”Dairy Farmer, Tsuyoshi Mitani” Cows living in the coldest part of Iwate

”Dairy Farmer, Tsuyoshi Mitani”
Cows living in the coldest part of Iwate

A large ranch utilizing the slope

Ninohe ward is located in the northern part of Iwate. We visited Tsuyoshi Mitani, of Osanpo Jersey Mitani Ranch, who runs a dairy farm in this area known to be the coldest place in Iwate.
The first thing that caught our eyes was the mild slope. It was still the thaw season, and it was not possible for the cows to graze the field, so we could not actually see the cows roaming around. However, just imagining cows walking there made us feel really calm.
The cows were currently in the barn so Mitani guided us there. When you think about cows on a dairy farm, the first picture in our minds will be the black and white patterned Holstein cows. The cows here were light brown.

What kind of cows are Jersey cow?

These cows are called Jersey cows. They are one size smaller than the Holstein and according to Mitani, light cows like Jersey cows are more suitable for the sloped land in Iwate.
”Jersey cows were first imported because they produce milk even with poor soil. Holsteins are large so they do not like to walk. Holstein is more suitable for flat and large land like Hokkaido. Jersey cows are more suitable for the land of Iwate.”
Mitani was not originally born in a family with a ranch, but came to this area in 2000 as a new farmer. He graduated from Tokyo Agricultural University and thought ”I want a job that makes something” and walked all around Japan. That is when he found this place. He started with a small ranch with 5 cows, and took his time and effort to raise the cows. ”Wouldn’t the severe cold have a negative effect on the cows?” asked Nakata. ”In fact there isn’t. The water we give them comes from the well, so the temperature is the same throughout the year. And in the summer, they eat well and move well so they are healthy. In the winter it is cold enough so there are no diseases, and they grow strong.” And furthermore, the milk from the healthy cows taste deep but fresh.

Refreshing taste of milk

Jersey cows are raised all over the world, and since the milk has a high fat content, it is valued for making processed food such as butter. Mitani also makes processed food that he is proud of.
”The milk tastes really refreshing. So we make simple things such as Fromage or Mozzarella cheese. And we try to incorporate the customer’s feedback and requests.”
There are many other products he wants to make, and he let us taste some of them.

We asked what the goal is for the future and he replied ”We want to improve the quality of our management of the cows.” You cannot increase the number of the cows easily. That is not a good thing for the cows either. He also wants to improve the grass on the ranch since they eat raw grass. For now they want to increase the quality and not the quantity.
Simple products are dictated by the taste of milk. It is all determined by healthy cows.


Osanpo Jersey Mitani Ranch
1276 Nishi Tago, Okunakayama, Ichinohe-cho, Ninohe-gun, Iwate Prefecture
URL http://mitani.pinoko.jp/