Give Your Team the Right Tools to Succeed
Patterson Farms, Inc.
Auburn, New York
Consultant: Andy Danner
- 6th generation family-run business
- Switched calf and heifer manager after seeing an increase in health problems
- Dairy manager incorporates his pastoral lessons onto the farm, and vice versa
Paul Colgan’s belief and leadership in people enables him to run a church congregation of 225 people while simultaneously managing a dairy that is home to several employees, 1,375 cows and 1,260 heifers.
Paul is the dairy manager at Patterson Farms, Inc., a 6th generation dairy and crop farm that was established in 1830, now owned and operated by Jon and Julie Patterson.
Paul knows that in order for each team member, animal and the business to succeed, he needs to provide the tools they need to do so. To establish a healthy and high-performing herd, you need to raise healthy calves. In the later months of 2017, Paul saw an increase in calf mortality and an overall decrease in health. Paul called Andy Danner, Cargill Dairy Focus Consultant, and asked if he knew of any calf and heifer experts that could help him improve his youngstock program. They both realized mid-conversation that Andy would work with Paul to help him meet his calf and heifer goals. “It was like, ‘hey, there he is. This is the guy!’” Paul explained.
Since Andy began working with the farm in December 2017, calf mortality progressively decreased from 10 cases per month to nearly zero. They’re also seeing thriftier, bigger calves. Andy helps lead the team in weighing calves as well. “One day the feeders told me, ‘Yea they’re bigger… we used to get five calves on the calf cart and now with barely 4, it tips over!’” Andy said.
Andy has also brought out Cargill Calf and Heifer Specialist, Jess Arnott, to evaluate the calves and the feeding program. Along with her guidance, the farm has created a more aggressive nutrition program to grow bigger, better animals. Currently they’re feeding pasteurized whole milk, but the as the cold months roll in each year, the team discusses if they need to provide extra nutrients in the milk by with HerdFirst® whole milk enhancer. Pre-weaned and grower calves are all fed HerdFirst® Total Calf, and then transition heifers onto a grower.
This partnership is helping the farm eliminate bottlenecks from day one to first calving, which allows the farm to gain more milk production in those first lactation animals. “Truly, that’s one of the reasons why Cargill is on board, because it’s one of the tools we needed to make this operation successful.” Paul said, “Not only do I get Andy Danner, but I also get his expertise and his team. Cargill invests a lot in their people, and I benefit from the return on that investment.”
Paul likes to empower people in church and on the farm. Paul remarks, “Ephesians 4:12 says to ‘equip the saints for the work.’ And that’s what I’m doing. I’m leading, and I’m equipping my saints for their work.” Not only has Paul incorporated these lessons from church to building a team with tools to succeed on farm, but he’s also taken his farm experiences to church. Andy complimented Paul’s leadership skills, “Paul started working here at the farm, and now he has everyone going to church with him on Sunday morning!”