Seeing others’ production practices and management principles directly allows you to dig deeper into how you might adopt those practices or principles on your farm. A visit to other farms may also bring up some questions that you didn’t even know you needed to ask.
“Too often, we do things a certain way on the farm because ‘that’s the way we’ve always done it around here,’” says Stan Moore, extension educator with Michigan State University. “I’ve also heard things like ‘we’ve made a lot of money out of that barn’ or ‘it’s worked for us in the past’ or ‘don’t fix it if it isn’t broke.’”
Well, Henry Ford made a lot of money off the Model T, but we’re not still building them, Durst points out.
Visiting other farms helps us bring to question why we are doing things the way we are.
“A perceived barrier to visiting other farms is the fact that you haven’t been invited,” Moore says. “Yet, in our experience asking dairy producers about the possibility of visiting them has always brought a positive response.”
It is best to arrange the visit in advance. Practice good biosecurity by wearing clean boots and clothes. Know what it is that you want to learn more about and plan to take pictures if you are interested in a facility issue.