Garry Zimmer: Gary was raised on a Wisconsin dairy farm with further training in dairy nutrition. It all started for him 40 years ago to create an ideal feed for the cow from the soil up. He is known as the “Father of Biological Farming”, with an emphasis on healthy mineralized soils for all possible crops. Gary is cofounder of Midwestern Bio Ag, and with his family owns Otter Creek Organic Farm, a 1500 acre crop and livestock farm in Wisconsin. He is the author of three books on biological farming, and has written many articles, along with teaching and travelling all over the world. He started a business with his daughter Leilani, Zimmer Ag, consulting on farms and agribusinesses world-wide.
Larry Weaver: Larry and Ruth Weaver have 6 boys. 4 are married and they have 6 grandchildren. The farm has 80 acres that are certified organic where they rase Katahdin sheep. In 2005 Sunrise Seeds Plus was started to provide sustainable and organic products for the community. Today fertilizers, seeds, animal health products, and feed additives are shipped to various states. Our wish is to honor God though the work He has provided for us.
Vernon Lambright: Vernon & Erma Lambright Topeka, IN. Have 6 children, 3 are married. They own L&M AG LLC Started in 2009 in a partnership with father in-law Glen Mast, Glen retired in 2018 due to health reasons, son in-law Lavon Mast started helping in 2019 and is involved in managing production. L&M AG LLC is a family-owned company with Erma and daughter Deborah managing the office doing bookkeeping and billing. The mission of L&M AG LLC is soil fertility and livestock nutrition, focusing on a per farm basis, by testing soil and forages, blending custom fertilizers and minerals with options of standard blends.
Floyd Miller: Floyd and his wife Joanna live in Shipshewana, Indiana. They have two sons and two daughters ages 17-23. They have started FD Miller Feed and Supply in July 2000, located on LaGrange County Road 200 S about 1 1/2 miles west of Indiana State Road 5. FD Miller sells supplies to farm and gardening communities. Floyd enjoys planting trees, reading books, strong coffee, and dark chocolate!
Paul Yoder: Paul and Martha Lambright live on a third-generation dairy farm near Middlebury, IN. They milk 40 cows. The farm consists of 115 acres of tillable land. They are organic certified and have also gone to all-grass operation in the last couple of years. They have operated their farm for 13 years. Paul is a member of the Northern Indiana Grazing Conference Steering Committee and has been active in practicing and promoting management intensive rotational grazing as a livestock management strategy for his entire career as a farmer.
Jerry Miller: Jerry once farmed conventionally, using pesticide, fertilizers, and anti-biotic medicines on his livestock. After a brush with cancer in 1984 when Jerry was only 28 years old, the family resolved to live as natural and organic as possible. They continued their cropping and livestock management but eliminated harsh chemical pesticides and started adding probiotics into livestock rations. Son Joas and his family took over the farming operation in recent years. Jerry still enjoys doing garden soil tests. He operates a garden store marketing garden fertilizers and soil amendments as well as organic minerals and non-GMO feeds.
David Kline: David Kline is a semi—retired farmer. He and his wife help their daughter and son in law farm 150 acers and operates a 50-cow organic dairy farm near Mt. Hope Ohio. Their farming blends older traditional methods of mixed farming with newer concepts in manner that enhances rather hinders a farm’s biodiversity, while at the same time adding to the land’s profitability. David has been a beekeeper since 1974 and has always tried to farm in a way that provided prime forage to produce pollen and honey production.
Cheyenne Christianson: Cheyenne, his wife Katy, and children own a 70 Holstein cow organic dairy by Chetek WI. Christianson’s bought a rundown farm in July 1993 and started rotational grazing in the spring of 1994. Grazing has been the focus to inspire all aspects of the farm, from dairy health, Cow health and productivity improving soil fertility has been a working progress and is a nutritional component of growing nutrient dense forages. They converted the farm to organic production and began shipping to Organic Valley in 1999 and currently produces grass milk for Organic Valley. They have been no grain for 23 years. Cheyenne has used annuals such as oats, turnups, Japanese Millet, Sorghum, Sudan, Rye, and triticale to till in and extend the growing season to maximize forage quality for his cows and young stock. Northern WI suffered drought for several years and annuls were a key to having forages to graze and keeping cows in shape through this time. He has used more grazing to build organic matter and add drought resistance to their farm. Calves are raised on nurse cows. Cheyenne writes articles for Graze Magazine and shares what has worked on his farm to all who are interested.
Ernie Mast: Ernest Mast and wife Mary Etta married in 1993 and moved onto her family’s home farm in 2001. They have 7 children, 4 boys and 3 girls; the oldest 4 children are married. The Mast’s built a milking parlor in 2002 and started shipping Grade A milk. In 2002, they had 25 Holstein heifers freshening that they bought in 2000 as feeder calves. Their farm is 74 acres, 47 tillable with 27 acres in woods, mostly maples trees. They make maple syrup each spring, with 1650 taps on a vacuum collector. In 2013 the farm was added to by purchase. Transitioned to organic in 2015. Ship milk with Horizon Organics. Operation now is 36 Holstein milking herd, and farm 88 acres, 35 acres of which is rented.
DAIRY FARMER PANEL: Moderated by Ernie Miller
Cletus Miller: Cletus and Rosetta Miller live on a 116-acre dairy farm located in Topeka Indiana. They were married in 2006 and bought the farm in 2012. They have 6 children 3 boys and 3 girls. Ages range from 2-15 years; they all help on the farm. The farm consists of 72 tillable acres with the rest being permeant pasture and woods. They are also renting 12 acres. In 2015 They became certified organic and began milking with all heifers. The milk is shipped with Organic Valley. Their herd is composed of 40-45 Holstein cows. They raise their heifers and young stock.
Jay Lehman: Jay and Michelle Lehman were married in August in 2016. We have two boys and one girl, there ages area 1, 3, and 5. Jay quit his full time job and began full time farming in October of 2016. Their farm is 173 acres with 116 acres are tillable and 50 acres of woods. The farm has been in the family for nine generations. The farm has a graveyard where great grandfather is buried. They have 70 cows composed of 25% jersey 75% Hol-friesans. The goal is to have 10% Hol-friesans. Dad got on the organic truck on March 1st, 2006. In 2020 WE transitioned to grass fed.
Wayne Bontrager: Wayne and Sharon Bontrager Have four children, Derek 13, Janel 11, Kyle 9, and Adam is 6. They were married in 2006 and moved to Wayne’s home farm. They shared the farm with his dad raising heifers. In 2008 Wayne was laid off from the factory and took over the whole farm operation. They built a double 5 milking parlor milking freshen heifers. The farm is composed of 77 tillable acres, and they rent an additional 22 acres. In 2014 they were certified organic and selling the milk to Horizon Organic. They were also A2A2 certified in the same year. Currently they are milking 34-40 Holstein cows, using AI for breeding. Heifers are at a custom grazer in the summertime. They try to keep things simple, profitable, and enjoyable.
Ernie Miller: Ernie and Sue Miller with the help of our 9 children ages 5-20 years old. The oldest two are married and no longer help with the farm. We operate 132-acre organic dairy farm. The heard is composed of 60 jerseys and jersey crosses and young stock. We married in 1998 had the opportunity to move on the home farm. I am the 4th generation operating this farm. WE have milked cows all our married life, we milked by hand the first year. We installed milkers and grew to 40 cows. In 2006 we built a double 8 parlor and started shipping to Organic Valley. Today I feel blessed that I had the opportunity to be home with the family as they are growing up. We enjoy what we are doing planting, milking, harvesting, and milking the cows!