Each year, one member farm from each of the Dairy Farmers of America’s (DFA) seven regions is honored during the DFA Annual Banquet. The 2016 Members of Distinction are:
The Central Region honors went to the Hanke family, Hanke Farms Inc, of Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin. Though multiple disasters have struck the operation, including a massive silo collapse, personal tragedy, and a barn fire, twin brothers Jack and Jim Hanke have built their operation into a thriving family and community-centered business. The Hankes milk 800 Holsteins and grow corn, alfalfa, wheat and soybeans on their 875-acre farm.
The Mideast Region recognized the Thomas family, Thomas Farms of Stark County, of Louisville, Ohio. After spending 25 years balancing duties on his father’s operation with a life racing on the International Hot Rod Association (IHRA) circuit, where he was a seven-time IHRA Funny Car champion, Mark Thomas now runs his farm full time with his wife, Chris.
The Ketterling family, TLK Dairy, of Mountain Home, Idaho, were recognized from the Mountain Region. Terry Ketterling’s vertically integrated farm milks 10,500 cows between three barns, growing wheat and alfalfa that goes back to the dairy to feed the herd, and the focus is always centered on ways to improve the operation’s sustainability for future generations.
The Robbins family, North Harbor Dairy, of Sackets Harbor, New York, were recognized from the Northeast Region. Ron and Nancy Robbins have evolved with the changing industry, growing their 100-cow dairy into a 1,000 cow operation, in addition to operating both a milk and grain hauling business and an agri-tourism business called Old McDonald’s Farm.
From the Southeast Region, distinction went to the Coble family, Harmony Grove Dairy, of Waynesboro, Georgia. Edward Coble and his family milk 2,500 cows, exceeding the expectations Coble dreamed of growing up. The family credits strong relationships with their employees among the reasons why the dairy consistently has high production and strong milk quality.
The Southwest Region recognized the Wolf family, Scot-Tex Dairy, of Scotland, Texas. Frank Wolf milks 130 cows, has a beef herd of 100 cows, and farms 500 acres of wheat. To accomplish longevity in his herds, the dairy pays close attention to nutrition, cleanliness and milking procedures, grazing the herd as much as possible.
Distinction from the Western Region went to the Alderson family, Alderson Family Dairy, of Gerber, California.The Alderson’s priority has always been sustainability, and their 250 cows graze on the farm’s 250 acres under Mark’s watchful eye.