Luke and Kim Minich of Triple M Dairy LLC in LaPorte, Ind., are the 2015 Indiana Dairy Producers" (IDP) Outstanding Young Dairy Producers of the Year.
Luke is a 4th generation dairy farmer milking in two locations in LaPorte County. They have a dry cow/fresh cow facility at one farm, and a milk cow and breeding facility at another farm. Triple M Dairy also crops 1,800 acres of corn, soybeans, wheat and seed corn.
Luke, 35, has been married to Kim for 10 years and they have 5 children: Anna, Kate, Mary, Wil and Calvin. Kim is a nurse practitioner. In addition, she teaches Sunday School and is the secretary of the LaPorte County 4-H Dairy Committee. Luke is the current president of the LaPorte County Extension board. He is active in PCARET and is on the Farm Credit advisory board.
Luke did not actually plan to return to farm. His father had sold his dairy cows before Luke graduated from high school. Then, after graduating from Purdue University, Luke worked as a grain merchandiser and futures broker in Indianapolis for 4 years. When a customer asked him if he would consider running his farm, Luke started thinking about coming back to the family farm instead. So, in 2009, Luke moved his family back to LaPorte, intent on being a row crop farmer. When the opportunity to buy a dairy farm presented itself, Luke grabbed it, and he's been milking ever since.
The farm has expanded from 250 to 1,000 cows, and has seen nice improvements in milk quality. Today, Luke spends most of his time managing people, setting goals, and creating and implementing protocols and procedures. They currently ship their milk through Deans Direct.
Luke knows that the success of his dairy is largely due to very dedicated employees and believes they would not have accomplished their success without them. Six of their 11 employees have worked at Triple M for more than 3 years. They are local people with families that are part of the community.
Luke is very optimistic about the future of dairy farming. He believes a lot of changes will be inevitable as there is more consolidation and efficiencies made in the dairy industry. Even so, Luke is where he wants to be, dairy farming in Indiana.
Since 2007, Indiana Dairy Producers have selected an outstanding young dairy producer (35 years or less) based on nominations received and chosen by Extension Specialists and Industry Advisers of IDP. Previous winners of this award were Lukas Hively (2007), Joe and Amy Kelsay (2008), Max and Carrie Jo Bollenbacher (2009), Nathan and Sarah Kuehnert (2010) Kerry and Christiana Estes (2011), Kelly MacKennon (2012), Brian Houin (2013), and Lance Sommer (2014).