In beautiful Battlefield country, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, sits JoBo Holstein Farm where I am a Partner/Owner. My parents moved to Gettysburg from Lancaster, Pennsylvania in 1970 with 35 milking cows, 10 heifers and farmed 100 acres. As their family grew over the next 46 years, they expanded the farm to its current size of 1,000 milking cows, 700 head of heifers, and are farming 1,000 acres. In 2000, they invited my siblings and I to join a partnership. Today our family dairy farm not only includes my siblings and I, but all of our 13 children who are actively involved. Currently, on our farm we double crop rye grass and corn for silage to feed to our herd and we raise both registered Holsteins and Brown Swiss.
How We’re SMART Farming Today
On our farm we are constantly implementing technologies that ensure we are doing our part to improve the care of our animals, land and community. We recently put in new drainage and water ways in our fields to help improve water runoff. This filters the water to improve water quality going into the Chesapeake Bay. Also doing no-till farming has helped with winter erosion. To better care for our cows, every cow has a RFID button in their ear. This button responds with the computer in our parlor, which in return gives me daily milk weights, which helps me monitor our herd more closely. I can also receive these updates on my phone which allows me to track my cows and their health anywhere.
How I’ve Told My Story
Since one of my passions is to educate the public, I take every opportunity to do so. I currently serve on the Dairy Speakers Bureau in Pennsylvania, where I speak to organizations about farming and agriculture. I also speak at schools, telling 3rd graders about the importance of farming and agriculture. Talking to teenagers is one of my favorite groups as they are young enough to ask questions and still willing to listen to the answer. We open up our farm to schools every spring for school tours and in 2016 we had 1,200 students, teachers and volunteers tour our farm—explaining GMOs and letting people know that there are not any antibiotics in the food supply has proven to be a very popular conversation topic.
Pennsylvania Dairy Speakers Bureau, 4H Dairy Club Leader, Select Sires Delegate, Pennsylvania Brown Swiss Board, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau, South Mountain Fair Board; Dairy Show Chairmen