Our farm has roughly 500 milk cows, this is a shot of our feed alley (Thanks once again to Erica Dewaard for her photo taking skills!), one side Holsteins and one side Jerseys. Some would consider that huge, but honestly it’s not terribly big in the larger dairy community. I’ve heard people hate on the big farms because it’s a “factory” or the cows are “just another number”. The truth is the regulations placed on dairy farmers by the state have forced many of the smaller dairies to a.) Find a niche (like cheese making!) b.) Grow to become more efficient, or c.) Go out of business.
Even though we are not considered huge in the dairy world, we are large enough to not be considered traditionally small. I like to think we’re just the right size 🙂 We’re just big enough to be able to hire employees highly trained in their specific fields, while when we were smaller all the work fell to one or two people. This way people can focus on what they love, excel at it, and as a complete unit give our herd a higher quality of care than we ever could before!
Chances are, if you walk onto a farm, no matter the size, it is family run. 97% of farms in the US are still family run, with family values. Whether someone is just starting out with a few cows in a rented barn, or is a multiple generation, multiple barn operation, we all have one goal in mind. To provide a top quality, safe, healthy product in a world where agriculture is diminishing daily. The only way to do this is to take care of our cows, take care of our land, and pray hard God will bless our labors.