MONTROSE, Pa. — Hello my name is Chelsea Empet and I am a Susquehanna County Dairy Ambassador. I live on my family’s dairy farm in Kingsley, PA. We own 315 head of dairy cattle on our farm. Our herd is primarily Holsteins with about 15% of our herd being Jerseys. I am a 6th generation Jersey dairy farmer. My ancestors started raising Jersey cows back in the early 1900’s. I am continuing the family tradition by raising and showing Jerseys in 4-H and own 18 Jersey cows and heifers. I love Jerseys for their unique, curious personalities and small size. Young Jersey calves are the perfect size to teach my younger cousins how to show. I hope that one day they can raise and show their own Jerseys.
Jersey cattle are the smallest framed of the many dairy breeds and are second most popular. When most people think of Jerseys, or the brown cows, they ask “do they make chocolate milk?” Nope! Although Jerseys don’t make chocolate milk, they do make rich nutritious milk that is high in butterfat and protein. On average, Jersey cow milk is at least 1 point higher in fat and 0.5 point higher in protein than Holstein milk. However, Jerseys produce about 35% less milk compared to the more popular Holsteins. Since their milk is higher in butterfat and protein, producers can get a better yield of dairy products by using Jersey milk rather than other dairy breeds’ milk. It is for this reason that producers and milk processors cherish Jersey cow milk. It’s becoming more popular for Jersey farmers to process their own milk on-farm resulting in delicious cheese, butter and ice cream.
Not only are Jerseys favored for their nutrient-rich milk but are also liked for their longevity and productive life. For instance, unlike Holsteins who live to be an average of 5 years old, the average Jersey lives about 10 years. Jerseys are also the most adaptable breed of dairy cattle and thrive in large and small herds. They also adapt well to both warm and cold climates which makes them an ideal breed for areas with changing seasons. One other unique thing about Jerseys is their color. They can range from a light fawn to a dark chocolate brown color.
Now that you know a little bit more about the Jersey cow, treat yourself to a dairy treat! Dairy products made from their rich, nutritious milk is the perfect way to get your three servings of dairy products each day!
—Chelsea Empet, Susquehanna County Dairy Ambassador