Derrick Josi operates Wilsonview Dairy, along with his wife, Kaycee, where they milk 500 cows. Derrick farms in partnership with his parents, Don and Desi. For the past year, Derrick has been active in blogging about his farm as the “Tillamook Dairy Farmer.”
PHOTO SUBMITTED
Derrick Josi operates Wilsonview Dairy, along with his wife, Kaycee, where they milk 500 cows. Derrick farms in partnership with his parents, Don and Desi. For the past year, Derrick has been active in blogging about his farm as the “Tillamook Dairy Farmer.” PHOTO SUBMITTED
    TILLAMOOK, Ore. – Every morning, Derrick Josi gets up at the crack of dawn to run his family’s Wilsonview Dairy near the well-known dairy mecca of Tillamook, Ore. Tending to the Jerseys that call Wilsonview home is not the only job he tackles each day. Derrick takes on the additional task of educating the consuming public about the truth of life on a dairy farm, blogging and posting on social media as the Tillamook Dairy Farmer.
    Derrick operates the 500-acre farm with his wife, Kaycee, and parents, Don and Desi Josi. Derrick’s two siblings, Denise and Donald, have each pursued other careers in the dairy industry. On the farm, they milk 500 head of Jerseys and raise their replacement heifers. They grow corn and grass on 160 acres and run the rest as pasture.
    Tillamook has a relatively mild climate in terms of temperature, ranging from the 30s in the winter to the 80s in the summer. The area receives over 120 inches of rainfall on average each year.
    “That amount of rain makes manure storage a little more complicated,” Derrick said. “We can add an additional 10 feet of water to uncovered storage tanks.”
    The Josi family has called the Tillamook Valley home for over 100 years.
    “My great-grandfather, Alfred Josi, emigrated from Switzerland in 1912, and homesteaded our farm in 1918,” Derrick said, making him the fourth generation of his family to operate the farm.
    When he started dairy farming, Alfred joined the Tillamook County Creamery Association, and was instrumental in working to build and grow the cooperative, which had been founded in 1909 by local farmers. Over the years it has become a branded cheese company, famous for their world-renown cheeses and dairy products.
    Alfred was once quoted saying, “Our Tillamook County Creamery Association organization is one of the best anywhere, and we want to keep it that way.”
    The Josi family tradition of service and leadership to the cooperative has continued over the years, and Don Josi served on the cooperative’s board of directors for nearly a decade. Derrick has been active in the Young Cooperator program since coming home to the farm in 2004 after attending the Oregon State University.  
    The Tillamook County Creamery Association is not the only organization to benefit from the passion the Josis have for the dairy industry and agriculture in general. Don and Desi both serve as 4-H leaders and are supporters of the local FFA. The family also supports other community organizations and the Oregon State University.
    Today’s Wilsonview herd is a testament to the efficient reproduction of the Jersey cow, and has its foundation laid in several key purchases the Josis have made over the years. The focus of their breeding program is to breed for production and components, while striving for a solidly built cow.
    That philosophy has been successful for the Josi family, as they have achieved a current production average of 19,460 pounds of milk with 4.8 percent fat and 3.56 percent protein. The herd consistently ranks as one of the top herds in the nation for their average Jersey Performance Index (JPI), which in April of 2016 was +60. With over 70 percent of the herd genotyped, Wilsonview-bred animals frequently appear at the top of the American Jersey Cattle Association’s genetic listings. On the type front, there are nearly 50 Excellent cows in the herd and over 420 appraised as Very Good. The average classification score is nearly 84.
    The Wilsonview herd is milked in a double-12 herringbone parlor and housed in a freestall barn. During summers, the herd is pastured. The Josis are considering new building plans, which are dependent on cash flow. They are hoping to start the first phase in the coming year, which will include dry cow and calving facilities. Their goal is to have their building project completed within 10 years. Thoughts are leaning toward incorporating robotics into a new milking structure. Currently, they use a Lely Juno robot for pushing feed, but are interested in increasing robotics on the farm.
    Derrick has become passionate about sharing the true story of his dairy farm and animal agriculture and looks at the challenges facing producers outside the industry.
    “We are being challenged by activists and environmentalists,” Derrick said.
    Those challenges helped spur him to start a blog about one year ago focusing on educating consumers about life on a dairy farm, and the concern farmers have for their land and animals.
    “I started my blog when a girl from Tillamook shared the ‘dairy is scary’ propaganda film and announced she would never eat dairy again,” Derrick said. “Both her parents grew up on farms and are still actively involved in the industry. She grew up with farm kids, and it was shocking to see someone with that background believe the lies in that film. So, I decided to start telling my story.”
    Blogging the daily happenings on their dairy farm has not always been easy, and Josi’s social media accounts are frequently targeted and attacked by activists.
    “Some of the negative aspects would definitely be being more recognizable,” Derrick said. “It has definitely brought some of the crazies out of the woodwork.”
    Fortunately, not every interaction Josi has is negative, and he does enjoy the times he knows he has connected with a consumer and educated them about the industry, effecting a change in their thinking.
    “I’ve had several times where people came up to me and said they had started consuming dairy again from what they learned following me. That’s always nice to hear,” Derrick said. “I’ve also changed some minds on GMOs just by explaining what they are and how we benefit from them.”
    In addition to his Tillamook Dairy Farmer blog, Derrick runs a Facebook page with the same name, and uses the same name for an Instagram account, all focused on promoting the dairy industry in a positive and realistic manner.
    There is a great deal of time required to keep a social media audience engaged.
    “It depends on the post,” Derrick said of the amount of time he spends creating posts. “Some have been several days of work on and off, while others are minutes of work just talking about my day.”
    Despite the challenges facing the industry, Derrick remains optimistic about where the future will lead, and what part producers will need to play in that future.
    “I think the future of dairy is bright, moving forward with all the new technology coming online,” Derrick said. “New products are being tested and consumers finding out fats aren’t bad for them. We do have challenges to overcome ranging from being even better stewards of the environment to increasing plant capacities in several regions.”