Dairy Farmers of America’s (DFA) 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 2019 Members of Distinction are:
Brandt Family, Brandt Dairy — Linn, Mo.
Nestled in the foothills of the Ozark Mountains, Alfred Brandt was born into dairying, and today, as the sixth generation on the farm, he milks about 130 registered Holsteins and raises 120 acres of corn and alfalfa in Linn, Mo. Citing a disconnect between legislators and farms, Alfred dedicates many hours off the farm to promote dairy and be a voice for others in the industry.
Brown Family, Brownhaven Dairy — New Bremen, Ohio
Brothers Lou and Alan Brown grew up as the second generation on their parents’ dairy farm in New Bremen, Ohio. Beginning with just two cows, the farm has now grown in size — both the family and the cows. The Brown family focuses on cow comfort, sustainability and a very high-forage diet. Their children are the third generation, and together, they care for more than 300 cows on two farm locations just a mile apart.
Korn Family, Korn Dairy — Terreton, Idaho
Richard and Kim Korn of Korn Dairy in Terreton, Idaho, are continuing a legacy of providing top-notch care to their herd of 90 Holstein and Brown Swiss cows. Richard is a third-generation dairy farmer and has instilled his philosophy of treating each cow as an individual to his children, David and Becky, and his grandson, Boden. The family makes it a point to check on each cow and has recently implemented GPS trackers to help monitor cow movement and breeding cycles.
Reynolds Family, Cross Winds Dairy & Daughters — Alburgh, Vt.
In Alburgh, Vt., the Reynolds family is focused on water quality, cow comfort and their community. With over 700 milking cows on 1,600 acres, Darlene and Newton Reynolds are defying the odds as first-generation dairy farmers with their four daughters who all play a role on the dairy. Their family has led the way helping clean up Lake Champlain, by helping other farmers find local ways to avoid discharges into the fresh water lake.
Eberly Family, Eberly Family Farm — Waynesboro, Ga.
Eberly Family Farm in Waynesboro, Ga., may be a first-generation dairy, but the family sees dairy as an exciting and thriving industry, and is setting itself up to be part of the future of DFA. A 2014 transition from a pasture-based model to a conventional system helped the Eberly family maximize cow comfort, hygiene, management practices, and ultimately, milk quality. Now they’re passing on that spirit of careful attention to quality to the second generation — with the third not far behind.
Koke Family, Blue Bonnet and Blue Jay Dairy — Dublin, Texas
In Dublin, Texas, the Koke family is dedicated to feeding the world. With roughly 1,700 milking cows on 800 acres, Johan and Sonya Koke are living their dream of being dairy farmers. Originally from Holland, Johan moved to the United States in 1991 before landing in Texas where his family are now leaders in their community and beyond. Their six children are active around their operation and also judge dairy cattle through the state of Texas and around the country.
Verwey Family, Philip Verwey Farms 2 and 3 — Hanford, Calif.
For the Verwey family of Hanford, Calif., green practices make good business sense, as well as environmental sense. Since they built their first dairy in 2000, Philip, Shelley and their son, Brent have installed several innovative, sustainable features, including an anaerobic digester, an electric feed mixer and using recycled water from electric wells. Their passion for the dairy industry inspires them to demonstrate the viability of implementing sustainable practices to their fellow dairy farmers.
Source: Dairy Farmers of America