Ohio couple moves forward with dairy farming by giving a nod to the past.
Gail C. Keck | Apr 22, 2019
Dairy farmers Ray and Colleen Jackson have known for several years that they would need to make some big changes to continue milking cows on their family farm near De Graff, Ohio. With a milking herd of about 74, they aren’t producing enough volume to ship out the truckloads that many processors now prefer; and the prices they were getting weren’t offering much, if any, profit.
“Doing what we’d been doing was not sustainable,” says Colleen.
Their production system was already as efficient as they could make it, Ray adds. “We spent our whole lives learning how to make milk efficiently, now we have to learn new tricks.”
About three years ago, the couple even called a family meeting with their teenage and young adult children to discuss whether they should give up on milking cows.
“I just laid it all out after church one day,” Ray recalls. The consensus was to find some way to keep the cows; but to do that, they realized they needed more control of their milk market.
They are hoping to get that control by bottling and selling their milk to customers eager for minimally processed dairy products. In February, they bottled their first jugs of unhomogenized, flash-pasteurized whole milk. “If this works, it will fix things financially,” says Ray.
Read the full article here: https://www.farmprogress.com/dairy/dairy-determination