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In the News: Staff Columns

Double Dutch Dairy: Persistence is key

Wednesday, September 27, 2017   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Joanna Wavrunek, digital communications manager
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In the early 1950s, Lukas Stapel immigrated from The Netherlands in a quest for a dairy farm in America. He started his own dairy  around 1960 milking 40 cows. His son Rudy took over in 1981 and expanded the herd to 80 cows.

In 2012, Rudy’s sons, Brody and Jory, along with the help of many others started Double Dutch Dairy on a site 30 miles south of the family farm. Having purchased 80 cows from Rudy and the remainder from a previous owner, they were able to start farming.

 They now milk 220 cows and farm 850 acres of corn, soybeans, alfalfa and wheat.

DBA: What technologies have you incorporated on your farm that have greatly benefited your business?

Stapels: Sensor technology. We installed activity/rumination/temperature monitoring technology on our milking herd 18 months ago. It has paid off in a big way already with higher pregnancy rates and faster detection of sick cows. We’ve also started to invest in GPS yield mapping, precision planting and various types of plant technology.

DBA: What advice would you offer to young farmers?

Stapels: Don’t be afraid to work hard and get your hands dirty. You have to take risks to get anywhere in life, but also be willing to pay the price when things don’t work out. Have faith and surround yourself with good people. Farming was the first occupation ever given to mankind and will be here until this world comes to an end. Give it a try!

DBA: What do you see as major challenges and opportunities facing the dairy community?

Stapels: False consumer perceptions leading to the removal of tools out of a  farmer’s toolbox that have already proven to create efficiency, sustainable practices and safer foods. Regulations also pose many challenges in being able to have trade agreements to feed the world a healthy and nutritious product.

DBA: What does the future hold?

Stapels: We are always looking at improving cattle and agronomy on the farm. Being young dairy farmers, we embrace technology. More robotics will definitely be used to accommodate a better family life and the challenge of finding a long-term sustainable workforce. Being relatively new farmers, we are very open to change because we don’t have many long-standing traditions to hold us back.

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