The Herron Family
Dairy Farmers from Salem, Ohio
Jim and Tara Herron are third generation dairy farmers. The family cares for 250 dairy cows and farms 1,000 acres at Cold Run Jerseys in Columbiana County, Ohio.
Why did you choose to become involved in dairy farming?
Jim: I always enjoyed working on the farm. I didn’t know if I wanted to make a career of it or not, but once I developed a passion for it and Dad instilled work ethic within me, I just decided it was something I wanted to do. I kind of fell in love with the cattle. I decided to go ahead and go to college for dairy cattle and I really enjoyed my studies, and I decided to come home and become the third generation.
HEAR FROM THE FARMER
Hear Tara Herron explain why milk safety is important to her and her family.
What is everyone’s role on the farm?
Tara: On our farm, we have my father-in-law and my husband. They do more barn care and then care of the cows, vet work, feeding, scraping the manure. And then we have one full time hand, six part time employees and myself. We all take turns milking through the week together. And most of our employees are milkers and they also help with field work when we need them to.
How do you manage manure on your farm?
Jim: One aspect of the dairy that can be challenging is manure disposal. We have a 1 million gallon pit where we store our dairy manure, and we have it pumped out 3-4 times a year. We have about 1,000 acres, so we have plenty of ground to spread all of the manure on to have a safe level of nutrients on the fields. Cold Run runs right through our farm, so we have to be very careful. We watch the drainage outlets and make sure that we’re not putting it on too heavily. I live on the farm, and my whole family lives on the farm. We want to be very careful with our manure application. We don’t want to cause any problems with drinking water or any excess nutrients in the soil.
How do you make sure the cows are healthy, well-cared-for and comfortable?
Tara: We all really like to watch the cows throughout the day. You can tell when someone is a little off-balance and needs some attention, so we try to pull that cow away from the herd. We also have a really good system in our milking parlor. It’s a leg band system read by bands the cows are wearing. It feeds through this computer system and it tells us “hey, this cows not right today.” Same with my calves. It’s the same way I am as a mom with my kids — I’m watching them all the time. I can pick up if someone’s personality isn’t the norm, and I try to get that taken care of quickly.