Leading Dairy Cooperative Selects its 2007 Members of Distinction

March 16, 2007

Kansas City, Mo. - Seven dairy farm families who are members of Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. (DFA) will be receiving the Cooperative’s most prestigious award at its Annual Delegate Meeting 3 p.m. Tuesday, March 20 at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri.

The 2007 DFA Members of Distinction include the owners and operators of the following farms: Crosswinds Dairy of Portales, New Mexico; Anthony’s Dairy of Americus, Georgia.; Diamond Three Dairy of Shelley, Idaho; Three Star Dairy of McCook, Nebraska; RV Dairy of Winton, California; Weir Farms of Hanover, Michigan; and Walker Farms of Fort Ann, New York.

The DFA Member of Distinction program was created this year to celebrate the Cooperative’s diversity and to recognize DFA members for their vision, leadership and innovation in the dairy industry.

One farm from each of DFA’s seven Areas was selected and members will be recognized with a video presentation during the general session of the annual delegate meeting. There also will be a special recognition at the banquet held on the evening of Tuesday, March 20.

“These members have found unique ways to ensure their success in the industry and are positive examples for us all,” says Rick Smith, DFA’s president and chief executive officer. “This is a great achievement, and we are proud to name these members as the 2007 recipients of this award.”

The following are this year’s recipients:

Lamar Anthony and Jerry Anthony
Americus, Georgia

Extensively training, motivating, and rewarding employees has been the key to success at Anthony’s Dairy. The dairy, which began with a few cows that were milked by hand in the 1930s, now boasts a milking herd of 1,000, state-of-the-art facilities and careful attention to the environment. Named “Farm of the Year” for their soil conservation practices, brothers Lamar and Jerry Anthony are ensuring the future of the dairy in more ways than one.

Dougie Idsinga, Dawn Idsinga, Derek Idsinga and Darci and Denver Collins
Portales, New Mexico

When members Doug and Debbie Idsinga were tragically killed last year, their four children Dougie, Dawn and Derek Idsinga and Darci Collins along with husband, Denver, changed their life plans in order to take over the operation of Crosswinds Dairy. Today, they are operating the 2,100-cow high-yield dairy smoothly and are even considering a future expansion.

Brian Esplin
Shelley, Idaho

When Brian Esplin was a young man, his father nearly made the decision to get out of dairying in order to focus on their crop-farm operation. Instead, Brian stepped up and saved the then 70-cow dairy farm. Today, Brian and his wife Trina operate Diamond Three quality milk.

Ray Gene Veldhuis
Winton, California

Ray Gene Veldhuis bases his management decisions for RV Dairy on scientific research and data from some of the industry’s top researchers, instead of tradition. This model has proved successful for the 2,500-cow operation where air quality, water quality and animal health are all carefully monitored.

Rick and Wendy Roberts, Jeff Steifel, Kenneth Eade
McCook, Nebraska

Trial and error, in a quest to do the basics really well, led owners Rick and Wendy Roberts and their partners Jeff Steifel and Kenneth Eade to perfect their manure management system. With 1,325 cows producing more than 36 million pounds of milk annually, adopting state-of-the-art technologies has been a hallmark for their success.

Leon Walker, Aaron Walker, Amy and Larry Bailey
Fort Ann, New York

With two dairies, a feed mill, a country supply store, a bed and breakfast and a trucking company, Leon Walker, his son Aaron, and daughter and son-in-law Amy and Larry Bailey, are quite busy. The home farm is comprised of an 850-cow dairy facility, and the 775-heifer facility at a second location also houses a 50-cow registered milking dairy herd.

Bruce Weir, Phil Weir
Hanover, Michigan

This 600-cow operation boasts numerous awards for its environmental stewardship practices, quality milk production and cleanliness. Owned by brothers Bruce and Phil Weir, Weir Farms has prospered and grown steadily since 1972. The recent addition of their sons to the partnership has helped the Weirs farm 4,000 acres of crops as well.