The Stammen Family
Dairy Farmers from New Weston, Ohio
Terry Stammen is a third generation dairy farmer from Darke County, Ohio. He works alongside his wife Marcia and family at Wabash-Way Holstein Farms, which is named for the Wabash River that borders their farm. Together the family cares for 350 registered Holsteins and farms 400 acres of crops.
How did you and your family get into dairy farming?
Terry: I grew up milking cows on my dad’s farm, but after I went away to school, he decided to get out of the dairy business. I came back in 1974 and began making improvements to the farm and buying dairy cattle, and have gradually built the herd and farm up from there. We’ve gone from milking about 50 cows to milking 350 today.
What improvements have you made to the farm?
Terry: Most recently we doubled our herd and built a new milking parlor, freestall barn and calf barn. To thrive (or survive) in the dairy business, it’s important to continually make improvements, when milk prices allow, or see what we can be doing better. We used to have the cows out on pasture which was easier, but having them in the freestall barn now has made a big difference in the constant care we can provide — our cows sleep on waterbeds now! When the cows are well-cared for, the milk tank reflects it in milk quality and quantity.
The Wabash River borders your farm, does that affect the way you farm?
Terry: We live on the farm and drink the water, so regardless of if the river was there or not, we try to be good stewards of the land. We capture all of the nutrients from the farm and store it in an anaerobic lagoon until the weather conditions allow us to apply it back to the land. We have enough manure storage to last all year long, so we only haul manure in the fall when it is dry to help prevent runoff. We have our soil tested and we monitor our phosphorus levels to be sure we are applying the appropriate amount of nutrients. We also work with neighboring crop farmers who need the nutrients for their land or other neighbors who just want fertilizer for their gardens!
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