Many of the calves that come to the Dream Farms custom-heifer-growing facility in Pennsylvania are “under warranty.” If any of them die after being at Dream Farms more than 21 days, Dream Farms will refund all service fees to the owner.
Upon arrival at Dream Farms, each animal undergoes a blood serum test that derives a “total protein score,” indicative of colostrum levels. All animals that score above a “6” receive a death warranty.
“I think having a death warranty provides accountability on both sides,” says Lane Sollenberger, farm manager at Dream Farms. It keeps Dream Farms on its toes, so it doesn’t have to pay the warranties. And, it encourages the farms that send their calves there to provide the animals with sufficient quantities of colostrum at birth.
According to Sollenberger, 90 percent of the death loss at Dream Farms occurs among calves that arrive at the facility with total protein scores of 5.8 or less.