Max and Karen Beer mulled over the decision to build a new milking parlor a few years ago. They decided that if they built it, they would take care of several needs at the same time. They also needed a more centrally located office complex on the farm and a place where employees, both family members and non-family members, could gather, either for meetings, to stow gear or just to take time out from work at lunch or break time.
They built the milking parlor and included both a modern farm office and a break area for employees in the complex. It’s become the face of the business when people visit today.
“We needed better office space and a gathering point, and it just made sense to include it in the same building with the milking parlor,” Max says. “It makes a good focal point and makes our farm a better place to work.”
The Beers, of Berne, Ind., farm in conjunction with family members. Their son Keith manages the dairy and cattle operation and their son Craig manages the cropping side of the farm, including producing forage for the dairy.
While not directly involved in the farm business, two other children live close by. And there are plenty of grandchildren, some of whom already help on the farm. Having designated office space and areas to meet and gather make it convenient for everyone in the family.
The Beers’ primary focus with the dairy operation is raising heifers, freshening them and then marketing them after the first month, usually to large commercial dairies. Many large dairies prefer buying cows that are already used to milking in a parlor, Max explains.
The office consists of plenty of room for desks and computers, primarily built into the design, plus a large conference room for meetings. There’s also a break room for employees and a locker storage area for their clothes, coats and other gear.
Looking back, both Max and Karen agree it was a good investment to include the office and break area in the milking parlor complex. Max and Karen were named Master Farmers in 2020. The award is co-sponsored by Indiana Prairie Farmer and the Purdue University College of Agriculture.