Thursday, June 30, 2011

VanEss Dairy

Last night we had the opportunity to attend an open house at VanEss Dairy, which is our largest local dairy.  We walked around to different stations in the barns, and they explained what happens in each area and how it is done.  Harvey and Lisa VanEss and their sons are the owners/operators of the dairy.  Harvey and Lisa moved their family to Northwest Iowa from Idaho and built this new dairy to enable all five of their sons to be involved in the business.  They are a wonderful family and their business is a true asset to the area.

The first station showed us the feed ingredients that go into the ration that gets fed to the cows every day.  In this barn the cows each have their own area to eat and be comfortable.  They are sand-bedded pens which helps the cows stay cleaner.  The barn is well ventilated and kept at a consistent temperature throughout the day and night.  The air quality in these barns in great!  These girls have a comfortable environment and are very content.  By the way.....the gentleman in the center is my brother-in-law, Rodney, who is talking about the feed ingredients and rations used for the cows.

Our next station was about cow comfort. These cows looked very satisfied with their surroundings.  Then we moved on to the Maternity Ward.  This baby calf was born just 25 minutes before we got to the station and another calf was being born as we were walking through.

JM was very interested in the baby calves.  He was wondering just how we could get our hands on some of these.  We may have to look into that for a project for him.

The milking parlor was amazing.  The cows are milked every 8 hours.  This dairy does not have a bulk tank since they have a local creamery just a few miles away.  AMPI has tankers that sit at the farm and are loaded as the milking process is done.  Since freshness is a top priority, the milk is instantly cooled before being pumped onto the tankers.  30,000 gallons of fresh, cooled milk leaves this dairy every day.  AMPI takes this milk and makes cheese from it.

Our family would like to thank Harvey and Lisa VanEss and their families for a very educational tour of your wonderful facility.  The barns were immaculate, and the cows were content and comfortable.  As livestock farmers, we put the care and well-being of our animals ahead of our own.  We are proud to have your business in our part of the state!


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