Our first featured farm for June Dairy Month 2014 is Haney Hilltop Holsteins in Akron, Indiana.
The Haneys have been farming in northern Indiana for six generations, with the seventh generation already starting to help out (or at least to play on the swings the family installed in their milking parlor).
Kevin Haney and his sons Orville and Jeremiah manage the farm, which consists of 160 milking cows and approximately 340 calves, young females, steers, and bulls. The Haneys raise all their own calves, including raising steers for beef. They also sell bulls to other farmers for breeding purposes.
Orville says the goal is to allow the next generation to inherit the farm, rather than needing to buy in. Orville has three children and Jeremiah has two, with another on the way. Both brothers have wives who work off the farm, although all family members on a farm have to be dedicated to the farm (Orville’s wife Jessica mentioned they cut their honeymoon short to come home and cut hay).
The Haneys are currently in a rebuilding phase after a fire in November 2006. They moved the cows to two different facilities while they rebuilt. The family was back milking at their farm in March 2007, just four months after the fire. They had 60 cows at that time and are now working on expanding from 160 cows up to 240 cows.
The Haneys breed many registered Holsteins and also have the largest herd of Red and White Holsteins in Indiana. Holsteins come in two colors: the more common black and white “classic” dairy cow color and a red and white variety. Orville says the red and whites stay cooler outside in the hot sun and so are able to do a little better in the summer time than the black cows. The Haneys use rotational grazing, which means the cows are moved to different sections of pasture every day to keep the grass in good condition. In the winter time, the cows eat silage and grain.
The Haneys have 750 acres of cropland to feed their cows. Besides Orville, Jeremiah, and Kevin, the family hires local high school kids to help out on the weekends and have a cousin who milks during the week.