October 4, 2018
Dustin Takes of Takes Dairy Farm in Ely, Iowa, and Charles Carter of Carterly Farm, Inc. in Thorntown, Indiana, are two of four finalists for the prestigious The Way to Dairy Award.
Lely North America announced the award earlier this year as a way to recognize the most progressive dairy operations who want to maximize each cow’s potential, while changing the daily tasks on the dairy to be more sustainable, profitable and enjoyable. This top honor will be awarded to the dairy farmer who best demonstrates and lives by the standards of using sustainability and innovation while being an animal care advocate and is involved in the dairy industry. Applications were accepted until June 30. The grand prize winner will be chosen by a panel of judges and will receive their choice of either a new Lely Astronaut A5 milking system or a recently re-launched Vector feeding system.
In an essay submitted for the award, Takes wrote that at Takes Dairy Farm and their subsidiary, Dan and Debbie’s Creamery, they feed a growing global population by using their raw milk as the single-source used daily at their creamery. “Having added value to our raw milk commodity through the production and marketing of finished dairy goods is one of the many ways we are directly helping to feed a growing global population,” he wrote. “As the world’s population continues to grow, achieving global food security through the production of nutritious dairy, with sustainability in mind—is arguably one of the greatest challenges we face today.”
In the submitted essay, Carter wrote that he knows that investments in new ideas and facilities are invigorating, but investments in people are priceless. “Each summer, for the last 20 years, approximately twenty-five kids descend upon our farm to learn about showing a calf (through the 4-H program),” he wrote. “We provide the animals, feed and bedding, transportation to the fair, clippers, and supervised opportunities for the 4-H members to train and fit their leased animal. The week of the fair, each 4-H member has sole responsibility for the care of his or her animal. Character building, along with a love of cows (and therefore agriculture), is built into the summer. Over the years, we have hosted many kids from June through mid-August. However, it is the families of these kids that are our favorite part. As the summer progresses, we answer questions about animal care, the milking parlor, new baby calves, veterinary care, etc. Over a 4-H career, advocates for agriculture are built.”
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