Virtual Farm Tours

WATCH FARM TOUR VIDEOS

World Dairy Expo Virtual Farm Tours have been bringing the best dairy operations in North America to Madison for more than 15 years. The eight dairies selected this year are no exception, featuring technology and innovation, outstanding milk production and genetics, strong community ties and first-generation immigrant farmers, top-notch cow and calf care and an expanding dairy. These tours begin with a half-hour visual presentation of the operation by the owner or herd manager, followed by time for questions and an open discussion. Tours are presented daily, Tuesday through Saturday, in the Mendota 1 of the Exhibition Hall. 

Provimi, Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy, Lely, American Jersey Cattle Association, Kansas Department of Agriculture, Quality Liquid Feeds, Inc., Purina Animal Nutrition, LLC and CRV USA are sponsors of the 2017 Virtual Farm Tours. Following is a short biography and description of each tour. 

 

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 3

2 pm

Hosted by: Fustead Holsteins, Wausau, Wis. 

Highlights: 475 milking/Milk Production and Genetics

Sponsored by: Provimi

WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 4

Noon

Hosted by: Oregon Dairy Farm, LLC, Lititz, Pa.

Highlights: 475 milking/Community Partners

Sponsored by: Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy

2 pm

Hosted by: Good-Vue Farms, Goodridge, Minn.

Highlights: 120 milking/Utilizing Technology

Sponsored by: Lely

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 5

Noon

Hosted by: Piedmont Jerseys, Lincolnton, N.C.

Highlights: 250 milking/Jersey Genetics

Sponsored by: American Jersey Cattle Association

2 pm

Hosted by: Meier Dairy of Palmer, Inc., Palmer, Kan.

Highlights: 650 milking/Innovation

Sponsored by: Kansas Department of Agriculture

 

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 6

Noon

Hosted by: VanBedaf Dairy LLP, Carrington, N.D.

Highlights: 1,500 milking/First Generation U.S. Farm

Sponsored by: Quality Liquid Feeds, Inc.

2 pm

Hosted by: Night Hawk Dairy, Stratford, Wis. 

Highlights: 900 milking/Cow and Calf Care

Sponsored by: Purina Animal Nutrition, LLC

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 7

Noon

Hosted by: Woods Hill Farms, Turin, N.Y.

Highlights: 743 milking/Expansion

Sponsored by: CRV USA

 


Tuesday, October 3, 2 p.m.

Hosted by: Fustead Holsteins, Wausau, Wis.
Highlights: 475 milking/Milk Production and Genetics
Sponsored by: Provimi

Fustead Holsteins began in 1905 as a wedding gift to Brian Fust’s great-grandparents. Today, is it operated by Brian, his wife Wendy, two of their children, Jennifer and Tyler, and their spouses, Adam and Shannon, respectively. With a growing family interest in the dairy, the need to expand and welcome the next generation became apparent. In 2014, a new 400-head freestall barn was built, complete with maternity pens and a double-12 parlor. The current herd consists of 475 cows with a rolling herd average of 31,500 pounds of milk, 3.85% fat and 3.15% protein, being milked three times daily. In the last decade, the Fusts have focused on genetics and marketing by increasing E.T. and IVF work on their top animals. They are exporting embryos to ten countries including Australia, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, Holland, Italy, Japan and Spain. Fustead Holsteins has had a global impact with Fustead Emory Blitz-ET, Select Sires’ All-Time Breeding Bull, selling more than 1.6 million units of semen worldwide. For their breeding success, the Fusts were recognized with the Wisconsin Holstein Association Distinguished Breeder Award in 2012. 

Back to top.

 

Wednesday, October 4, Noon

Hosted by: Oregon Dairy Farm, LLC, Lititz, Pa.
Highlights: 475 milking/Community Partners
Sponsored by: Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy                                                                                     

Located in Lancaster County, Pa. near the Chesapeake Bay, Oregon Dairy Farm, LLC is comprised of a herd of 525 dry and milk cows and 1,000 acres of corn, soybeans and triticale. Each family member has an active role in the farm’s management. George Hurst is the general manager, while his daughter Maria and son-in-law Tim Forry oversee finances, employees and the dairy herd. Additionally, George’s son Chad, is the crop and forage manager. Since adding a small store to the farm in 1974 to sell milk and produce, the family has embodied the farm-to-fork experience. Now, with a full-service grocery store, ice cream parlor and award-winning restaurant, Oregon Dairy Farm has become a staple in the community for fresh products and great food. Annually, the dairy welcomes more than 15,000 visitors through various events and school tours. The farm is also committed to being strong stewards of the land with no-till practices, composting waste from the dairy with food waste from the community and operating the longest running anaerobic digester in Pennsylvania. To further protect nearby waterways, the dairy utilizes stream bank fencing to prevent erosion, decrease run-off and encourage bio-diversity. These environmental efforts were recognized in 2015 when the farm was presented with the U.S. Dairy Sustainability Award.

Back to top.

 

Wednesday, October 4, 2 p.m.

Hosted by: Good-Vue Farms, Goodridge, Minn.
Highlights: 120 milking/Utilizing Technology
Sponsored by: Lely

Mike and Linda Hanson and their sons, David, Matthew and Steven, own and manage Good-Vue Farms in Goodridge, Minn. Last year, the Hanson's completed construction on their new freestall facility with two Lely A4 automatic milking systems and a Lely Vector automatic feeding system. The Vector, one of the first in the United States, allows the family to feed each group of lactating cows between 8-12 batches of feed per day depending on their Dry Matter Intakes. The system utilizes a “kitchen” to automatically create PMR's (Partial Mixed Ration), leading to the elimination of human error from the mixing, batching and feeding process. The forages used in the PMR are grown on 2,800 acres, along with cash crops of soybeans, spring wheat and malting barley. The freestall barn features 120 dual chamber waterbed stalls topped with shavings for their 90 Ayrshire and 30 Holstein cows. As the next generation returns to the farm, there are plans to convert the former tie-stall barn into a new calf facility. Sons Matthew and Steve have recently returned home; David works for his in-laws but stays involved with Good-Vue Farms by selecting and managing the show string. His wife Ashley, a DVM specializing in embryo transfer, handles the farms embryo work. The Hansons’ Ayrshires have topped classes in the International Ayrshire Show at World Dairy Expo and have earned several All-American nominations. The family currently markets embryos and cattle across the U.S.       

Back to top.
 

Thursday, October 5, Noon

Hosted by: Piedmont Jerseys, Lincolnton, N.C.
Highlights: 250 milking/Jersey Genetics
Sponsored by: American Jersey Cattle Association

Piedmont Jerseys is one of the oldest Registered Jersey herds in North Carolina, and Corey Lutz and his family are looking forward to continuing the tradition of Jersey genetics and the family farm as the fifth generation joins the business. In 1997, Corey and his wife Bridgette moved their herd from a conventional dairy facility, where their family had farmed since 1882, to a year-round intensive grazing operation in the neighboring county. Located in a horseshoe bend, the farm is surrounded on three sides by water, which led to the decision to utilize no-till management practices on the farm’s 450 acres. The herd of 235 cows is milked in a double-eight herringbone parlor and maintains a rolling herd average of 18,438 pounds of milk with 5.0% fat and 3.7% protein. Piedmont has bred and developed 273 Excellent cows during its tenure; currently, the farm is home to 46 Excellent and 157 Very Good head. As genetics are marketed throughout the U.S. and Puerto Rico, Piedmont’s breeding philosophy focuses on cows with good udders, longevity, high milk production and the ability to perform in all dairy systems, not just grazing. Corey and Bridgette recently formed an LLC to aid in the transition of the farm to their son, James, and his wife Danielle, their daughter, Mandy, and her husband Chris, and their daughter, Olivia. 

Back to top.

 

Thursday, October 5, 2 p.m.

Hosted by: Meier Dairy of Palmer, Inc., Palmer, Kan.
Highlights: 650 milking/Innovation
Sponsored by: Kansas Department of Agriculture

Duane Meier is a third-generation dairy farmer. Together with his wife Ronda, Duane purchased his family’s farm and herd of 80 cows in 1978. A decade later, the Meiers expanded to 650 cows and built their current facilities. Since the beginning, there has always been a focus on adopting new technology. After the successful installation of two automatic calf feeders in 2010, the Meier family began researching automatic milking systems. With no dealers in Kansas, the Meiers spent five years trying to secure the automatic milking system to achieve a more consistent and efficient labor performance. In 2015, their persistence paid off as they retro-fitted their facilities and became the first dairy farm in Kansas to utilize this technology in the form of 12 Lely robots. This decision has allowed four of their five children to return to the farm. Amanda is an assistant herdsman, Dustin is a herdsman, Micah does farm work and maintenance and Tony is a herdsman who owns 65 Jerseys. In a few short years, Tony’s Registered Jersey herd has become one of the top 35 herds for Jersey Performance Index in the U.S. The combined Jersey and Holstein herd is averaging 2.7 milkings per day and has a rolling herd average of 25,000 pounds of milk with 3.75% fat and 3.30% protein.  

Back to top.

 

Friday, October 6, Noon

Hosted by: VanBedaf Dairy LLP, Carrington, N.D.
Highlights: 1,500 milking/First Generation U.S. Farm
Sponsored by: Quality Liquid Feeds, Inc.

Conny and Corne van Bedaf have dairy farmed in the Netherlands, Canada and now North Dakota. Moving to the United States after experiencing expansion limitations in both previous locations, the van Bedaf family has built VanBedaf Dairy, LLP from the ground up. Starting with 800 springing heifers in 2009, the 1,400-cow herd has increased its size and rolling herd average more than 29,000 pounds of milk to more than 28,000 pounds of milk today. This growth was achieved through breeding cattle to top without compromising wellness. Now with more data available, they utilize genomic testing to continue the herd’s genetic progress. The van Bedaf family has worked hard to build relationships in the community. In a continued effort, every other year, the family opens their doors for LegenDAIRY, a community appreciation open house. They also lease dairy calves and heifers to local 4-H members to show. To minimize its environmental impact, the farm collects rain water from the roofs and the waste water from the parlor to aid in sand separation. The farm also incorporates unique byproducts into the herd’s rations, such as pasta waste. VanBedaf Dairy will welcome two new partners in the operation this year, Conny and Corne’s sons, Piet and Dries.

Back to top.

 

Friday, October 6, 2 p.m.

Hosted by: Night Hawk Dairy, Stratford, Wis.
Highlights: 900 milking/Cow and Calf Care
Sponsored by: Purina Animal Nutrition, LLC

Nearly 100 years after the Leick brothers chose to manage separate farms, their grandsons are again farming together. With both farms in need of updates, Chris and Steve Leick, and their cousins Peter and Jim Leick, began discussing options of merging their operations. Peter later opted out of the ownership group but assumed responsibility as herdsman. He plans to retire in the fall. In 2013, the freestall barn at Chris and Steve’s was expanded and converted into a tunnel-ventilated building, a double-12 parlor was built and the herds were combined to form Night Hawk Dairy, LLC. With cow comfort in mind, the holding pen also is tunnel-ventilated to maximize comfort. The transition cow barn serves as a “vacation destination” with tunnel ventilation, sand-bedded stalls, cobblestone flooring and natural light for all far-off dry cows, pre-fresh dry cows and heifers and post-fresh heifers and cows. The transition barn features maternity pens and a fresh cow parlor. The calves are cared for in a starter nursery and then moved to one of four classroom-style pens with an automatic feeder. At nine weeks, the calves are moved to group housing with bedding packs for four months. From six to 13 months, the heifers are raised in the grower barn and taught to utilize freestalls with rubber mattresses and wood shavings. The decisions the Leicks have made show the commitment to animal health and welfare at Night Hawk Dairy.     

Back to top.

 

Saturday, October 7, Noon.

Hosted by: Woods Hill Farms, Turin, N.Y.
Highlights: 743 milking/Expansion
Sponsored by: CRV USA.

Woods Hill Farms in Turin, N.Y. began with 134 acres and 60 cows when Ted Seaver purchased it in 1947. Three decades later, a barn fire destroyed most of the buildings, resulting in the Seavers constructing a freestall barn and a double-four herringbone parlor. Since then, steady growth has been a key part of the success at Woods Hill Farms. At the turn of the century, a new freestall barn was built. A few years later, a new double-16 parlor and a second freestall barn were built to accommodate the growing herd. After numerous land acquisitions, the farm currently consists of 743 lactating cows and 1,540 acres of grass hay, alfalfa and corn. Mike Branagan joined Ted as a partner in 2008 after working on the dairy for nearly twenty years. After seven years of partnership, Ted passed away and Mike’s wife Emily and their son Corey stepped into ownership roles. The two freestall barns total 700 stalls and house a milking herd with a rolling herd average of 28,541 pounds of milk with 4.1% fat, 3.1% protein and 132,000 SCC. The calves on the dairy are cared for in group housing before moving to freestalls. Woods Hill regularly opens its doors for local and international tour groups. The farm has also developed a camping area for visitors and conservation land near their duck pond. 

Back to top.