June is National Dairy Month, which means a lot to us because Turkey Hill was founded as a dairy and gets most of its milk from dairy farms in the Lancaster County region. We’ll shine a spotlight on four of these local farmers by posting an interview with one of our dairy pals each Friday in June.
Farmer’s name: Diane Hoover
Farm name: Brook-Corner Holsteins
Number of cows: 280
Town/state: Lebanon, PA
1. What inspired you to become a dairy farmer?
I grew up on a dairy farm and really enjoyed working with cattle, so after I married a dairy farmer, we decided to make it our livelihood!
2. What’s a typical day like on the farm?
My day around the farm begins at 5 a.m. When I arrive at the barn, milking is already in progress. At around 8 a.m., when the milking is completed, I check in on the calves. There are usually around 40 calves, and I take care of any that might not be feeling well and feed the ones that were born during the night.
After making breakfast for the crew, I work in our office, run errands, or take care of household chores until milking time rolls around again at 3 p.m. After the evening milking is complete and the calves are fed again, my day on the farm is almost over. Before going to bed, the cows are checked and sometimes we need to deliver a calf during the night. Other helpers on the farm also take care of feeding the cows, monitoring the health of the cows, and various field work.
3. What’s your favorite part about being a dairy farmer?
I most enjoy working with the calves. It’s important to be attentive and to get them started right and to make sure they stay healthy. If you can avoid health problems when the animals are young, they are much more likely to become good milk producers when they’re older. I also like being the owner of a business and the challenges that it brings.
4. How much has dairy farming changed in the past 30 or 40 years?
Certainly there has been an increase in technology. Many things on the farm are computerized, just like with any other business. There is more government regulations on what we do and how we do it. Another thing that has changed is the size of the farm. To become more efficient, many dairy farms have increased the number of cows that they milk. Some people imply that larger farms are “factory farms,” when in fact most farms are still family-owned and operated.
5. If you weren’t a farmer, what would you be doing?
I think I may have pursued a career as a school teacher!