• About Cows First™

    Farming the way it used to be. Food the way it’s meant to be.

    Most everyone has an iconic impression of the American farmer: a simple, hardworking man tending to his fields and cows. Today, we recognize the American farmer as an educated, passionate man or woman with a modern know-how of good animal care.

    At Meister Cheese, we are proud to partner with dairy farmers who combine the best traditions of iconic farming with the best methods of modern technology. We call it Cows First™. Our dairy farmers treat their cows like family, while adopting modern technology and knowledge of animal nutrition and science.

    Treating animals right is the right thing to do. Cows treated well produce the highest quality milk. That’s why every dairy farmer who ships milk for our Kindred Creamery cheese employs our one-of-a-kind Cows First™ protocols.

    Doing the right thing means not only making a high quality cheese from milk where cows are treated right, it also means making sure our dairy farmers are treated as equals. That’s why we pay premium prices to farms that follow our Cows First™ protocols and have the same enthusiasm as we do for sustainable agriculture. Sure it costs us, but it’s a small price to pay to make cheese the way it’s meant to be. After all, we’re in this together.

  • Cows First Standards

    Participating dairy farmers are regularly audited to ensure compliance with our unique standards. And, for their efforts, we reward them with higher prices for their milk.
    Here’s what we believe and what our partners agree to:

    • Cows are treated humanely

      All cows should have a clean, spacious environment to call home. A cow’s tail must never be docked and a cow’s behavior is never punished with intentional striking.

    • Cow’s milk should be natural

      We don’t allow artificial hormones to increase milk production, and we only use antibiotics to save an animal’s life when sick. We never use milk from cows treated with antibiotics.

    • Cows need good food

      Feed should be free of animal-based byproducts and fresh water should always be available.

    • Cows deserve comfort

      Cows should be able to enjoy nature as much as possible. Cows should be free to graze in pastures and given room to roam in an outdoor setting. When indoors, cows should be kept comfortable and healthy with appropriate bedding in clean stalls that are well ventilated.

    “The foundation of the Cows First™ Program and Meister Cheese being a third generation company just seemed like the right fit for us. Our grandfather envisioned having a grass roots family farm with profitability, and that’s exactly what the Cows First Program has allowed us to achieve.” – Jeremy & Michelle Winkers, dairy farmers for Kindred Creamery