Misty Mountain Dairy sees the value in investing in employees

The National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program’s Workforce Development (WFD) program supports dairy farmers in their proactive management of human resources (HR) and safety. The FARM WFD evaluation provides information about HR and safety best practices and enables farms to track improvement over time.

At Misty Mountain Dairy in Warfordsburg, PA, owners Richard, Scott, Mark and Lauren Mosemann saw the value of investing in employees early on. When the Mosemanns first started hiring help, they often found it difficult to find reliable employees. Over the years, Misty Mountain Dairy has grown and now has seven non-family, full-time employees and four family employees to help with the 500 milking cows and 400 heifers every day.

The Mosemanns put an emphasis on employee communications and understanding what the employees need to remain invested in the business. This has led to expansions like adding employee housing and holding staff meetings every other week where Lauren, Mark and the staff share a meal and discuss any concerns or needs the employees have.

“We try to create a family atmosphere and also make sure that employees have a say in the decisions that directly impact them,” Lauren Mosemann said. “We also want to make sure our employees are in the right roles, taking time to make sure they are working in a role that plays to their strengths, so they take pride in their work and take pride in the dairy.”

During their last Workforce Development evaluation, Misty Mountain Dairy set goals to update their employee handbook and to get updated state legal fact sheets. “When we had our last evaluation, it was a good opportunity to remind us of some of the things that got set aside because of the busy day-to-day farm operations,” Lauren Mosemann said. The Mosemanns regularly use resources available on the FARM Program’s website, and Lauren added that, “one of the wonderful benefits of the FARM Program is being able to go online and get what you need.”


FARM Workforce Development is improving awareness about HR and safety best practices on U.S. dairy farms. For more information about the WFD program, visit the FARM Program website.

Newmont Farm boosts employee safety through FARM Workforce Development

Through the National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program’s Workforce Development (WFD) program, dairy farmers are proactively implementing human resources (HR) and safety management best practices; identifying which best practices are most useful on their farm; and tracking improvement over time.

Newmont Farm in Bradford, VT embraced the FARM WFD program, improving safety and HR measures for the farm’s six family employees and 28 non-family employees who keep the 2,700-animal operation going.

“FARM Workforce Development gave us an opportunity to review our existing safety and training protocols and identify areas we could strengthen,” Newmont Farm owner Will Gladstone said. “It’s been helpful for both managers and employees to have written documentation of safety procedures and employee resources.”

Newmont Farm had already implemented many safety and workforce best practices before joining the FARM WFD program, including requiring New York Center for Agricultural Medicine and Health (NYCAMH) safety training on a wide variety of topics, participating in NYCAMH yearly inspections, having yearly insurance audits, and keeping employee training logs with signatures. Additionally, each housing unit on Newmont Farm has its own 911 number and address so that employees can be clear and direct with 911 operators in an emergency. By participating in FARM WFD, Newmont Farm has been able to keep track of these practices over time.

The FARM WFD evaluation tool helps farmers develop sustainable processes and procedures and document best practices already in place. The program offers multiple resources to equip dairy owners and managers with the tools they need to further enhance their work environments. After their FARM WFD evaluation, the team at Newmont Farm set goals to review and update their existing employee handbook, draft a housing agreement, and develop a written comprehensive safety plan for the whole farm. These practices will help employees to better know and understand what is expected of them and what they can expect in return, both for day-to-day farm activity and in an emergency. Through the WFD evaluation, Newmont Farm was able to identify which best practices would be most useful to implement on their farm, furthering the FARM foundational principle of continuous improvement.


FARM Workforce Development is improving awareness about HR and safety best practices on U.S. dairy farms, as well as encouraging farmers to think about their businesses through a different lens. For more information about the WFD program, visit the FARM Program website.

Advocacy for Education Lands South Dakota Dairy 2020 BQA – FARM Dairy Award

For modern dairy farmers, the amount of technology that goes into daily operations isn’t much of a surprise anymore. But many consumers may not realize that the industry is long past using a bucket and pail as the main tools in a milking parlor.

This is one of the reasons why Lynn Boadwine, owner of Boadwine Farms in Baltic, South Dakota, and Heidi Zwinger, herd manager at the farm, are invested in sharing the stories of the dairy and beef industry to consumers. The dairy farm opens its facilities to the public dozens of times each year through open houses, tours and school programs.

“We want people to come out and see where the cows live, to let people come inside and see what’s going on,” Zwinger said.

Boadwine Farms’ dedication to consumer advocacy, combined with its educational programs and commitment to excellence in its facilities, has earned the company the 2020 Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) – Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Dairy Award.

The farm was homesteaded in 1874 by Lynn’s great grandparents. It has grown with each generation through the family’s passion for dairy and beef, openness to new technologies and techniques, and providing continual training and skill development opportunities for its employees. As of the late 1980s, the farm had just 40 milking cows in addition to hogs. By 2000, the farm had grown to 600 milking cows. And now, more than 2,000 Holstein dairy cows are cared for at the farm, with 2,500 acres planted with rotating crops of corn, alfalfa, rye grass and forage sorghum to provide feed. The farm also employs 40 Boadwine Farm team members, dedicated to the operation and care of the animals.

Cows are milked three times each day in a double 30 parallel parlor and housed in barns equipped with ventilation and sprinkler systems. Electronic RFID tags on each cow allow the farm’s computer system to track daily milk production. The milking parlor also features lights at udder level that create a bright, cheerful atmosphere for both employees and guests, as well as allow employees to better inspect cows for disease and hygiene during milking.

The farm’s use of technology not only benefits cow comfort but increases employee efficiency and reduces its impact on the environment. Boadwine Farms also credits using the BQA and Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) programs for standardizing animal care practices and increasing the farm’s sustainability — both programs built on many of the farm’s existing protocols.

“BQA was easy to implement because we were following a lot of the guidelines already,” Zwinger said.

BQA guidelines combine common sense husbandry techniques with scientific knowledge to raise better quality cattle. The results that Boadwine Farms has seen in following BQA and FARM guidelines at its facilities have been so positive that key employees are required to maintain BQA certification, and they expect employees or contractors who haul their animals to be BQA Transportation certified. Both the BQA and FARM programs are used in Boadwine Farms’ protocols in onboarding and providing continuing education opportunities for employees, as well.

It’s important to Boadwine and Zwinger that not only are employees given opportunities for development, but that the farm helps prepare the next generation of beef and dairy producers, too.

Boadwine Farms accepts interns from South Dakota State University’s dairy science and production programs to teach them herd health management, calf care, milking procedures, and stewardship, as well as farm management practices. The farm also hosts SDSU’s Dairy Challenge Team to allow students hands-on experience in evaluating farm management.

Boadwine Farms participates in educational outreach outside of their own facilities, as well, sharing dairy and beef stories with local communities and statewide.

Each year, Zwinger and other employees volunteer to teach more than 2,000 attendees about dairy farms and milk production during Dairy Fest in nearby Brookings, South Dakota. They record videos to show fourth grade students across the state what happens on a dairy farm through the Adopt-a-Farmer program from South Dakota’s Ag United organization.

“They take pride that the milk they produce stays in South Dakota for processing and is on the shelves at local grocery stores,” said Heidi Carroll, livestock stewardship field specialist and BQA coordinator with the SDSU Extension.

Additionally, for three years the dairy has brought pregnant cows to the birthing area at the Sioux Empire Fair’s annual Pipestone Discovery Barn to show thousands of fair attendees live calf births and answer questions about livestock care and food production. The farm also leases calves to local 4-H youth to give them experience showing and working with cattle.

Through all of Boadwine Farms’ activities, everything circles back to one focus — the care and development of their herd.

“Cows are still my ‘why,’” said Zwinger. “Every day, there’s room for improvement. Five years from now, I want to see us better than we are today.”

The BQA – FARM Dairy Award is funded in part by the Beef Checkoff with additional support from Cargill. For more information on Boadwine Farms and other 2020 BQA Award winners, visit www.bqa.org/about/bqa-awards.


About Beef Quality Assurance

Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) is a nationally coordinated, state implemented program funded by the Beef Checkoff that provides U.S. beef producers guidelines and certification drawn from common sense husbandry techniques and accepted scientific knowledge on how to raise cattle under optimum management and environmental conditions. BQA reflects a positive public image and instills consumer confidence in the beef industry. When producers implement the best management practices of a BQA program, they assure their cattle are the best they can be. For more information on BQA, visit www.bqa.org.

Amanda Waite Returns to Her Dairy Roots as a Farm Evaluator

Amanda Waite says she’s lucky to have fallen into the role of full-time FARM Evaluator and Animal Care Specialist for Land O’Lakes, Inc., an opportunity that brought her back to her dairy roots. Growing up on a family dairy near Middleburg, Pennsylvania, Amanda loves spending her days with farmers and cows, trekking across Pennsylvania, New York, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia to connect member-owners with resources to help them meet or exceed FARM Program guidelines. She never tires of the diversity of the industry and hard-working farmers focused on doing things better every day.

Tell us about your family.

My parents are some of the hardest working people I know. They started dairying shortly after getting married at the age of 19 and haven’t quit yet. Both come from multiple generations of dairy farmers and decided to start their own operation. It’s because of them that I am in this career field and because of them that I get to have some of my own cows to “play” with. My fiancé and his father fun a small cow/calf-finish operation, which I’m slowly becoming part of as well. Beef cows are less work, but not nearly as fun!

Why did you decide to become a FARM Evaluator?

I was just lucky enough to fall into the opportunity, honestly. Animal care has always been a topic of interest to me! In my first job out of college, I worked for a third-party auditing company conducting animal welfare evaluations for meat animal species. That position sparked my interest because of my animal agriculture background and the possibility of extensive travel around the U.S. and Canada. About two years into that position, travel started getting less fun. My family’s dairy had recently been through Version 1 of FARM. During the evaluation, my dad told the evaluator about me and my current role. Several months later in July 2014 that evaluator reached out to me about an open position and the rest is history. No other career could better match my dairy background and animal welfare auditing experience!

What do you like most about what you do? What inspires you?

I love spending my days with farmers and cows! These people work harder than most and are proud of the work they do – as they should be! The dedication that farmers have to their land and animals is so inspiring!

What is your philosophy when it comes to dairy cow care?

It’s been said so many times: “If you take care of the cows, they will take care of you.” We all know it’s true! In any animal industry, animals must be #1 if you want any chance of success and survivial!

What do you enjoy about being a National Dairy FARM Program evaluator?

The dairy industry is so incredibly diverse, and I get to see that diversity in action every day. Despite the differences in facilities and management, we all have the same goal of creating a safe, sustainable, nutritious product. I enjoy seeing the creative mind of a dairy producer in action. Many do not have ideal facilities or extra money in the bank, but they make it work anyway. FARM focuses on continuous improvement and there is nothing more enjoyable than going to a farm and see the improvements they’ve made.

Why do you feel FARM is important to today’s dairy farmers and the industry?

With over 85 percent of our U.S. population being several generations removed from the farm, consumers have a lot of questions and very limited access to reliable information. FARM is a way to tell our story with solid facts. Overall, farmers do a good job caring for cows! Why wouldn’t we want to share our story and deliver that message to our customers and consumers?

What are you passionate about outside of work?

It’s hard to have hobbies outside of farming when you truly enjoy farming, but I do have a passion for traveling and seeing the world. I would love to do agricultural education in developing countries. However, my main hobby or passion is breeding and caring for registered Ayrshire cattle. I’ve remained involved in my community and industry with 4-H leadership, breed association boards and county fair volunteering.

Describe your “perfect” day.

I like to channel my “inner cow” for this “perfect” day idea. Much like the life of a cow, my perfect day would consist of 55 degrees and partly cloudy. My time would be spent lounging and hanging out with friends with nothing to do all day except grab some dinner and spend some time at the local watering hole. Cows really don’t have it so bad most days.

Kraft Family Dairies win 2018 BQA Dairy Award

Simply put: they care for their cows.

Ask any of the dairy workers in Colorado about Kraft Family Dairies and that’s the response you’ll get.

Since beginning their operation in 1985, Mary and Chris Kraft have made cow handling and safety a priority in every line of their production. Whether it be lowering stress levels when moving to and from the parlor, closely monitoring health through RFID enabled collars, or changing out water, beds and food regularly, the Kraft’s understand that a happy cow leads to a better quality product.

“Suave, suave,” Chris jokes. “We always talk about being smooth, being not hard on the cows. I talk to my cows with love. As I say in Spanish, ‘un amor.’”

It’s that “amor” that earned Kraft Family Dairies the 2018 BQA Dairy Award winner. They combine their compassion and precision with a focus on preventative management and beef quality assurance (BQA) guidelines throughout all stages of the on-farm production cycle.

But what really makes the Kraft’s stand out is their two-farm system that ships out close to 500,000 pounds of milk each day.

On their Quail Ridge site, the family milks 4,500 head three times daily. This is where healthy cows are kept and monitored for quality assurance and comfort.

Not too far down the road, the family also owns Badger Creek Farm, a lot that provides intensive and individualized care for hospital, maternity and special needs cows. It’s there that the family milks 1,100 cows three times daily. Thanks to this system, at any given time, less than 2% of cattle on the operation are in the hospital.

As Mary would call it, it’s a “TLC operation.”

“The Kraft Family’s commitment to cattle care and implementation of BQA principles is among the nation’s elite,” said Libby Bilger with the Colorado BQA Coordinator.

One of the most unique features of the farm focuses on well-being. The family uses Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) collars on each of their cows. The collar can not only monitor milk production and reproductive status, but also changes in health and behavior. That helps the Kraft’s quickly determine if an animal is sick in the beginning stages of illness.

They also use hand-held computers that connect with the collars to provide data to the herdsmen. From there, they’re able to make on-the-spot decisions about treatments, breeding and cow needs. Plus, that data is sent back to a computer and stored to record treatments, health notes, milk weights and schedule future events.

The Kraft’s believe, “you can’t manage it if you don’t measure it.”

“There is nothing more important at Kraft Family Dairies, LLC then the health of their animals and overall herd health,” Dr. Gregory Goodell with the Dairy Authority, LLC said. “As with any business one may have the best equipment in the world, but without the passion and knowledge to manage such an operation, the facility would be wasted.”

That passion shines through in how they manage the barns for their animals. Their beds are in close proximity to the milking parlor, so cows only have to travel a short, low-stress distance for milking. The cows also have access to fresh feed and water 24 hours a day. Their beds are regularly cleaned and stocked in an effort to provide comfort and cleanliness.

“Everybody sleeps better when you make your bed at home, so our cows sleep better and produce better as do our calves when they all have a fresh bed,” said Stratton Kraft, Mary and Chris’ son who also helps on the farm.

The Kraft’s also keep an “open-door” policy on their farm for consumers to learn more about where their food comes from and to allow them to experience dairy production first hand. They host about 50 tours each year for schools, chefs, international guests and many others.

On those tours, the Kraft’s showcase how the BQA standards guide what they do in order to improve consumer confidence in beef. They understand that consumers want to know more about how their food is raised, animal welfare and how food production affects the environment.

By adopting the BQA guidelines, the Kraft’s can confidently open their doors to the public to show the best practices in the business.

“I want consumers to know that I eat this beef, too,” Mary said. “I want to have a really wholesome wonderful product for my family, and I think my job as a farmer, my job as a mom, is to make sure that you and your family have the same quality food.”

For more information on Kraft Family Dairies and other 2018 BQA Award winners, visit https://www.bqa.org/about/bqa-awards.

National  Beef Quality Assurance is a nationally coordinated, state-implemented program that provides information to U.S. beef producers and beef consumers of how common sense husbandry techniques can be coupled with accepted scientific knowledge to raise cattle under optimum management and environmental conditions. BQA guidelines are designed to make certain all beef consumers can take pride in what they purchase – and can trust and have confidence in the entire beef industry.

The FARM Program is proud to partner with BQA to work on behalf and to provide educational resources to cattlemen and dairymen.

Sustainability on a Dairy Farm

For Robert L. Foster, ensuring sustainability is all about the small steps. For decades, his operation has implemented several environmental projects that have created a culture of continuous improvement on his farm in Vermont, and have won it countless awards for milk quality, environmental efforts and quality compost.

On Foster Brothers Farm Inc., the Fosters practice cover cropping, strip cropping and no-till planting. In 1992, they founded Vermont Natural Ag Products Inc., a composting company for agricultural residuals. Robert is a resident expert and champion for renewable energy and sustainability for his cooperative, Agri-Mark. He coined the term “cow power,” which is now the name of a project between Vermont dairy farmers and Green Mountain Power. Oh, and his family built the state’s first anaerobic digester in 1982.

But most recently, Robert has become a devoted advocate for FARM Environmental Stewardship, a voluntary assessment that helps dairy producers identify potential efficiency gains, cost savings, and to track their progress. Robert inputs his farm’s data on things like milk production records, energy statements, fuel usage, and more to determine the best actions to augment his current environmental projects.

“To improve any endeavor, one needs to be able to measure progress,” said Robert. “I believe tools like the FARM ES module provide a simple way to measure progress over time. It provides validation and specific examples that give credence to how and why what we do as dairy farmers benefits society.”

Foster Brothers Farm Inc. is a fifth-generation dairy and crop farm located in the Champlain Valley of Vermont with a wet herd of over 500 cows. A truly family affair, Robert farms with his brother, cousin, daughter, two nephews and second cousin. They raise corn, hay and soybeans for feed, and rye for seeding cover crops. They also farm over 1,500 acres and manage 400 acres of woodland.

Robert is a recently retired cooperative director for Agri-Mark’s Board of Directors for 37 years. He graduated the University of Vermont with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering and a master’s in agricultural economics. After serving in the U.S. Army, Robert returned to the farm. Besides serving as the co-op’s resident environmental expert, Robert was the director of Agri-Mark’s Young Cooperator program and of Agri-Mark’s Board of Directors.

Sustainability has been a pinnacle of the Foster family operation for over 20 years. Vermont Natural Ag Products Inc. purchases extra nutrients from farms and moves them into the broader marketplace through a line of compost products, from cow manure to potting mixes. And the Fosters have no intention of stopping there.

“My goal is to leave our businesses in a better place, and to encourage a culture of continuous improvement in the way we use resources to convert solar energy into resources for the betterment of the world,” Robert said. “I believe that agriculture has a great story about being a pioneer in sustainable stewardship.”

Bob Foster and Family

Highest Standards

National Dairy Farmers Assuring Responsible Management (FARM) Program raises the bar for the entire dairy industry – creating a culture of continuous improvement. The FARM Program is comprised of dairy farmers, cooperatives and processors across the United States holding our members to rigorous guidelines for animal care, environmental and antibiotic stewardship that ensure the utmost quality on our nation’s dairy farms.Unknown Object

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Safe, Wholesome Milk

The safety and wholesomeness of milk starts at the farm. By following strict guidelines related to treating sick animals, all dairy consumers can feel confident that they are consuming the safest and most nutritious products for themselves and their families.Unknown Object

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