Creating More with Less for 100+ Years
West Amwell, New Jersey
Dairy Focus Consultant: Steve Halahan
- 5th Generation Family Dairy Farm, established in 1909 by Mary Fulper
- Run multiple sustainability practices including: solar panels, no till, water recycling, and more
- Host up to 100+ kids every summer for Farmstead Adventure Camp
Creating more output with less input has always been a goal for Fulper Farms, and through multiple sustainability practices, they are accomplishing this goal. “Our ability to adapt to new technology has been one of the keys to our success,” stated Mikayla Fulper. “It began with Grandpop adapting to no-till in the 70s and then continued with my dad looking into cover crops and solar panels.” Since then Fulper Farms has incorporated in solar panels that power their main dairy farm, manure and water recycling, and energy efficient fans and lightbulbs into their farming operation. “Sustainability is very serious to us. It helps the environment, improves the productivity and profitability of our farm, and has allowed us to continue running our farm here for more than 100 years,” explained Mikayla.
For Mikayla Fulper, herdswoman and 5th generation on Fulper Farms, dairy farming runs in her blood. Since she was little, she has dreamt of working and being with cows. Today, she lives her dream. In 1909, Mikayla’s great-great grandmother, Mary Fulper (a widow), started the dairy with one Holstein cow. Today the operation has grown into a multiple family-member farm with 100 dairy cows, 30 beef cows, and around 1,100 acres. The farm is co-owned by 4th generation brothers, Robert II and Fred Fulper. Mikayla, Robert’s daughter, is the dairy manager, and his son RJ, is the crop manager. Many other family members also help around the operation including: Grandpop Bob, Fred’s wife Kim and their sons Freddie and David, Robert’s wife Cindi, and their other daughters Chelsea and Breanna.
For more than 30 years, Fulper Farms has worked with Cargill on their nutrition program. About six years ago, Cargill Dairy Focus Consultant Steve Halahan transitioned onto this account. “Steve is very results driven, knows our goals, and is helping us make positive changes,” shared Mikayla. Through this partnership, they have worked together to meet the farms goal of decreasing their amount of financial input, while seeing an increase in the outputs by addressing two recent health and production issues in their herd. In early 2019, Fulpers began seeing issues with the health of their dry cows, such as retained placentas, metritis, and milk fever. Steve decided to switch the focus of the diet from feeding higher calcium and lower DCAD to higher metabolized protein and lower calcium. Since, many of their issues have been fixed and they have seen a complete turnaround in the health of their dry cow group, including better start up milk and less metabolic and transition issues.
Steve brought in Dr. Bill Braungard, Cargill Dairy Tech Specialist, to help the farm also look at their lactating diet, when they saw depressed butterfat in their milk test. They decided to test the feed and discovered that this was being caused by overfeeding unsaturated fat. Steve is helping them switch from using roasted beans to roasted corn and soybean meal in their Cargill lactating feed. “We have built a relationship with Steve and Cargill and the trust we have is why we continue working with them.”
Fulper Farms has taken great pride in sharing their mission for sustainability with others, and they have been able to accomplish this through their Agri-tourism business. Breanna Fulper created Farmstead Adventure Camps when she was in high school and now fourteen years later, they continue to host 100+ kids every summer to the farm. This camp allows kids to connect with calves, learn about where their food comes from, and discover the opportunities within the dairy industry.
Recently, they have added farm tours and field trips to their agriculture education opportunities. “I’m really proud of our family and our story and enjoy sharing that with others,” Mikayla commented. “A lot of consumers don’t have information about how cows are raised or how farms work, and we want to help them understand and appreciate all that goes into creating the products they eat.”
Fulper Farms has taken great pride in their 100+ years of being innovative and the next 100 years looks bright as this dairy continues to thrive. Mikayla reflected on what they’re doing at the farm, “Sustainability is a priority for us because it ensures we are able to continue doing what we are doing for generations to come.”