How A Dairy Farm Changed Mike Rowe’s Career

Mike Rowe - Fair Oaks
“It really changed the notion of curiosity over at Discovery and it changed the kinds of stories that I was allowed to do,” he explained. “That opened the door to artificial insemination and once Dirty Jobs went into AI in earnest, oh, I mean, if Discovery had a head it would have exploded.”  ( Fair Oaks )

In 2008, Mike and Sue McCloskey took a risk and invited Mike Rowe to their dairy, Fair Oaks Farm, to film an episode of Dirty Jobs. That episode literally changed Rowe’s career and provided millions of people around the world an opportunity to see more farms on TV than they ever had before.

“Fair Oaks Farms, in 2008, was the first dairy farm to trust me and to trust Dirty Jobs,” Rowe told U.S. Farm Report’s Tyne Morgan and MILK’s Anna-Lisa Laca at the VAS Connect Summit on Tuesday. “If you're a farmer, right, you know the deal, people show up with cameras it's almost never good, right? If you have a show called “Dirty Jobs” and they want to come and feature your farm, your antenna should go up, you know. But Mike and Sue McCloskey were fans of the show, and they trusted me, and they said, ‘Look, come out with your cameras we’ll  show you anything you want to see.’”

What Rowe wanted to show the millions of fans who watched Dirty Jobs was how new life arrives at the dairy. That’s exactly what they did. 

“I mean we must have pulled 20 calves that day,” he said. “Everything about the day was interesting, eye opening and difficult. Especially the end of the day when Mike let me assist with a cesarean. I mean who does that?”

McCloskey is a veterinarian as well as a dairy farmer and while Rowe held the uterus of the cow shut after they pulled the calf out, McCloskey stitched her back up. All while the cameras were rolling. 

“There was blood and it was crazy and filthy and completely not what the Discovery Channel in 2008 was all about,” he said.  

Rowe says the episode aired as the most watched episode of the show up until that point and it changed everything. 

“It really changed the notion of curiosity over at Discovery and it changed the kinds of stories that I was allowed to do,” he explained. “That opened the door to artificial insemination and once Dirty Jobs went into AI in earnest, oh, I mean, if Discovery had a head it would have exploded.” 

At that point, Dirty Jobs was the No. 1 show on cable and completely off brand for them, Rowe explained. 

 “So they were constantly trying to balance the spectacle of live births and AI and all of its high definition glory with, you know, the super G rated careful presentation of historical documentaries,” he said. “We were a Jagged Little Pill and it really started on the dairy farm.”

It wasn’t just the Discovery Channel that was changed by the first episode filmed at Fair Oaks Farms, but farmers were changed by it too. 

According to Rowe, the McCloskeys understood that they needed to share their story beyond the FFA and that’s why they were willing to go on TV. 

“A lot of other farmers and a lot of other areas saw that episode and decided, ‘you know what, let's have Mike out,’” he explained. “Before long I was banding sheep and castrating them up and Craig, Colorado, not far from here and I was, you know, these big laying operations in like Wickenburg and Phoenix. I mean, our crew went to places with cameras that I don't think anybody had been before.  And it started with a dairy farm.”

 

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Submitted by Susan Issler on Thu, 06/28/2018 - 21:58

Promote and educate the American people the truth about reasons for drinking whole milk. Just that change in consumption would help all of us. Check the research, change the school milk program and your health, as well.

Submitted by Acacia on Fri, 06/29/2018 - 04:11

The lesson post of the same job, and changed job of the boss has multiple specified value
run 3

Submitted by Gary DiNardo on Fri, 06/29/2018 - 12:24

This guy, Rowe, has no problem with animal abuse in the factories and slaughterhouses. He was certainly entertained by the torment of piglets and I'm guessing he has no problem with the treatment of the male cows after they're born.

Submitted by Scott on Fri, 06/29/2018 - 14:28

"Male cows" is not accurate and shows the credibility of this commenter. It's either a male (which is a bull) or a female (which is a cow). Animal rights people always using talking points that someone else created rather than speaking from their experience.

In reply to by Gary DiNardo (not verified)

Submitted by Liz on Sun, 07/08/2018 - 20:43

Potato Potahto. Let's just ask the Momma COWS how they feel about having their baby BULLS stolen away at birth? Somebody has to speak for them & that would be us. Had I known what was really going on in the dairy industry, I'd have gone vegan many years ago. And, what happens to baby pigs & pig Moms is unacceptable & cruel. (Google "factory farms" to find where most of your food really comes from). Grow plant protiens instead.

In reply to by Scott (not verified)

Submitted by Sarah on Tue, 07/03/2018 - 14:59

Great story! It's so cool to see Mike giving the behind-the-scenes view from his perspective, of Fair Oaks and the McCloskey family! Who knew a farm could literally change the road of a show and push the envelope on what could be covered.