Tim Hood was honored as the 2020 Michigan State University Dairy Farmer of the Year on Feb. 7 during the Michigan Dairy Industry Recognition Night at the Great Lakes Regional Dairy Conference in Frankenmuth, Mich.
Hood, who along with his wife, Debbie, owns and operates Hood Farms Family Dairy in Van Buren County, was honored by the Department of Animal Science at MSU.
The farm was established in the 1890s and transitioned to a dairy farm in the 1940s. Today, Hood Farms Family Dairy includes more than 1,000 acres of corn, soybeans, alfalfa and wheat crops, primarily used as forage.
Tim grew the dairy from 50 milking cows to 500 cows and more than 400 youngstock today. He transitioned the operation from a tie-stall barn to a fabric-covered freestall barn with a double-15 parallel parlor.
Several members of the Hood family are involved in the operation, including Tammy (Hood) and Ty Spicher, Charlie Hood, Britney Hood, Jennifer Buskirk and four grandchildren.
LEADER: Tim Hood is District 2 director of the Michigan Milk Producers Association Board of Directors, representing more than 200 farms in Michigan and Indiana. He also serves on the United Dairy Industry Association Board of Directors, the Michigan Dairy Market Program Committee, the United Dairy Industry of Michigan Board of Directors, and the Michigan Farm Bureau Dairy Advisory Committee.
Tim places a priority on working to sustain the dairy industry. Hood Farms Family Dairy has twice (2015 and 2018) hosted MSU Extension’s Breakfast on the Farm, which allowed the public to see a working farm up close and to learn about modern agriculture.
“I see people drive slowly by the farm trying to get a look inside. I know they are curious,” Tim said before the 2015 event. “Many consumers don’t understand modern-day farming practices, and it is important that they know our story.”
Thousands of attendees attend Breakfast on the Farm each year, and it was noted that Tim’s willingness to invite such a large crowd onto his property was not only a sign of genuine transparency, but also a desire to communicate his dedication to farming.
Tim is a member of several dairy industry leadership and promotional organizations. He is District 2 director of the Michigan Milk Producers Association Board of Directors, representing more than 200 farms in Michigan and Indiana. He served on the MMPA Advisory Committee from 1998 to 2005.
He also serves on the United Dairy Industry Association Board of Directors, the Michigan Dairy Market Program Committee, the United Dairy Industry of Michigan Board of Directors, and the Michigan Farm Bureau Dairy Advisory Committee.
Tim’s priority on sustaining the dairy industry is illustrated through his work with MMPA. Through MMPA’s involvement with the Michigan Alliance for Animal Agriculture, Tim reviews M-AAA research proposals from faculty at MSU on behalf of MMPA and makes recommendations for funding.
M-AAA is a partnership between the state's animal agriculture industries and MSU focused on advancing the Michigan animal agriculture economy.
BREAKFAST ON THE FARM: Tim Hood hosted MSU Extension’s Breakfast on the Farm in 2015 and 2018.
Tim was honored for 35 years of membership in MMPA in 2012, and he was a District 2 finalist for MMPA Outstanding Young Dairy Cooperator in 1996-97. In addition, the farm was recognized with the MMPA Bronze Quality Award in 1998, 2009, 2012, 2016 and 2018.
As Hood Farms Family Dairy has evolved through the years, so has Tim’s role. He still arrives at the barn early, asking team members about their day and checking on the well-being of the cows. He’s also focused on moving the farm into the future, which means guiding the next generation on what it takes to make the dairy run successfully.
“Tim Hood is an inspiration for all dairy farmers and a great example of how dairy farms are integrated into their communities,” says Dr. Pam Ruegg, chair of the Department of Animal Science. “It is with great pleasure that the MSU Department of Animal Science recognizes Tim Hood as the 2020 MSU Dairy Farmer of the Year.”