June 28, 2021 at 1:42 p.m.
How did you get into farming? I started raising a few animals when I was growing up and housed them with my parents’ cattle. After my junior year of high school, I began renting our neighbor’s barn and started milking with 17 cows in 2015. My parents farm right next door with 150 Red and White Holsteins. We do our field work together to save on equipment costs and labor.
What are your thoughts and concerns about the dairy industry for the next year? I am concerned about the markets with prices going up and down, causing unpredictability for everyone in agriculture and other industries.
What is the latest technology you implemented on your farm and the purpose for it? We upgraded planters last fall. We went from a six-row basic planter to a 12-row with improvements for fertilizer application and seed placement.
What is a management practice you changed in the past year that has benefited you? We started feeding our heifers exceller meal to enhance growth. It helped them transition better between barns.
What cost-saving steps have you implemented during the low milk price? I purchased my own round baler to save on the cost of custom work and also to be able to do our own work when we want to. Due to the volume of bales we were doing, it made sense to make the purchase in our situation.
How do you retain a good working relationship with your employees? We allow them to work in areas they prefer and allow them to experience other areas of work around the farm.
Tell us about a skill you possess that makes dairy farming easier for you. Computer and technology skills. Over the last year, we have dealt more with technology for communicating with our agronomist, feed consultant, FSA paper work and many other people. By having experience with it, I was able to help some neighbors with filling paperwork out online because they had limited experience with technology.
What do you enjoy most about dairy farming? I enjoy working with the cattle on a daily basis and watching them develop.
What advice would you give other dairy farmers? Don’t be afraid of change, but also don’t start changing everything on your farm at once. Make a change in small steps to see how it will affect the farm first.
What has been the best purchase you have ever made on your farm? So far, my best purchase has been land as I used to have to buy a large amount of feed.
What has been your biggest accomplishment while dairy farming? My biggest accomplishment was getting the barn full and purchasing my own land.
What are your plans for your dairy in the next year and five years? Our plans are to incorporate some no-till practices into our crop rotation and add a few additional acres of land to ensure we always have enough feed for the cattle.
How do you or your family like to spend time when you are not doing chores? I enjoy collecting 1/64 toy John Deere tractors and building farm replicas.