The breeze blows as sun hasn’t risen. Mozart’s Serenade No. 13 for strings in G major breaks the quietness at dawn. At five in the morning, Sanguis, with the ear tag number 277, leads the first herd of eager mother cows from the outdoor field to the milking area.
After a good night’s sleep, the sweet and smooth raw milk after nine hours of good sleep is not only the devotion of the mother cows but also the result of the dairy farmers’ hard work for 365 days. “We raise cattle, and cattle raise us.” The second-generation dairy farmer of Green Light Ranch, Kevin Lin, still remembers the firm expression of his father when he said this. It’s a responsibility and gratitude realized after 30 years of cattle raising. In the first year of senior high school, he started to help with the ranch after school. He saw his father insist on choosing the imported fine hay to feed the cows of the ranch and continue to do so even though he couldn’t make the ends meet. Following his father’s spirit of cattle raising, Kevin Lin also believes in treating the cattle with love and make them live a healthy and happy life. In this way, the milk not only tastes sweet and delicious but also provides full energy for people.
Behind every earnest and honest ranch offering high-quality fresh milk, there is a hard and touching story. Milkshop’s Green Light Ranch is no exception. From bovine development, the cattle are given the best feed. More than 250 Holsteins are raised. By cooperating with the government’s farming policies, it has become the model farm in south Taiwan, joined the embryo transfer breeding program, and won the championship of national beauty contest for cattle. In fact, these honors don’t increase the ranch’s income directly. Besides, the feed cost of alfalfa, sweet oat, and Bermuda hay mixed with domestic corn silage is 20 to 30 percent higher than that of the ranches growing the silage napier grass. The ranch couldn’t make the ends meet. What’s worse, when Kevin Lin was in the second year of senior high, his father had an accident of being hit by an ox. After staying in the hospital for more than one year, the huge medical expense almost crushed the farming family. Therefore, under the guidance of his mother, his elder sister, who was studying business in vocational high school, and he decided to give up the advanced study and engage in the work of dairy farming their father had been devoted to. More than ten years have passed since then.
Since Taiwan joined WTO, the government stopped to subsidize agriculture. Plus, the supply and demand of milk is unbalanced in winter. The dairy farmers whose survival depends on the large dairy processing plants are forced to face the dilemma that the overplus milk is bought at the price of three NT dollars for every kilogram. The dairy farmers who were capable of finding other jobs chose to give up their herds and farms. Those who were unable or unwilling to do so had to endure the suffering and keep walking with their cattle toward the future without hope. Seeing many outstanding dairy farmers selling their cattle, dismantling the farm, and quitting the industry and thinking that the high-quality raw milk yielded by the mother cows twice a day were bought at a poor price, Kevin felt sorry for them. “Since the hard work of the family was in vain, we couldn’t waste the fine milk!”Kevin made up his mind, “Save our own milk!” Therefore, to overturn the predicaments including the decline of dairy farming, surplus milk in winter, and low price offered by corporations, Kevin started the thought of transforming the traditional dairy farming into self-producing and self-marketing of the milk of his farm.
Back in 2004, it was not popular for the drink shops to use fresh milk for milk tea. More than ninety percent of shops mainly used creamer powder. In recent years, due to the food safety crisis such as toxic milk powder and plasticizer, the consumers have started to choose high quality and natural milk drinks.This enables many small-scale farmers’ milk to find their own marketing channels. More importantly, in the pearl milk tea industry, which can represent the Taiwanese food culture most, more and more brands started to replace creamer power with fresh milk. Therefore, the unreasonable phenomenon of “surplus winter milk” stopped. Looking back on the past, we seem to see mother cows’ smiles with comfort. Milkshop focuses on “the customers” and put the customers’ needs first in our heart. Since establishment, we have insisted on not selling any drink made with creamer powder and no adjustment to the milk ingredients. Our drinks taste natural, smooth, and healthy. With kind heart of a dairy farmer, “for you, we’ve raised a herd of cattle.” We still have a lot to do. We often keep in mind that we are willing to pursue the better and the best for you.