Nick Vande Weerd
The Vande Weerd family is majority owner and manager of Pleasant Dutch Dairy, which milks 1,400 Holsteins.
**Extended comments highlighted in blue.
Pleasant Dutch Dairy is a 1,400-cow family operation located near Willow Lake, S.D. We are a commercial operation with nearly 100% Holsteins. The dairy was purchased three years ago and is located 45 miles from our home operation.
The home operation where I grew up was a 160-cow dairy. We were a diversified operation that also raised hogs and cattle. In addition, we farmed 1,200 tillable acres and grew corn, soybeans and alfalfa. Today the home operation is used for raising our heifers from eight months of age until 22 months.
Due to the size of our operation while I was growing up, I planned on the possibility of not returning to the farming operation after college. With that mentality, I joined the Air National Guard my senior year in high school. I have now served for nearly 13 years and feel it has provided me with many experiences and tools that help me manage the current operation. The Air National Guard also assisted with my college tuition. I graduated from South Dakota State University with my master’s degree in economics and proceeded to work off of the family farm as a dairy financial consultant.