Ohio dairy farm

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Did you know the dairy industry is only accountable for around 2% of greenhouse gasses produced in the United States today? By the year 2050, the dairy industry plans to be entirely carbon neutral, making dairy producers the ultimate environmentalists. – Source: National Milk Producers Federation. 

Dairy farmers have a unique ability to recycle used foods and waste products by feeding them to livestock as well as add organic matter back to the soil by hauling manure. To celebrate National Dairy Month, hear from a panel of next generation dairy farmers about their involvement, trials and tribulations and excitement of being on the front-line bridging the gap between consumers and producers within the dairy industry.  

Panelists are Devin Cain, Katie Esselburn, Julianne Holler, Emily Mullen and Karl Wedemeyer.

Are you currently using any new technology on your farm?
Devin Cain Family
Devin Cain Family

Devin Cain, Belmont County Farm Bureau member; Co-Owner of Cain Farms, LLC:  We are using a lot of new technology on our farm. We are using a robotic system to milk our cows. We currently have two Lely A5 milking robots, a Lely Vector feeding robot, a Lely Cosmix, 2 Lely Discovery Manure robots and a Lely Grazeway. The Lely Vector and Discovery robots are the only ones in Ohio right now. For the Vector feeding robot, all we have to do is make sure there are forages in the kitchen for the robot to pick up and make the mixed ration that our nutritionist prescribes. The Discovery Manure robots are basically big Roombas that drive around the barn and suck up the manure and then it dump it into the manure pit. The Cosmix is just a computerized feeder that tells us when the cows are able to get more feed according to milk prediction. The Grazeway is a box the cows walk into and if they have been milked they are allowed to go out to pasture and if they haven’t it keeps them in the barn until they have been milked. Additionally, our cows lay on waterbeds and have plastic flexible stalls for the most comfort we can provide for them. 

Describe your involvement in the dairy industry

Katie EsselburnKatie Esselburn, Wayne County Farm Bureau member: Cow behavior, software, robotics and technology are my focus in the dairy industry. I’ve been part of the dairy industry for about 12 years, starting in nutrition and consulting work and moving into the robotic milking equipment sector as farm management support, which is helping cows, people, and machines all work together in harmony. I help manage the software programming for robots that milk cows, and robots that feed cows via a self-driving mixer, both in the dairy and beef industries. I have greatly enjoyed working with farmers and people in the industry. It is rewarding for me to spend time watching cows, analyzing behavior, and applying technology to make the lives of both the animal and human better. In many meetings with the farm teams, there’s always an eye on how to improve cow comfort and to create a high quality dairy products in a safe and sustainable way. 

What are some of the challenges you are facing in the dairy industry?

Julianne HollerJulianne Holler, Trumbull County Farm Bureau member. Works at Ridge-Dell Holsteins LLC; Owner, Lavender Ridge Jerseys: I think one of the biggest challenges in the dairy industry right now is finding young people who want to continue to dairy farm. Personally, this really isn’t a problem since I am among the younger generation and have full intentions of continuing to dairy farm, but it is very sad to see so many operations having to sell out due to lack of help, or the next generation not being interested in the business. I do think that the Ohio Farm Bureau does a great job of implementing programs and seminars to help keep the next generation interested and to help them to figure out how to be able to successfully farm with a work/life balance. 

Describe your involvement in the dairy industry

Karl WedemeyerKarl Wedemeyer, Marion County Farm Bureau member; Owner, White Diamond Farm: I am currently a co-owner of White Diamond Farm where I am a partner with my parents, Lee and Colleen, and my brother, Derek. We are milking 200 cows and farm about 80 acres. We also have a growing freezer beef business that is a partnership between my brother and his wife, Hannah, and me and my wife, Hilary. Outside of my dairy I also serve on the Ohio Dairy Producers Association board as a representative for Dairy Farmers of America. I currently serve as an area resolutions representative and a corporate resolutions representative for Dairy Farmers of America. An interesting fact about the dairy industry in Ohio is that it is the Swiss cheese capital of the country. More Swiss cheese is made here than anywhere else in the country. So, if you are eating Swiss cheese, there is a good chance it was made in Ohio with Ohio milk and possibly some of my milk because our milk is turned into Swiss cheese. 

How has the Ohio Farm Bureau helped you overcome challenges within the dairy industry?
Emily Mullen
Emily Mullen

Emily Mullen, Butler County Farm Bureau member; Mullen Dairy and Creamery: Farm Bureau is so special because it is truly a united voice for the agricultural industry. As a producer, I know I have the opportunity to meet with other individuals in my industry and discuss issues that need to be addressed  not only at a local level but also a national level as well. I have a voice that only becomes louder with the rest of the members behind me. It’s the ability to be heard, respected and have an influence on our future. 

June is National Dairy Month

June is National Dairy Month and Ohio Farm Bureau would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who works hard everyday to ensure that the dairy products being consumed are safe and delicious. Dairy farming or any type of farming is not for the faint of heart, especially with new technology and rising prices always on the horizon.

Legacy Conversations Call July 7

If you are a multi-generational farm, be sure to check out Ohio Farm Bureau’s new member-only program, Legacy Conversations, designed to be a companion tool to help take the stress out of succession and business planning. The future of Ohio’s dairy farms are in good hands with the next generation of farmers getting involved thanks to new technology and farm resources and programs available. Register


Labor has always been an issue, mainly because we are a seasonal operation. So that's a challenge finding somebody who only wants to work three months out of a year, sometimes up to six months.
Mandy Way's avatar
Mandy Way

Way Farms

Farm Labor Resources
I appreciate the benefit of having a strong voice in my corner. The extras that are included in membership are wonderful, but I'm a member because of the positive impact to my local and state agricultural communities.
Ernie Welch's avatar
Ernie Welch

Van Wert County Farm Bureau

Strong communities
I see the value and need to be engaged in the community I live in, to be a part of the decision-making process and to volunteer with organizations that help make our community better.
Matt Aultman's avatar
Matt Aultman

Darke County Farm Bureau

Leadership development
Farm Bureau involvement has taught me how to grow my professional and leadership experience outside of the workforce and how to do that in a community-centric way.
Jaclyn De Candio's avatar
Jaclyn De Candio

Clark County Farm Bureau

Young Ag Professionals program
With not growing up on a farm, I’d say I was a late bloomer to agriculture. I feel so fortunate that I found the agriculture industry. There are so many opportunities for growth.
Jenna Gregorich's avatar
Jenna Gregorich

Coshocton County Farm Bureau

Growing our Generation
Knowing that horticulture is under the agriculture umbrella and having Farm Bureau supporting horticulture like it does the rest of ag is very important.
Jared Hughes's avatar
Jared Hughes

Groovy Plants Ranch

Groovy Plants Ranch
If it wasn't for Farm Bureau, I personally, along with many others, would not have had the opportunity to meet with our representatives face to face in Washington.
Austin Heil's avatar
Austin Heil

Hardin County Farm Bureau

Washington, D.C. Leadership Experience
So many of the issues that OFBF and its members are advocating for are important to all Ohioans. I look at OFBF as an agricultural watchdog advocating for farmers and rural communities across Ohio.
Mary Smallsreed's avatar
Mary Smallsreed

Trumbull County Farm Bureau

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