The IDP Farm & Conference Tour to Wisconsin included visits to two very well managed dairy farms: Crave Brothers in Waterloo and Rosy-Lane Holsteins in Watertown.
The first stop was the Crave Brothers Farm. Charlie Crave and his 3 brothers have an interesting enterprise. Not only do they have a wonderful dairy farm, but they also process their own cheese. Typically, they produce made-to-order specialty mozzarella cheese products. They use their own farm-produced milk in the cheese plant, but they also sell the majority of their milk through a cooperative. Charlie Crave told a fascinating story of how he was not raised on a dairy farm, but a college ag professor took a chance on him and they partnered together to start a small dairy farm when Charlie was in his early twenties. Charlie's three brothers all became involved in this family enterprise and the rest is history. The Crave family has a passion for caring for the environment. They currently have a digester on farm. We observed high quality feed and animal care, and special attention is spent on water quality. In addition, they had a very impressive shop where it was obvious that routine maintenance is a high priority.
Lloyd and Daphne Holterman shared another beautiful dairy farm with the IDP tour attendees. At Rosy-Lane Holsteins, huge attention is given to animal care, specific systems and protocols and more. Lloyd gave a lot of insight to his management style. He has certain principles that are strong: animal care, living within the regulatory system, etc. But he has a strong economic focus and makes decisions for the farm based on profitability. He doesn't accept the conventional "we've always done it that way" and clearly thinks outside the box. He has no transition TMR for his cows but they have very few DA's. In fact, at the time of our tour, Lloyd said they hadn't withheld milk from a treated cow in over 300 days! The group plied Lloyd and Daphne with questions about their operation and got candid responses.
But like we say with every single bus tour we've organized, some of the very best stuff happens on the bus! We think this tour was no exception. Next time you get the opportunity, come along! We're pretty confident it will be well worth your time away. In fact, why not save the date for Kentuckiana 2015 on July 28-29!
IDP would sincerely like to thank some exceptional people and organizations that supported this event. First, special thanks to the Indiana State Department of Agriculture and the PDP Foundation for grant money. This just brought tremendous value to each of the attendees. In addition, Dairyland Seed was a generous supporter, even picking up the one meal that wasn't originally covered. Thanks to Stewart-Peterson, Northstar, Belstra, Farm Credit Mid America, Indiana Corn and Indiana Soybean. And special thanks to Deb Rhinehart from the foundation, Shelly Mayer and her staff at PDPW, Charlie Crave, Laura Daniels (who truly inspired us to tell our stories even better), and Lloyd and Daphne Holterman.
To see more pictures of the 2015 Farm & Conference Tour to Wisconsin, click here.
At the April 1, 2015 IDP board of directors meeting, new officer elections took place. Steve Obert, Fort Branch, was elected to his second term as President. Sarah Wagler, Morgantown, was elected as Vice President, and Julie Bommer, Brookville, was elected as Secretary/Treasurer. Dr. Mike Schutz will serve as Executive Treasurer. Nathan Kuehnert, Fort Wayne, was welcomed as a new board member. Nathan was elected to the board at the IDP annual meeting on March 16. In addition, Nathan Hrnicek, District Manager at Dairyland Seed, was seated as an industry adviser to the board. Doug Leman is IDP's Executive Director.