Dairy Farmers of America’s (DFA) Members of Distinction program honors members who embody the Cooperative’s core values and excel on their operations, in their communities and in the industry. Each year, one member farm from each of DFA’s seven regional Areas is honored during the Annual Banquet at DFA’s Annual Meeting.
The 2018 Members of Distinction are:
Central Area – Styer Family, Alfalawn Farm – Menomonie, Wis.
As the fourth generation of Alfalawn Farm, brothers Dale, Dave and Randy Styer are no strangers to challenges. With a fire devastating their barn in 1981, the family was faced with rebuilding in a time of high interest rates. This challenge taught the Styers to plan for the future, a philosophy that continued when they decided to expand to 2,000 cows in 2014 with the building of a 60-stall rotary parlor and a 1,600-cow, cross-vent freestall barn. The family utilizes several environmentally-friendly practices on the farm, such as reclaiming sand for bedding, to ensure their business will be around for the next generation.
Mideast Area – Gibson Family, Ky Bluegrass Genetics – Eminence, Ky.
For Jeff and Lisa Gibson, dairy farming was in their genes, as they both came from a long line of small dairy operations in Kentucky. So, when the couple started dairying together in 1996, their goal was to stay small and focus on cow care, while also breeding top-quality animals in the business. Today, they have about 75 milking cows on their operation and supplement their milk check by marketing superior genetics, selling top-quality cows and boarding cows to prepare them for the biggest dairy shows in the country. In fact, Ky Blue Grass Genetics produced a World Dairy Expo Champion and All-American nominations in all seven breeds.
Mountain Area – Bateman Family, Bateman’s Mosida Farms – Elberta, Utah
Since 1972, when Wayne Bateman moved his family and his herd to Bateman’s Mosida Farms near Elberta, Utah, Wayne has instilled in his sons, Brad, Jason, Lance and Steve, a spirit of innovation and continuous improvement. Today, the family, along with 100 employees, milks approximately 7,200 cows, with roughly 17,000 total animals on the operation. They also farm about 4,000 acres of double crop corn and three-way blends. To help improve overall efficiency, the Batemans compost and reuse the byproducts from their operation. They also installed a solar system about one year ago that generates power for the dairy and the surrounding community.
Northeast Area – DiNitto Family, DiNitto Farms – Marcy, N.Y.
For three generations, the DiNitto family has worked to steadily grow their operation from 100 to 1,200 cows. The operation’s steady growth is a result of the family’s philosophy that, “if you take care of the farm, it will take care of you,” which was passed on to brothers, Joe and Tony, by their father. Through the years, the family has proactively taken steps to improve cow comfort and care, including new mattresses in the barns, bigger stalls and ensuring their employees are properly trained. The family also has hosted their county’s Farm Fest events for several years and hosts other farm tours during the year to showcase their commitment to quality milk and healthy animals.
Southeast Area – van Dieden Family, Van Dieden Dairy – Winnsboro, Texas
For Arne and Ingrid van Dieden, moving from their home in the Netherlands to Winnsboro, Texas, offered a chance to expand their family and their business. Today, the couple milks 700 cows, along with their four children: Anthony, Emma, Lisa and Niels. With cow care and environmental stewardship as key priorities, the family built a pack barn, including fans and a sprinkler system, to help keep their cows cool and comfortable. The van Diedens credit these investments with helping them produce high-quality milk, which they’re proud to provide to their local school district.
Southwest Area – Wood Family, Sherwyn Wood Dairy – Stephenville, Texas
Dairy farming is what Sherwyn Wood knows best. After meeting his wife, Angela, in college, the couple returned to Sherwyn’s family farm in Texas, to live out their dedication to the industry. With only five farm employees to help tend to nearly 400 cows and 500 crop acres, Sherwyn and Angela do most of the farm work themselves, including everyday chores and overall operation management. The Woods also are very committed to making improvements on the farm and providing quality care and comfort for their animals, which has helped them grow and succeed.
Western Area Perazzo Family, Perazzo Brothers Dairy – Fallon, Nev. As a third-generation family farm, Perazzo Brothers Dairy has a rich history, which brothers Alan and David hope to pass on to their sons, Brent, Daniel and Michael. In 2014, the family caught a big break with the opening of a new DFA processing facility in Fallon, Nev. This enabled them to grow from milking about 450 cows to 900 cows today, and the family hopes to expand to milk even more cows in the future. In addition to the farm’s recent growth, the Perazzo family dedicates time to preserving their history with the building of a farm museum, which they use to help educate the local community.