Finding holistic Success at Tara Anthon Dairy
Dairy Focus Consultant – Brent Robinson
Dairy Focus Support – Morgan Westover
Animal Nutrition Marketing Intern – Kristen Burkhardt
Working to be leaders in the sustainability space
More than feeding cows, it’s all about making their business thrive
Full of passion for their employees, their community, and dairy community
It is all about finding the right partner to help grow your dairy operation and reach your goals. For Walt and Deidre Iciek at Tara Anthon Dairy, Cargill brought that holistic approach through their partnership five years ago.
When Walt was nine years old, his parents bought a dairy farm with 27 cows in Gladwin, Michigan. From there, not only did his passion grow for the industry, but his family’s herd too. He attended Michigan State University and met his now wife, Deidre. After college, he was an agriscience teacher and then worked at a feed company. In 2007, Walt started to work for his parents while Deidre finished up her master’s program in administration. Once she graduated, they moved out to Colorado for two years while Deidre worked on CAFO compliance with large dairies and Walt was a commodity broker.
After moving back to the family farm in 2017, Walt and Deidre created a succession plan to own the dairy. They quickly expanded the herd and today have over 650 Holsteins.
In efforts to stay successful during low milk prices they partnered with Cargill Dairy Focus Consultant, Brent Robinson. With past nutritionists, it was all about bringing in more milk per cow, but with Cargill they say they’ve gained much more than nutrition advice.
Walt mentions, “It has been great to have an extra set of eyes around here to help us meet our business goals.”
To Walt and Deidre, it is more than just the feed—it’s about the service that comes with it. Through their partnership, they find a lot of value in the extra business advice, finding additional areas of opportunities, and the team approach to help grow their company.
Currently, the couple is focusing on being leaders in dairy sustainability and working to be proactive in this space. More specifically, they have had a strict nutrient management plan and are currently creating a new manure pit that will have enough storage for over a year at a time. They are always figuring out how to sequester nitrogen whenever possible so they can reduce the amount of commercial fertilizer that they purchase.
Brent comments, “I like to see their whole program move forward and succeed for both their family and their employees.”
Something new they are trying this year is harvesting wheat silage, which allows them to apply manure in the summertime. They have a custom crew that applies the manure, so it is not always on their preferred timeline. Increasing storage capacity allows for flexibility to meet the farming schedule, applicators availability, and be sure weather conditions are ideal. Therefore, having fields available in the middle of summer is very helpful and convenient. This allows them to plant a cover crop, which is beneficial to reduce tillage needs and preserve nutrients.
Cargill feels fortunate to be partnered with such innovative leaders in the dairy industry and is looking forward to continuing to feed their business dreams now and in the future.