June is almost over, so our final featured farm for this June Dairy Month is Willemsen Dairy Farm in Frankton, Indiana. (Not to worry–July is National Ice Cream Month and, really, shouldn’t every month be Dairy Month? I digress.)
Willemsen Dairy Farm a began in 2002 when Tejo Willemsen immigrated to Indiana from the Netherlands. Tejo had previously owned a 60 cow dairy farm in the Netherlands and is a fourth generation dairy farmer.
Tejo and his teenaged son, Thomas, take care of 1200 dairy cows, milking three times a day.
As you can see, some cows demand a little more attention than others. This one is the farm favorite, Tejo says.
Others have a lower opinion of visitors.
In addition to Tejo and Thomas, the dairy farm has 15 employees. The Willemsens grow 60-70 percent of the grassy forage crops the cows eat. The farm uses a system called “double cropping”, where two crops are planted and harvested in a single growing season. In the winter time, the farm grows a mixture of triticale and peas that will be harvested as a forage, basically a “grass”, and the cows will eat the whole plant. After that harvest, they plant corn which will be harvested for corn silage. Corn silage is the entire corn plant—ears, stalks, leaves and all—chopped up and fermented so the cows can have a tasty, fiber-rich meal, as you see below.
In addition to running a dairy farm, Tejo also has a milk hauling business, Evermilk Logistics.
Every dairy farm gets milk picked up every day or every other day (to ensure the milk stays fresh!), so dairy farmers need milk tanker trucks to get their milk from the farm to the dairy plant. Evermilk Logistics is currently picking up 14-15 tanker truck loads of milk each day (that’s about 88,000 gallons of milk!). The milk can then be taken to one of the processing plants in Indiana or sent anywhere the milk is needed. Evermilk Logistics creates 23 jobs in the Frankton area.