Follow-through is everything when running a dairy farm
Consultants: Mark Harting & Alexandria Lepper
- Started in 1991 with steady growth to 1,250 cows today
- Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council award winning herd
- Cargill customer since 2000
Follow-through and hard work are everything on a dairy. It’s how plans turn into actions that fuel growth. For Galen Smith at Coldstream Farms, follow-through and hard work are two of the first things that come to mind when he describes his Cargill Dairy Focus Consultant, Mark Harting. “I’ve never worked with anyone that has the passion I see in Mark Harting. His work ethic is second to none,” the Washington dairyman says. “Cargill continually plays a role in helping me build this dream where our kids want to come back to.”
Coldstream Farms has grown steadily to 1,250 cows since reentering the dairy industry in 1991 and is poised for growth in the future. Galen married into the family operation and describes the growth as mastering one small step before taking on the next one. “Better before bigger” is the farm’s mantra which is focused on creating a bright future for his children and their community. The family supports the local 4-H program, volunteer fire department, school PTA board, Whatcom County Dairy Federation Board and many youth sports teams. “I want to provide opportunities for our kids to become part of the dairy,” he says. “I can show them I love what I do, I’ve been a great dad who’s involved in their lives and we have a successful business. We care about ourselves, our employees and our animals. If they desire a future on the dairy, the opportunity will be there.”
Cargill takes a team approach to Coldstream Farms which Galen describes as unique to the independent consultants typical in the area. Every other Monday, the Cargill team joins the dairy’s management meeting. The topics range from employee training and feed shrink to fresh cows and lameness. The goal is to keep getting better. “Cargill is willing to challenge us. Nothing surprises me anymore with them,” he says.” I feel that any obstacle or challenge we face here, the team we have can develop a plan to overcome it.”
Each week during the year, forages are sampled with dry matters run every other day. Particle size is evaluated every month via a shaker box. Harting walks the cows routinely as well. The steady stream of information allows regular dietary changes to ensure consistency to the cows. The result is preventing problems before they ever happen and giving Galen a lot of confidence. “When I have problems, I can eliminate things immediately,” he says. There is always something to overcome, but our data gives me confidence I’ve already answered questions already. I want to get it right the first time.”
Check out these additional videos highlighting Coldstream Farms and how they’ve found success:
- Trusted Advisors, True Partners: Take a deeper dive in Coldstream Farms and Cargill's nearly twenty year partnership.
- Data-Driven Insights Improve Animal Well-being: Learn how all of their key stakeholders work together to provide animals with exceptional care.
- Turning Excess into an Asset: This highlights how the farm is recycling water in unique ways to continue a sustainable operation.