MVP Dairy, LLC of Celina, Ohio was recognized as the 2020 Innovative Dairy Farmer of the Year during a special ceremony this week at the International Dairy Foods Association’s (IDFA) Dairy Forum in Scottsdale, Arizona. MVP Dairy is a partnership between two, fourth-generation farm families, the McCarty Family of Kansas and the VanTilburg Family of Ohio. The award celebrates U.S. dairy producers who embrace innovation and technology, sustainable practices, as well as industry collaboration and partnerships to achieve greater on-farm productivity and make important contributions to the future of the dairy industry.
According to Dairy Herd Management magazine, which co-sponsors the award with IDFA, the first cows at MVP Dairy were milked in November 2018. Within three weeks, the farm has 4,400 cows in six freestall barns today. The cows are milked on an 80-bail DeLaval PR3100HD rotary, and the farm is home to a range of technology, from activity monitors to manure separators. On the farming side, the VanTilburg-McCarty partnership uses sustainable farming practices to make the most of their 4,500 acres. MVP uses cover crops on 95% of their fields, no-till methods, grid soil sampling, grass filter strips along open ditches, precision irrigation and variable-rate nutrient application technology.
Sustainability, whether environmental, community or business, has always been a keystone principle for MVP, as has support for their community and their employees.
“We are impressed with MVP Dairy’s focus on data and tech throughout the farming operation, from their use of remote cameras, to collar monitors worn by the dairy cows, to their innovative and patented manure management system—they have created a modern, progressive dairy operation from top to bottom,” said Michael Dykes, D.V.M., IDFA president and CEO.
MVP Dairy was nominated for the award by Gavin Strang, director of MANA Market Development & Sales Support with DeLaval Inc. of Bannockburn, Illinois.
The 4,400 Holsteins on the MVP Dairy farm live in six, six-row, tunnel-ventilated freestall barns designed for maximum cow comfort. Each stall is bedded with sand and is groomed each day. The barns are furnished with 20 DeLaval Swinging Cow Brushes to ensure a cleaner coat by removing dirt and debris, allowing cows to more effectively cool their bodies. The climate-controlled barns utilize about 400 VES fans on a variable frequency drives that automatically adjust depending on the temperature and humidity as well as misters to achieve an optimal cooling effect for the herd. The barns also utilize translucent polycarbonate siding to allow natural sunlight in while keeping UV rays out.
Each cow wears a neck collar which monitors her activity and health. When a cow is milked at MVP Dairy, each milking point on their 80-bail rotary is connected to a milk meter which records individual cow milk flow, milk yield, and parlor performance, providing real-time, actionable data to herd managers. Cows needing attention are redirected into separate pens with automatic sort gates.
MVP is showing a 95-pound milk average with 3.1% protein and 3.7% butterfat, which is a true testament to the management practices and technologies in place.
recycling system is in place to maximize benefits for animal care, crop care and the environment. The core of this system is a proven technology used by many municipalities throughout the United
States and relies upon natural treatment of the manure after valuable components have been separated
for beneficial uses.
Previous winners of the Innovative Dairy Farmer title are Mason Dixon Farms, Gettysburg, Pa. (1999); Clauss Dairy Farms, Hilmar, Calif. (2000); Baldwin Dairy/Emerald Dairy, Emerald, Wis. (2001); Si-Ellen Farms, Jerome, Idaho (2002); Pagel’s Ponderosa Dairy, Kewaunee, Wis. (2003); C Bar M Dairy, Jerome, Idaho (2004); North Florida Holsteins, Bell, Fla. (2005); KF Dairy, El Centro, Calif. (2006); Joseph Gallo Farms, Atwater, Calif. (2007); KBC Farms, Purdy, Mo., (2008); High Plains Dairy, Friona, Texas (2009); Haubenschild Dairy Farm, Inc., Princeton, Minn. (2010); Brubaker Farms, Mount Joy, Pa. (2011); Sweetwater Valley Farm, Philadelphia, Tenn. (2012); McCarty Family Farms, Rexford, Kan. (2014); Hilmar Jerseys, Hilmar, Calif. (2015); Holsum Dairies, Hilbert, Wis. (2016); Jer-Lindy Farms LLC, Brooten, Minn. (2017); Schrack Farm Resources LP, Loganton, Pa. (2018); and Foster Brothers Farms, Middlebury, Vt.
A call for nominations for the 2021 Innovative Dairy Farmer award will be released this summer.