Recapping a Great IDP Summer Tour to Ohio
Click here to view the IDP Summer Tour pictures!
Nearly 40 people jumped on the tour bus for the IDP Summer Tour to Ohio on June 4-5. The first stop was to Select Sires Headquarters in Plain City, where a highlight was seeing a bull parade ncluding "Planet", a famous bull that the CEO suggested he wouldn't even sell for $20 million dollars.
After lunch, the tour heard a sober reminder of how quickly things can change on a farm when an abuse video brought national media spotlight on a nearby farmer, Gary Conklin. Although the farm and it's owners were cleared of any wrongdoing, animal abuse was certainly committed by an employee, and Gary candidly discussed how they have made changes to their hiring process and their animal care policies since the event occurred. He talked about the "new glass walls" at his farm, noting that what he used to view as acceptable is not necessarily OK with today's consumers. Now, he implements more of a team approach. He very much appreciated how his local community stood by him during the dark days after the video was released.
Visiting Miley Holsteins in West Salem, Ohio, was the next stop, and it was a treat to see the beautiful animals on this this well-kept but older facility. Miley Holsteins is owned by Joe, Diana, Jason, Anna, Jon, Amy, Adam and David Miley! Their cows are all registered, 99.9% homebred closed herd of 250 milking cows.
During the evening banquet, the attendees had a delicious meal and listened to DFA's Fabian Bernell discuss the use of laboratory tools to help manage milk quality on dairy farms. It was a perfect introduction to a visit to ELS laboratories the following day, where the tour group saw the extensive equipment and techniques used to insure milk quality, antibiotic residue testing, mastitis culturing, water testing and so much more.
A visit to Pine-Tree Dairy's beautiful new facility (built in 2012) and very involved family of Matt and Gail Steiner was an inspirational final stop. The Steiners have 5 sons and 1 son-in-law working full time, and 2 sons working part time, currently milking 650 cows. They average 92 lbs with a SCC of 97,000. Their stated focus is on cow comfort and high genetic return to add value to their program. Pine-Tree's breeding goals focus on having a medium-sized cow that can produce well, reproduce efficiently, have high productive life, and add value to her offspring.
If you missed the Summer Tour, we hope you take advantage of the Kentuckiana, coming up on July 29-30. These tours are well worth the time away from the farm!