The farm referred to in this article in located in our area, and Pride Dairy is located in the closest town to our place. I know nothing about cows, but thought this article to be very interesting.
Revitalizing the family dairy farm in N.D.
By Terry DeVine
The Forum - 06/04/2006
John Daniel may live in Los Angeles, but he spends a great deal of time thinking about North Dakota and what he can do to improve the quality of life for farmers in the state.
"The family dairy farm was one of the great cultural and character-building backbones of this country," says Daniel, whose wife, the former Sonja Gillberg, was born in Carpio, N.D., grew up in Minot, N.D., and eventually graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead. "I have been figuring on ways to resuscitate the family dairy farm in North Dakota, ways for people to come back to the state and make a living on a family dairy farm."
Daniel says the production of the highest-quality cultured creamery butter and white cheddar cheese is the answer to the resurgence of the dairy farm in North Dakota.
He says the milk to make that butter and cheese will come from Dutch Belted dairy cows, a breed distinguished in color by a wide swath of white hair encircling the animal's middle in an otherwise black coat. The large belt of white, which inspired the nickname "Oreo-cookie cows," makes this breed instantly recognizable.
The breed was developed from black and white dairy cattle in Holland. Holstein cows, by far the most popular and productive dairy breed, share a common ancestry with Dutch Belted herds. There aren't that many Dutch Belted herds in the United States, but Daniel hopes to change that in North Dakota. Daniel and other investors have formed the North Dakota First Corp. and recently purchased nine head of Dutch Belted dairy cows in New York state, which they will be transporting to North Dakota in July. The cows will be arriving by July 15 at Pay-Dak Farms of Towner, owned by Dale Kuhn and his wife, Pat. Daniel says the Kuhns have a 270-cow dairy operation. The milk will be taken to the Pride Dairy Cooperative in Bottineau, says Daniel, where it will be processed into cheese and butter. He says North Dakota First's goal is to be making butter by October, but cheese has to age six months before it can be sold.
"We plan to make North Dakota First Old-Fashioned Cultured Creamery Butter, a hand-made product with a taste that rivals anything you've ever put in your mouth, followed by North Dakota First Dutch Belted White Cheddar Cheese," says Daniel. He says North Dakota First Corp. will buy milk from the dairy farmers, paying them a higher price than they would normally get, and pay them part of the profit on the butter and cheese that it will distribute to markets around the country.
"We want to help underwrite loans so farmers can get into the business," says Daniel. "We hope to have a million-dollar Dutch Belted herd in North Dakota within five years." Daniel says that once North Dakota First is up and running and making money, he plans to put together seminars and will bring in cheesemakers from around the country to show dairy farmers how it's done.
"Our goal in all of this is to increase the number of farmers involved and their ability to make money in a family dairy operation," says Daniel.
Transportation is a problem in North Dakota, says Daniel, but he is confident North Dakota First will be able to ship cheese and butter by truck to markets around the country.
"I'm just a person with some ideas who wants to make a difference," says Daniel, a lawyer by trade who is working on a book. "We're going to do business with people, and when we finish doing business with them, they'll be happy and better off economically than before they went into it."
Daniel says he admires the work ethic of North Dakotans and always has. "We're going to develop products, markets and opportunities for people. The desire to excel is great among North Dakotans, and we're going to help them do it." Daniel says there are lots of details to work out, but North Dakota First is in the process of doing just that.
We'll hear more from Daniel when those Dutch Belted cows arrive in July.