Missouri DFA Member Named Innovative Dairy Farmer of the Year

January 28, 2008

Kansas City, Mo. - KBC Farms in Purdy, Mo., a member of Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. (DFA), was named the Innovative Dairy Farmer of the Year. Operations Manager Charles Fletcher and his family received the award on Jan. 21 at the 2008 Dairy Forum in La Quinta, Calif. The award is co-sponsored by the International Dairy Foods Association and Dairy Today magazine.

The award recognizes U.S. dairy producers who apply creativity, excellence and forward thinking to achieve greater on-farm productivity and improved milk marketing.

“DFA is proud of Charles and congratulates him and his family on this accomplishment,” says Randy Mooney, of Rogersville, Mo., first vice chairman of DFA’s Board of Directors. “Charles and his family farm are a real success story. We can all be inspired by his example of innovation and excellence.”

Charles operates KBC Farms with his family, where they milk 600 cows on two pasture-based dairies. His father, Gene, started the farm in 1969, and started a partnership with his sons and son-in-law in 1993. Charles is the managing partner and farms with his wife, Melissa, and their children: Tyler, 15 and Mikala, 10.

When the partnership was formed, KBC Farms was milking 60 cows and managing eight poultry houses. After Charles attended a grazing school, he came home with a new vision for the operation. The farm transitioned from a traditional to a pasture-based system, and grew from 60 to 600 cows.

Charles has rewritten the entire business plan for KBC Dairy, including all areas of dairy farm management: forages, nutrition, breeding, milking, calf-raising, nutrient management, facilities, equipment, labor, record-keeping and finances. The result has been greater efficiency and profitability on the farm, transitioning this dairy business into a role model for state, national and even international audiences.

Charles is a leader in his state of Missouri and was nominated by Katie Smith, director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture.

Charles serves on the dairy committee for the University of Missouri Southwest Research Center in Mount Vernon, Mo., and along with Melissa, was recently elected to the University of Missouri Cooperative Extension Outreach Council. Charles also serves on the board of the Mid-South Dairy Herd Improvement Association, covering Missouri and Kentucky. Charles and Melissa are members of a national group of pasture-based dairies, host many school children and grazing groups to their farm and also are active in their church.

“Charles Fletcher is a true asset to Missouri agriculture,” says Smith. “Thanks to his leadership and vision, we have entered a new era in the Missouri dairy industry.”

KBC Dairy is the tenth recipient of the award and three other DFA members have received it in previous years, including:

  • C Bar M Dairy, Jerome, Idaho – 2004
  • Roth Si-Ellen Farms, Jerome, Idaho – 2002
  • Mason Dixon Farms, Gettysburg, Pa. – 1999