Watch a video of the winning dairy. IDFA and Dairy Today magazine co-sponsor the annual award.
Source: International Dairy Foods Association
Milk Source, LLC, a dairy operation located in Kaukauna, Wis., was named the 2014 Innovative Dairy Farmer of the Year during an awards ceremony this week at the International Dairy Foods Association's (IDFA) Dairy Forum in Palm Desert, Calif.
The award, co-sponsored by IDFA and Dairy Today magazine, recognizes U.S. dairy producers that apply creativity, excellence and forward thinking to achieve greater on-farm productivity and improved milk marketing.
Milk Source earned two nominations, one from Wisconsin Secretary of Agriculture Ben Brancel and another from David Crass and Anna Wildeman, attorneys with Michael Best & Friedrich LLP, in Madison, Wis. All three attended the ceremony where Jim Ostrom, president and CEO of Milk Source, accepted the award.
The other owners are John Vosters, who manages the livestock, and Todd Willer, who handles facility and farming operations. Willer is also the lead on all building and site renovations. This partnership has allowed the farm to grow from 180 cows in 1994 to nearly 27,000 cows today.
"Milk Source is an innovative dairy farm that supports thousands of families across Wisconsin," Secretary Brancel told Dairy Today mazagine. "With a dedicated staff almost 400 employees strong and thousands of productive dairy animals, Milk Source is a premiere example of how innovation has allowed this dairy farm to strengthen dairy processing in this state."
Milk Source has six locations across Wisconsin with four facilities – Tidy View Dairy, Omro Dairy, Rosendale Dairy and New Chester Dairy – that focus on milk production. Calf Source is a calf-raising facility, and Milk Source Genetics is home to an elite herd of high genetics Holstein cattle. The company also recently expanded into Kansas with the acquisition of a modern heifer-raising facility.
The farms use an array of innovative management practices, such as bio digesters, as well as production efficiency technologies, including a new biogas plant that will include a public education center when complete. Rosendale Dairy will use this plant to generate 1.4 megawatts of electricity to help the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh with its goal for carbon neutrality on campus.
"As a company, Milk Source, LLC, is constantly investing time, energy and resources in identifying and researching new equipment, processes and personnel to make its farms more efficient, its nutrients a more valuable commodity and its environmental footprint smaller," said Crass and Wildeman.
Previous winners of the Innovative Dairy Farmer title are:
• Mason Dixon Farms, Gettysburg, Pa. (1999);
• Clauss Dairy Farms, Hilmar, Calif. (2000);
• Baldwin Dairy/Emerald Dairy, Emerald, Wis. (2001);
• Si-Ellen Farms, Jerome, Idaho (2002);
• Pagel's Ponderosa Dairy, Kewaunee, Wis. (2003);
• C Bar M Dairy, Jerome, Idaho (2004);
• North Florida Holsteins, Bell, Fla. (2005);
• KF Dairy, El Centro, Calif. (2006);
• Joseph Gallo Farms, Atwater, Calif. (2007);
• KBC Farms, Purdy, Mo., (2008);
• High Plains Dairy, Friona, Texas (2009);
• Haubenschild Dairy Farm, Inc., Princeton, Minn. (2010);
• Brubaker Farms, Mount Joy, Pa. (2011);
• Sweetwater Valley Farm, Philadelphia, Tenn. (2012);
• McCarty Family Farms, Rexford, Kan. (2013).
A call for nominations for the 2015 Innovative Dairy Farmer award will be released this summer.