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Southwest Area Members of Distinction - Koster Dairy
For John Koster, his dream of owning a dairy farm was not possible in his home country of Holland. Milk quotas and exorbitant land prices made starting a dairy there impossible, John explains.
But John was determined. When he was only four years old, he told his mother he was going to be a dairyman. In fact, John would act sick when it was time for family vacations so he could go to his grandfather’s dairy while his family went on their trip.
To fulfill his dream, John moved to Sulphur Springs, Texas, and became employed as a milker. He then bought 20 cows and started working on a dairy whose owner let him keep his cows on his land. After he left that dairy, he started leasing a dairy and slowly purchased more cows. Six years after arriving in the United States, John bought his own dairy in 1990.
Today, he milks 822 cows on his 750-acre Gold Standard Dairy in Comanche, Texas.
While dairy management in the United States is similar to dairy management in Holland, there are key differences.
In Holland, there is no opportunity for growth. Milk quotas and high land costs make expanding an operation extremely difficult.
While John had to adjust his dairy management practices upon arriving in America, one concept he carried with him was the importance of being a part of a milk marketing cooperative.
It’s a choice he hasn’t regretted. He says that DFA has always treated him right.
One DFA program that John uses regularly is the myDFA Web site. The site provides him with his daily lab results so that he can make decisions concerning the quality of his milk. John also uses embryo transfer and artificial insemination to improve milk production and quality from one generation to the next, and he spends most mornings working on his herd’s health and breeding cows.
John believes that you dairy the way you want to live your life. John likes his clean and simple. He also believes in service. John was a DFA Southwest Area Council member for two years and has been a board member of the Texas Holstein Association for the past 10 years.
For this Southwest Area Member of Distinction, America has proved to be the land of opportunity.