Wednesday, October 5, 2:00 p.m.
Hosted by: St. Brigid’s Farm, Kennedyville, Md.
70 Milking/ Unique Marketing
Sponsored by: American Jersey Cattle Association
St. Brigid’s Farm was so named for the patron saint of dairymaids and scholars, which reflects the owners’ backgrounds. Judy Gifford was raised on a small dairy farm and always had a love of cows, and Dr. Robert Fry is a veterinarian whose career has been focused on the production and health of dairy cattle. Their 55-acre farm, located on the scenic eastern shore of Maryland, near the headwaters of the Chesapeake Bay, is planted in permanent pasture and home to a 70-cow seasonal calving Jersey herd. This top producing herd was ranked third nationally for herd average Jersey Performance Index™ at the end of 2010. Gifford and Fry also raise grass-fed Jersey steers that are processed and marketed locally. Since 2008, the farm has hosted a Field to Fork dinner, an elegant event featuring a five-course meal for 100 people set in the pasture at the farm. Local products are prepared and served while growers, including Gifford and Fry, share their stories with the diners. It is a unique opportunity to educate neighbors about their environmental efforts and animal husbandry. They reinforce this message through their website and blog. Proceeds from the dinner are donated to charity.
Thursday, October 6, 12:00 p.m.
Hosted by: Nor-Bert Farms, LLC, Bermen, Ind.
140 Milking/Robotic Milkers
Sponsored by: Lely USA
Norman Krathwohl never imagined when he purchased Nor-Bert Farms in 1945 that 65 years later, three robots would be milking the herd. Nor-Bert Farm, LLC is owned and operated by Norman, his daughter and son-in law, Roger and Deb Dankert, his grandson, Jeremy Dankert, granddaughter Jennifer, and her family including her husband, Monty and their three children Dalton, Dillon and Breanne. Currently, Nor-Bert Farms milks 140 cows with a rolling herd average of 27,619 lbs. After a trip to the Netherlands, Roger was convinced that robotic milking could be a good fit for their operation. The family visited other dairies that had robotics incorporated into their operation and researched their options for automated milking. In 2010, the farm broke ground to retro fit the robots into the existing farm set-up. Robotic milking has been a great improvement to Nor-Bert Farms allowing for flexibility in work schedules and allows the farm to continue to grow as the family grows. The family agrees that robotic milking definitely works.