The Holter Family
Dairy Farmers from Pomeroy, Ohio
Holter’s Holstein Farm is home to three generations of the Holter family that work together to care for 200 cows and farm 900 acres of cropland. The Holters know firsthand working with family can have its challenges, but that’s part of what makes dairy farming special — 97% of US dairy farms are family-owned.
How has dairy farming changed in your lifetime?
Roy: We moved here in 1946 and purchased 90 acres. We brought our cows with us, walking them over with the baby calves in wagons. We were only milking about 15 cows at the time. Back then, you were milking cows by hand and you could make a living with 10 or 12 cows, but it’s a little different nowadays.
Alyssa: My grandpa said the goal was to milk 40 cows when he arrived here. Now we’ve grown to 200 and have added continually updated and improved our farm.
HEAR FROM THE FARMER
Listen as Kelsey Holter shares what she thinks is an important step in educating youth about modern dairy farming
Is it challenging working with your family and your sisters?
Alyssa: Of course at times it’s difficult to work with your family, but overall it’s been fun. You try to have them see your point of view and work to improve things around the farm. It takes good communication to make sure everything gets done in one day.
Kelsey: It’s been a lot of fun. We even have a lot of our friends come and work on the farm with us. We’ve always had someone to share the experience with growing up, and we grew up with values that maybe others didn’t have. If there’s one thing we know, we know how to work hard.
It’s what you believe in and it’s your passion.
What’s the biggest challenge you see facing dairy farms today?
Kelsey: Consumers want to know where their food comes from and they want to know what happens behind the scenes. These are new challenges for farmers, as the focus has been on taking care of their animals, making sure their diets are properly balanced and their living quarters are properly bedded. This becomes your life. It’s what you believe in and it’s your passion.
Ed: We offer people to come and look at any time or schedule a tour. It’s not like we’re putting on an act. Just as we have milk inspectors and salesmen visit, just stop in a take a look for yourself. I guarantee you we treat the animals better than we treat ourselves. And we do it because it’s our livelihood.