Happy cows don’t always come from California
By Nathan French
We all have seen the dairy commercials, where Lucy or some other soft-spoken bovine move up in the world by relocating from some frigid climate to the “green open meadows” of California. The cutesy cows share with viewers in a northern accent of “just how great life is here in California.” The ad is then followed by the spokesmen stating, “Happy cows come from California.”
However, not all happy cows do indeed come from California. A great number of “happy cows” are located in nearby Hartley. Rick Van Ryn, proprietor of Van Ryn Jerseys, opened his dairy to an animal care evaluation by the Dairy Quality Center. The results of the on-site review were great news for the environment, the community, and the 62,400 people that rely upon Van Ryn Jerseys for milk every day.
The Van Ryn Dairy earned the prestigious “Specialists in Animal Comfort” designation which accompanies the Verified Premium Plus Recognition; which is the highest level of award for dairy businesses. Earning this distinction is based upon an on-site walk through by a licensed veterinarian. Conrad Spangler, DVM, a professional consultant for the Dairy Quality Center from Stratford, Iowa conducted the review. He inspected cow cleanliness, milk quality, body condition, normal walking patterns, and general animal health, and based upon those findings, awarded the dairy with the designation. Science based tests were also coupled with a subjective third-party review of air quality, noise level evaluation, attention to facility appearance, animal health, and worker safety. Rick Van Ryn, owner of the Van Ryn Jerseys stated, “Van Ryn Jersey’s number one goal is to have a high quality product for our consumers and by being chosen for the 5 star program we know that our hard work has paid off and that we have achieved our goal.”
The Verified Premium Plus designation will be in effect for the Van Ryn Dairy for one year. The quality assurance program by the Dairy Quality Center has been in place in the dairy industry since 1990. Every year, over 20,000 dairy operations are independently reviewed for quality assurance, and only a select few have ever been designated as a Verified Premium Plus Dairy Business. Rick Van Ryn, Jeremy Van Ryn, their family, and their employees are to be congratulated on this designation proving that indeed there are happy cows in Texas.