2011 Members of Distinction Named at DFA Annual Meeting

March 23, 2011

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Each year, seven exceptional dairy farm families from across the nation are honored during the Annual Banquet at Dairy Farmers of America, Inc.’s (DFA) Annual Meeting.

DFA’s Members of Distinction program honors members who excel on their operations, in their communities and in the industry. These producers — selected from each of DFA’s seven regional Areas — inspire through their actions, leadership and involvement, and represent the best of the dairy industry.

The 2011 Members of Distinction are:

Dykshorn Holsteins
Wayne, Alan and Paul Dykshorn – Sioux Center, Iowa
At one time, Wayne Dykshorn was not sure his family’s dairy operation would stay in the family. There is no doubt now. Wayne’s sons, Paul and Alan, returned home to manage the fourth-generation farm and brought big aspirations with them. With their help, Dykshorn Holsteins, Inc. and a side business, Dykshorn Dairy Sales and Services, have reached new heights.

Spring-Run Farms
Tom and Tim Wolf and Lisa Gress – Shreve, Ohio
For the Wolfs, dairy farming is very much a family business. Tom and his son, Tim, operate Spring-Run Farms, while Tom’s daughter, Lisa Gress, raises the dairy’s replacement heifers. The family also owns two other farms where Tim and Lisa live with their families. With a strong work ethic shared by all family members, dairying is a passion for the Wolfs.

Graff Brothers Dairy
Ted and Tina Graff – Delta, Colo.
Success is in the details for Ted and Tina Graff. Thanks to their focus on constantly lowering their milk’s somatic cell count and a time-tested calf care program, Graff Brothers Dairy is constantly improving and teaching the next generation the right techniques for industry success.

Heritage Hill Farm
Franklin, David and Levi Rudd – Lacona, N.Y.
Taking advantage of opportunities is a big part of Heritage Hill Farm’s strategy. A fascination for wind led to the installment of three wind turbines that power the dairy. The family also produces syrup from maple trees on the farm and is learning to make artisan cheese. By maximizing their interests and opportunities, the Rudds have accomplished a lot with their dairy and beyond.

Mayer Farms, Sand Hill and 76 Holsteins
Lee, Elliott, Scott, Guerry and Nathan Mayer – Newberry, S.C.
Operating one dairy is no easy task, let alone three. Every morning, the business partners of Mayer Farms, Sand Hill and 76 Holsteins gather to discuss the list of to-dos for the day. By establishing a set plan and concrete goals, the five managers are able to keep the three dairies running in perfect harmony.

Hinders Dairy
Louis and David Hinders – Canyon, Texas
From helping start the dairy cooperative movement in Texas to establishing cooperative housing for retirees, Louis Hinders has utilized the principles of cooperatives to positively impact the industry and his community. By passing the same principles down to his son, David, it is apparent that the cooperative spirit is present in everything the Hinders do.

Vander Schaaf Dairies
John, Susan and Joey Vander Schaaf – Escalon, Calif.
The Vander Schaafs use research on cows’ social skills to make three dairies run seamlessly as one operation. By grouping cows according to lactation stage they have improved herd health and created a method to more efficiently manage the dairy. Thanks to the family’s strategic plan, future generations have the opportunity to continue advancing the operation.