They decided that during testing would be a good time to have the picnic. Administrators, PTO, cafeteria workers, teachers and a local physician helped with the planning of the picnic and volunteered their time during the breakfast. The teachers talked about how important eating breakfast is for fueling the brain to learn and to helping students do their best on the ISTEPs. The change that we have seen has been about a 2% increase in students eating breakfast daily either at home or at school.


Students will be keeping a chart in the month of May and documenting when they eat breakfast.  This year prior to state testing we had an “Invite A Friend to Breakfast Picnic”. We had students that do not eat breakfast at school or at home come to our picnic. Several of the students said they did not like breakfast food, but after tasting different items on their plate, they said they liked the eggs and other items served and would eat it again. The number of students that eat breakfast at home or at school has increased since our picnic.


One student stopped me in the hallway and said his stomach does not hurt or make noises anymore since he eats breakfast every morning!

As previously stated, we love hearing stories from individual schools and especially love knowing the students are experiencing the positive effects breakfast has on their school days!


Farmers Looking Forward to Spring Weather

by Jackie on April 11, 2014

This winter was a long one and a hard one for dairy farmers (below, the Troxel family in Hanna, Indiana braves the subzero January snowstorm to feed calves).

miserable snow troxel calves

Besides the huge challenge of just working outside in the super low temperatures we experienced in Indiana this winter (40 below, anyone?), farmers also had to deal with losing electricity (electricity is so important on a dairy farm most farmers have backup generators), freezing water lines (can’t milk the cows if the lines are frozen!), snowy roads (the milk truck has to be able to get to the farm!), and the effects of the cold on the cows, especially, the baby calves.

But spring is coming now! Yay!

cow running

Farmers across the state are looking forward to warmer temperatures, no snowy roads, and the chance to get back into the fields again.

For some farmers, spring is calving season. Most dairy farmers in Indiana have baby calves year-round, but some “seasonal calving” farms only have babies in the springtime. This means that every cow on the farm will have her calf in about a 60 day window-so the farmers will have lots of hungry little baby calves to bottle feed! (Below, Foerg and Forgey River-View Farms in Logansport, Indiana are seasonal calvers who use an innovative milk barrel to feed all their spring babies.)


Most dairy farmers in Indiana grow all or part of their cows’ food, so spring is planting season. Getting the fields ready to plant can be time consuming, and knowing when it is the perfect time to put the first seeds into the ground takes a lot of knowledge and skill. Dairy farmers are lucky because they are able to recycle their cows’ nutrient-rich manure as fertilizer, so they wouldn’t need to use synthetic fertilizers.

If you’re out driving on country roads this spring, make sure to be courteous and drive safely around tractors and planters. 

Wagler 104light

Spring is one of the few times that cows and farmers both like the outside temperature. Cows have big personal heaters in their stomachs (like all ruminant animals, they can actually keep themselves warm just by eating more) so they generally like sweater weather or cooler temperatures. In the springtime, the curtains used to keep the bitter winter wind out of the cows’ barns will be raised so the fresh spring breeze can come through. Once it starts getting hot in the summer time (or hot for a cow, which would be t-shirt weather for most of us humans), farmers switch on giant fans and even misters to help cows stay cool.

Happy Spring!


Children’s Healthy Diet = Positive Mental Development

April 9, 2014

The news is in! According to the Raine Study, children who had a healthy diet during the first three years of life had higher cognitive outcomes when assessed at age ten. Specifically, increased fruit consumption at age one and dairy consumption at ages two and three were positively associated with cognitive development, while consumption of […]

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Strawberry Cream Cheese Muffins

April 8, 2014

Are you looking for a recipe that is not only a yummy breakfast for you and yours, but also makes a great snack? Check out these Strawberry Cream Cheese Muffins from Gooseberry Patch’s Summer In The Country. Lou from Much Ado About Lou here. I’m really excited to be sharing with you another awesome recipe (if […]

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From the Dairy Farm Kitchen: Baked Oatmeal

April 7, 2014

There is no better place to find a recipe for a delicious, hearty breakfast or brunch than a dairy farmer’s kitchen. This recipe for Baked Oatmeal comes from Sam Schwoeppe, a dairy farmer in southwest Indiana. Sam, like many dairy farmers, is a member of a farmer-owned cooperative that sells and processes milk. Cooperatives mean […]

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Let’s Learn How to Handle STRESS in April!

April 4, 2014

April is STRESS AWARENESS MONTH (established in 1997 by Dr. Morton C. Orman, MD) and I’m going to help all of us get a handle on this issue!!!  The goals of STRESS AWARENESS MONTH are to inform people about the dangers of stress and to teach us coping measures. According to the website, HELPGUIDE.ORG, a site […]

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