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Legacy of ‘Cookie the Cow’ Lives On at Lands at Hillside Farms

KINGSTON TOWNSHIP, Pa. -- An educational dairy farm in Luzerne County is mourning the loss of a beloved cow that died over the weekend.

The Lands at Hillside Farms is a place for people to learn about agriculture and Cookie the cow really connected with hundreds of visitors.

As a herd of dairy cattle took a break from eating at The Lands at Hillside Farms to say hello, visitors and staff can't help to notice one of their favorites is missing.

Cookie, a lineback dairy cow, passed away over the weekend at the age of 10.

"Cookie came to us in early 2009. Actually, April 9, my daughter and I went to an auction together to buy her. We got her because she was a breed different than the breed that we had. Originally, we just got her as an educational example, and she performed so well that we ended up converting the entire herd to her breed," said executive director Chet Mozloom.

Cookie retired at the age of 6 and spent the rest of her days out in the field with other cattle.

"It's very tough," said farmer Joe O'Brien. "These cattle really respected Cookie, especially as a herd leader, so when we would rotate our fields down here, Cookie would kind of show them the ropes, what field to go to and where to go next, and she is technically one of the grandparents of all of these. So all of these animals behind me owe Cookie a great debt of gratitude."

"Probably about 20 percent of the herd is related to her, you know, daughters, granddaughters, and pregnant granddaughters, and it's a wonderful thing, and a lot of them look just like her," Mozloom said.

"These cows carry on her legacy, and it just makes us grateful every day for these animals. They do tremendous things for us in many ways," O'Brien added.

When the news spread of Cookie's passing, the cow's impact outside the farm with visitors came as a surprise to Mozloom.

"I was shocked to see how many people took the time to take a photo with her, I had no idea. Maybe three people? No, it's hundreds," said Mozloom.

Mozloom encourages you to help Cookie's legacy live on in your own way by sharing your photos with Cookie, if you have one, on Facebook.

5 comments

  • calfguy

    Is your dairy being run as a profitable business or just as a feel good yuppy petting zoo?? Cookie the cow “retired”?? Then was kept 4 more years as a pasture ornament basically. If you want to educate the public about agriculture accurately she should have been sent to slaughter when she was no longer a viable milking cow and she would have then fed someone instead. Or is that part of the stort too harsh to show the public? Tranparency in the way ag really operates needs to be publicly conveyed even when it involves the favorite family animal. People need to know their food comes from farms first before being at the store.

    • chetmoz

      It is simply a unique business model in which the cows are recognized for their contributions and retired cattle help to regenerate pastures. There is no doubt that it cannot work on all farms, or even most farms. A small family farm would struggle to do this and that is understood. In this case the value chain, from grass to glass, is all on one site, making it possible. Retired animals are also integrated in educational programs and shared with the public. It’s a beautiful thing and it is unreasonable to think all farms can do it, so you are heard there. At the end of the day, Dairy is difficult and diversification of practices can help the industry by providing choice, especially amongst dairies that bottle.

      • calfguy

        How exactly to the retired cows help regenerate the pastures?? Id like to know how an animal that is only taking food from other producing cows helps anything. A farm is a business. If a worker, aka a cow, is not performing her task she needs to be terminated and replaced by a profitable worker to help the business stay profitable. Anyone that farms for money instead of farming with money understands this.

      • chetmoz

        Hey Calfguy. You are welcome to come by and I will show you how we work it. We rotational graze and have pasture that had been in corn years before and other pasture that was inactive. Some pasture is dedicated to cows in milk and some to a small group of heifers and retired cows. That portion is more acres than need be. By rotational grazing through these pastures and mowing in between grazing we are knocking back the weed population and recovering grass. That is the way we roll because we do not till or use herbicides. I am serious about you being welcome to visit. We are not perfect and maybe you will have thoughts we will appreciate, or the reverse. Just different philosophies and models. I could not respond below your last comment for some reason.

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