DAIRY FAMILY’S COMMITMENT TO SUSTAINABILITY AND EDUCATION
The Baker family of DFA family farm Bakerlads Farms in Clayton, Mich., has served as the host farm for the annual Lenawee County Center for Excellence August Field Day for the past 25 years.
Bakerlads Farms is a fifth-generation dairy in Lenawee County, Clayton, Mich. Brothers Blaine and Kim Baker took ownership of the dairy in 1984, and it has been in operation since the 1870s. Since Blaine and Kim took ownership, the dairy has grown from milking 140 cows on 940 acres to 600 cows and approximately 2,300 acres.
The dairy strives for excellence in milk quality, and it’s also highly recognized for its conservation practices and stewardship. Conservation has always been an integral part of the Baker family operation, but even more so when Blaine and Kim’s father and grandfather started working directly with the Lenawee County Conservation District.
The farm has been a no-till operation since the early 1990s. Its operation emphasizes excellent soil and water conservation practices through the incorporation of two-stage ditches, blind inlets, buffers along ditches and closed loop nutrient recycling, which limits nutrient runoff and maximizes feed nutrition from quality crops and healthy soil. The beauty of this operation is its ability to utilize technology and new conservation techniques through applied research.
Generation after generation, the farm continues to improve upon and invest in implementing sustainable practices and teaching others — both the public and farmers. The Baker family is involved in a variety of organizations, including the United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service. They are also verified in livestock and cropping systems through the Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program.
The Baker family has been integral supporters in organizing the annual Lenawee County Center for Excellence August Field Day for the past 25 years, serving as a host farm for applied on-farm research in no-till and conservation tillage practices. This year’s August event drew a crowd of around 500 people to their farm, offering farmers and industry participants continuing education and demonstration sessions on the latest agricultural technology and industry innovations.
The goals for this research and involvement with the Center of Excellence are two-fold — conduct research and implement conservation practices on the farm — and share these findings with others so they can do the same. The Bakers remain committed to no-till practices, investing in new technology and conservation practices, improving their farm’s long-term viability and ensuring other farmers have access to, and learn from, the research taking place at their operation both now and for many years to come.