By: BreAnn Fields, Farm Credit Marketing Intern
Like any other industry, dairy is prone to ups and downs. To gain more insight into issues this industry faces, Farm Credit staff members recently had the opportunity to go behind the scenes of two large dairy operations in Frederick County, Maryland, thanks to loan officers Mary Jane Roop and Kelsey Maslen, who organized the outing. It was a day full of learning about the farmers and their businesses, and a chance to network with Farm Credit colleagues.
The first stop of the day was Rocky Point Creamery in Tuscarora, Maryland, owned by Chuck Fry. From meat sales and their popular creamery, to approximately 3,000 youth tours a year, Rocky Point Creamery has a lot to offer. They run a 150 to 170 head dairy cattle operation, along with raising Angus crosses for their beef meat sales. On their farm, they have 1,500 acres of crop land and a double-nine dairy parlor, meaning they can milk 18 head at a time.
Something Chuck is most proud of is the creameries waste count being zero, meaning none of their products used to make the ice cream gets used in some way. When you visit the creamery around August and September, you will notice two acres of sunflower fields. This year, the profit from the sales of their sunflowers went to St. Jude’s, which totaled $5,000.
The hours of operation for the creamery are 11:30 am to 7:30 pm from Tuesday through Sunday, starting after Labor Day. “I thought it was interesting how Chuck diversified his operation via the creamery, which allows him to support his dairy operation and keep that part of his business going in a difficult market,” says Richard Lawson, a loan underwriter located in the Martinsburg office.
The next stop of the day was Teabow Farms, located in Woodsboro, Maryland, operated by the Stup Family. The operation started in 1965 with just 80 cows and now runs approximately 1,100 cows with a double-24 parlor, milking 48 head at a time. This results in producing three tankers full of milk every two days.
The farm is designed for the animals to have a healthy yet relaxing life. From misting the herd on hot days to a foot bath to help keep their operation clean, Teabow Farms is known for their organization and cleanliness. “I was impressed with the level of care provided to the animals on Teabow Farms. To care for and keep track of over 1,000 animals can be a nightmare, but they made it look easy and it was clear they take great care of their animals,” says Geoff Delamater, a loan officer in the Bel Air office.
Managing manure is another part of living on a large cattle operation. Teabow Farms has an agricultural waste management system called a gravity flow barn that transfers animal manure, wastewater, and contaminated runoff through a reception pit. In addition to this, they have a three million gallon manure storage bin. Teabow Farms also has crop land that they use to satisfy the needs of feed for their cattle.
Both operations had a lot to teach us! They were a nice contrast between a smaller herd and a larger herd, but both showed similarities as to what it takes to own and operate a dairy operation.