Dairy Farmers of America’s Members of Distinction program honors members who embody the Cooperative’s core values and excel on their operations, in their communities and in the industry. Each year, one member farm from each of DFA’s seven regional Areas is honored during the Annual Banquet at DFA’s Annual Meeting. The 2015 Members of Distinction are:
Mueller family, Vi-View Farms — Hooper, Neb.
Almost 150 years ago, Lowell, Larry and Dennis Mueller’s ancestors settled near Hooper, Neb., and started Vi-View Farms. Today, the family is still in the business, milking 200 cows and growing corn, alfalfa and soybeans on 1,500 acres. The brothers make all decisions on the dairy together and are committed to continuous improvement. By focusing on the dairy’s breeding program, cow comfort and high-quality nutrition, the Muellers are able to consistently increase efficiency, ensuring their dairy will be around for generations to come.
Tubergen family, Tubergen Dairy Farm — Ionia, Mich.
Dennis Tubergen stepped away from his factory job more than 30 years ago to start a dairy with his wife, Doris. At the time, they had 20 cows. Now, with three of their children, Kurt and Todd Tubergen and Amber Alexander, they operate the 900-cow dairy, where they are meticulous about cow comfort and milk quality. In the barns, recycled sand bedding contributes to healthier cows and higher output. Through a focus on employee training and milking procedures, the family earned a platinum National Dairy Quality Award in 2013.
Munk family, River View Dairy — Amalga, Utah
All of the partners at River View Dairy have a desire to succeed. With each partner owning a portion of the 500-cow milking herd and raising his own replacements, everyone has incentive to make animal health a top priority. The farm grows exceptional silage, hay, hayledge and barley, which contribute to a healthy herd. From their fields to their parlor, the Munks are constantly looking for the latest on-farm technology and innovations.
Everitt family, Evervue Farms — Brackney, Pa.
Reuben and Beth Everitt’s success can be attributed to their commitment to their herd and to each other. Milking 36 cows in a tie-stall barn, the couple consistently produce high quality milk, with an average somatic cell count of less than 100,000. The Everitts grew up as neighbors, dated in high school and are proud of the dairy they started in the early 1970s. Today, the couple works together effortlessly, focusing on herd genetics, cow comfort and nutrition to produce quality milk.
Gaul family, Tribute Farm — Benton, Mo.
The Gaul family has a simple, guiding principle when it comes to their cattle: treat every cow as if it’s the only one you’ve got. Since moving to their 1,148-acre hybrid grazing operation from New Zealand in 2007, the Gauls have paid close attention to animal care and wellness, visually assessing each of their 900 cows daily. Cows that need additional care are put into a special herd and actively monitored. In addition to their strict animal health program, the Gaul family is adamant about practicing three forms of sustainability: financial, community and environmental.
Grigg family, Del Rio Dairy — Friona, Texas
When Rocky and Liz Gingg started their dairy in Phoenix, Ariz., in 1982, they never expected to leave the area. But in 2006, as urban sprawl increased, they moved to Friona, Texas, and took a risk by building an open-carrol barn and doubling their herd to 3,400 cows in the process. Today, the Ginggs milk about 3,800 cows and are joined by two sons-in-law, who help manage the dairy.
Schakel family, South Lakes Dairy — Pixley, Calif.
With 5,800 cows, 2,400 acres and more than 50 employees, South Lakes Dairy’s owners rely on skillful management and advanced technology to help them operate their large-scale dairy. One high-tech practice involves fitting each cow with an electronic identification, which tracks lactation, milk output and other information. With a focus on continuous employee training, the Schakels have retained a strong team of employees, helping to ensure consistent milking procedures and attention to detail throughout the operation.
Source: Dairy Farmers of America