Something Smells Rotten in Portland—Cow Cologne, Anyone?

I’m open to new livestock production techniques, but cologne for cows may not quite fit my ideal feedlot routine yet. According to the Modern Farmer website, a company in Portland, Maine, offers a cow-friendly cologne–one that makes the farmer smell better–and the product is “subtle, soothing, and sexy.” Yes, I did check to see if I was reading the Onion site, but no—this cow fragrance thing seems real. I haven’t milked a cow since I was a kid, but I’m starting to think I had things backwards back then. 
The news release says cows can pick up a scent six miles away. They get bummed out and produce less willingly if they smell disagreeable odors—like a thirteen-year-old kid. 

OK. I’m impressed with their olfactory abilities, but in my milking days, I thought the cow’s odor was the factor. I could have my head propped against Bossy’s side, intent on squeezing that morning milk into the pale, and like something out of an old Batman TV show—Flick! Slap! Pow! The tip of her tail, edged with mud and manure, landed on my shoulder and head so I could enjoy her fragrance for the rest of the session.

And believe me. The words “subtle” and “sexy” never came to mind on cold winter mornings in the unheated barn. Yes, I wanted Bossy in a “soothing” state, but that was usually done by keeping some hay in the stanchion and not pulling wrong on her udder.
So if modern dairy farmers think it works to slap on some cologne, that’s great. As Lisa Brodar, the creator of the product,says, “I actually found a list of scents that are beneficial and aromatherapeutic to livestock–cows specifically.” But back in my Bossy-milking days, I was the one getting on a yellow school bus, and I was the awkward kid trying to chat with a classmate or get someone to dance with at the sock hop. I needed a cologne that would take the Bossy smell off my hands, not a cologne that would make Bossy happy to see me each morning.   
by dan gogerty (picture from

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