Pictured: Jordan Matthews, Tim Strobel, Lloyd Holterman and Daphne Holterman
“Let the cow be a cow,” says Lloyd Holterman. It’s a mantra that drives his operation, Rosy Lane Holsteins LLC, to raise healthier, happier and longer-living animals.
“All we do is focus on letting the cow fulfill her natural ability to make milk,” says wife Daphne. As members of the FARM Animal Care Program, Daphne and Lloyd, their family and partners work every day to make sure their 940 cows are treated with care and compassion. With 20 full-time staff, that requires constant collaboration and teamwork.
It all started in 1980, when Lloyd and Daphne began farming alongside of Lloyd’s parents. After six years of work and a two-year break, they returned to purchase the cows and equipment, finally buying the entire 226-acre farm in 1994. Today, they sell high-quality milk that is made into cheese, market genetics from their Holstein herd, and farm 1,700 acres of corn, alfalfa and other grasses.
Lloyd and Daphne are joined by partners Tim Strobel and Jordan Matthews. both worked on the farm as teenagers. Tim has been a partner for 17 years and Jordan for three.
When Lloyd and Daphne aren’t enjoying their free time on their Harley Davidson motorcycle, it’s all about the cows, and they joined the FARM Animal Care Program to instill that
belief in their staff.The farm conducts quarterly animal care meetings for both cow and calf staff, focusing on timely topics and watching videos on how to work "with" the animal, said Daphne. They also bring in veterinarians to help with training.“We hope positive peer pressure works to keep our staff's animal handling skills honed,” she said. “The three partners who work with animals set an example on a regular basis.”
In addition to properly training the Rosy Lane staff, making sure the cows are comfortable is also vital. They make sure each cow has ample space to move around, and that they’re provided a calm environment from the very beginning of life so that they’re relaxed around people.
“We enjoy watching a calf grow up healthy and turn into a productive milking cow that lives a long time with few health issues,” said Daphne. “We enjoy the opportunity to work together and inspire others to learn about animals and how caring for them can be personally very rewarding.”
But challenges remain, Daphne says one of the toughest challenges is making sure the consumer understands her job and why she does it.
“Farming is an important part of our lives,” she said. “Our families go above and beyond every day to produce healthy food for our consumers.”