The Way to Dairy Award Finalists Announced

Lely North America is proud to announce the four finalists of The Way to Dairy Award. Kasey Hudson of Baker’s Golden Dairy in Ohio, Emily den Haan of Haanview Farms in Ontario, Dustin Takes of Takes Dairy Farm in Iowa and Charles Carter of Carterly Farm, Inc. in Indiana are the four finalists named in this prestigious award.

All finalists are involved in thriving family dairy operations that have goals to expand the dairy operations, dedicated to finding innovative solutions to continue supporting a growing economy while maintaining the health and productivity of their herds.

In an essay submitted for the award, Hudson wrote that at Baker’s Golden Dairy, they feed a growing global population by producing and bottling their milk. “After working vigorously with state inspectors, we began processing in July, 2011,” she wrote. After the first few months of processing, we began to offer milk in many flavors other than chocolate and strawberry. Flavors include butter pecan, cotton candy, root beer, banana and more. Their milk is vat pasteurized and non-homogenized so it is ‘milk the way it used to be,’ she wrote.

In the submitted essay, den Haan wrote that she knows that innovation is critical to being a successful farming enterprise. “In 2012, we opened the first on-farm dairy in Ontario to process and market fluid milk. As we look at the future of our dairy our new barn will be able to accommodate the production of A2A2 milk to the Canadian market through our on-farm plant, Sheldon Creek Dairy. A2A2 milk is cow’s milk that contains only the A2A2 beta-casein protein. It is suggested that it is easier to digest for people who typically experience discomfort with milk,” she wrote. Their operation is currently building a new robotic milking barn, moving from a 50-cow tie-stall barn to a 120-cow free-stall.

In his essay, Takes wrote that at Takes Dairy Farm and their subsidiary, Dan and Debbie’s Creamery, they feed a growing global population by using their raw milk as the single-source used daily at their creamery. “Having added value to our raw milk commodity through the production and marketing of finished dairy goods is one of the many ways we are directly helping to feed a growing global population,” he wrote. “As the world’s population continues to grow, achieving global food security through the production of nutritious dairy, with sustainability in mind—is arguably one of the greatest challenges we face today.”

Carter wrote that he knows that investments in new ideas and facilities are invigorating, but investments in people are priceless.  “Each summer, for the last 20 years, approximately twenty-five kids descend upon our farm to learn about showing a calf (through the 4-H program),” he wrote. “We provide the animals, feed and bedding, transportation to the fair, clippers, and supervised opportunities for the 4-H members to train and fit their leased animal. The week of the fair, each 4-H member has sole responsibility for the care of his or her animal. Character building, along with a love of cows (and therefore agriculture), is built into the summer. Over the years, we have hosted many kids from June through mid-August. However, it is the families of these kids that are our favorite part. As the summer progresses, we answer questions about animal care, the milking parlor, new baby calves, veterinary care, etc. Over a 4-H career, advocates for agriculture are built.”

The Way to Dairy Award

Lely North America announced the award earlier this year as a way to recognize the most progressive dairy operations who want to maximize each cow’s potential, while changing the daily tasks on the dairy to be more sustainable, profitable and enjoyable. This top honor will be awarded to the dairy farmer who best demonstrates and lives by the standards of using sustainability and innovation while being an animal care advocate and is involved in the dairy industry. Applications were accepted until June 30. Two more finalists will be announced at The World Dairy Expo next month. The grand prize winner will be chosen by a panel of judges and will receive their choice of either a new Lely Astronaut A5 milking system or a recently re-launched Vector feeding system.

"Lely wants to give the best farmer the best automation on the market, supported by their local Lely Center. Lely Centers span the U.S. and Canada from Quebec to Kentucky across the plains to California and into western Canada to serve dairy farmers across North America," states Chad Huyser, Vice President Lely North America.