Meet a Hoosier Dairy Farmer
Through the use of innovative and safe technology, Hoosier dairy farmers deliver exceptional animal care, sustainable nutrition, and fresh, delicious dairy foods. Recycling resources, generating electricity, and reducing the amount of land and water used on the farm are just a few ways dairy farmers are caring for their cows, land, and communities. Meet some Hoosier dairy farmers near you and get the inside scoop on their farms.
Triple M Dairy
Kimberly Minich is a Nurse Practitioner from Northern Indiana. Splitting her time between the family farm and her nursing job is a difficult task, but she enjoys being able to share her knowledge regarding the benefits of milk and other dairy products. Kimberly and her husband Luke live on a fourth generation dairy farm, where they milk both Holstein and Jersey cows. Their farm was first established in 1909 by Luke’s great grandpa and great uncle. Time passed and Luke, who attended college to become a broker, decided to carry on the family legacy. Luke and Kimberly hope that their passion for farming will carry over to their five children, making them the fifth generation. Minich Farms Fun Fact: In a 2018 episode of Sesame Street, where Cookie Monster needs more milk for his smoothie, Minich Farms was featured for a short segment teaching kids about the process their milk goes through to get to the shelves in stores near them. Follow along with the Minich family on their Facebook page, Triple M Dairy.
Tim Haynes farms with his brother and their families at Superior Dairy in Garrett. His grandfather started the farm back in the 1940’s, which has since expanded into raising crops and pigs as well as the dairy cows. The family members each specialize in a different part of the farm, from cow care to crop farming to accounting and public relations. They recently built a new “smart barn” for their cows, complete with automatic fans, water, curtains, and even robots! These robots allow the cows to get milked whenever they want, and keep the cows calm and comfortable in the barn. As the fourth generation on the farm, Tim says working with his family is the most rewarding part, and that farming is in their blood.
Alan Kuehnert spends his days working on his 121 year old family farm: Kuehnert Dairy in Fort Wayne. When Alan was younger, the farm milked just 20 cattle and after he graduated high school, that number grew to 60, 90, and now 350 registered Holsteins. Alan is joined on the farm by his family including his wife, his brothers, and his son who does the nutrition work for the dairy. Kuehnert Dairy milks using both a traditional milking parlor and milking robots. Not only does the dairy produce all of their own feed, they recycle old fruit for their cows. Alan takes great pride in producing milk, the perfect food, with his family. Kuehnert Dairy hosts a fall festival each year where visitors can learn and play at the farm! Find out more at www.kuehnertdairy.com
Jill Houin was not raised on a farm, but her passion for dairy was ignited when she joined her husband at a series of speeches in Australia. On the trip, Jill realized her husbands’ love for dairy farming, and it sparked her love for it as well. As a former teacher, Jill loves teaching others about dairy farming through farm tours, and also raises the calves on the farm. Homestead Dairy has a very humble beginning, starting out in 1945 with nine cows, some chickens, pigs, and twelve kids. The Houin family currently milks 4,900 Holstein cows; half in a traditional milking parlor and the other half with the help of robots. Jill and her family are invested in sustainability on the farm, using several unique methods including a digester to make energy out of manure, using food waste from the University of Notre Dame to keep food out of landfills, and drying manure to recycle it as bedding for the cows. You can see more of Jill on Homestead Dairy’s Facebook, YouTube, or website.
Herr Dairy began with Steve Herr’s grandparents. Today, Steve Herr works alongside his parents, uncle, in-laws and other family members to help Herr Dairy thrive. The herd of about 450 is mostly comprised of Holsteins, however there are a few Jersey cattle mixed in. To feed the calves, Herr Dairy uses the whole milk that the robotic milkers collect from the cows. Each farm has its struggles, but in 1972, the Herr family had to navigate a fire that destroyed their milking parlor. The Herr’s were resilient and rebuilt, even adding robotic milkers in 2018. Steve notes that the fire is an important moment in the farm history, but also that as a family business, they have been able to get each other through the tough times together. Steve not only appreciates having his family to work with, but also having freedom within the farm to make changes he sees fit. Find Steve and his family on Facebook at Herr Dairy Farm, Inc.
Richard Thomas hails from his farm of Leann Acres in Elkhart county. Though he lived on a dairy farm for all his life, he left his home farm to create Leann Acres with his wife in 1979. He and his wife started their small dairy with just 15 head of Holsteins, but currently milks about 90 head of Holsteins with about a dozen Jerseys, and a few Brown Swiss, Milking Shorthorns, and Guernseys mixed in the herd. He and his wife are the original owners of the farm, but his son Sheldon has become majorly involved in the operation serving as the herd and show manager. As Sheldon became involved with the cows, he took over the cow care side of the farm. Richard now spends most of his time running the crop side of their family farm. Richard enjoys farming with his family and passing this love down to his son. Find out more about Richard and Leann Acres on their Facebook page.