Utah Family Dairy Finds Strength In Providing For Cows & Kids

Utah Family Dairy Finds Strength In Providing For Cows & Kids

Move from east was driven by concern for family of dairy owners.

"To make the dairy business work for our next generation, we needed to relocate," says Maria Nye. "We needed a place conducive to family living, and we found it here." The 320-acre Delta site also fit two other criteria of John's and Maria's as they searched for a relocation: inexpensive land and the ability to grow the dairy.

That's why in 1995 the couple jumped from Connecticut to Utah to continue in dairying.

"This is a good place to be," she believes. Not far from the farm is U.S. Highway 50, labeled The Loneliest Road in America in a 1986 issue of Life magazine.

While preferring to concentrate on dairy cattle, the farming side for corn and alfalfa is expected to expand at Mountain View as a risk management factor in today's high priced feed climate, says Maria. "We are still clawing our way out of the 2009 (financial) hole," she says, noting that the tasks are ceaseless at Mountain View Dairy. "Occasionally, we get to take a Saturday night off and go to the movies."

While family is foremost for John and Maria, job one at the dairy, she says, is animal welfare. "Proper care for the cows is at the top of the list when we train workers. Take good care the cows and they take good care of us."

Written protocols and standard operating procedures for workers to learn how to care for the animals are tightly administered at the Dairy Farmers of America Gold Standard Dairy operation. The Gold Standard program consists of on-dairy audits to assure animal welfare, among other factors, is strictly practiced by DFA members.

The quest to keep Mountain View striving in the future is more than a business interest for the Nye family: it is a lifeline for the future of the next generation. Despite today's mounting financial challenges of agricultural entrepreneurship, John has no trouble encouraging his children to make a future in the industry. "Maria and I were hearing these same kinds of pessimistic stories when we were first going into the dairy business," he says. "It seems everyone is always saying 'Now is not the time to go into the dairy business.'"

His great hope is that the children will "rescue our butts" when it comes to forging the dairy into a new age of success, largely because of the new technology his three offspring are bringing with them back to the family farm.

Meanwhile, the family is joined in the struggle to survive as older equipment that needs to be replaced remains on the job for another year until buying a new tractor or pickup pencils out.

As the new generation brings new knowledge to Mountain View, John and Maria find optimism for the dairy for the future.

"Repairing equipment used to be a matter of working with parts, but now you have to know about the computer technology that's part of the new machinery," observes John. "I certainly can't afford to have a dealer mechanic come out here often at $120 an hour."

What the youngsters bring to the farm is a greater understanding of the software challenge, he says.

Their tips for the next generation of dairy owners:

John: "Marry rich."

Maria: "Win the lottery."

More seriously, Maria says a basic requirement is "a passion for working in dairy, and consider change exciting."

For more on this story, see the November issue of Western Farmer-Stockman.

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