Winter Spring Farm, a dairy operation tucked away in Centre County, Pa., is starting over, with a new owner and new cows.
After closing on the farm Dec. 26, 2013, Dustin Boob, along with his young family, started living his dream of owning and operating a successful dairy. He moved his herd of Holstein cows into the tie stall housing system in February, with plans for improvement already dancing in his head.
The first order of business was reaching for yet another goal: winning a Dairy of Distinction award. Boob sent in his application, hoping to win but wasn’t sure what the outcome would be.
“It was a goal of ours when we bought the farm that we would apply and see what happens,” Boob said. “If (we didn’t win), we would have applied the next year and the next.” His wife and father helped prepare around the outside of the farm for the award, since appearance of the location is an important factor for judges to consider. Dustin Boob’s 20-month-old son, Lucas, “tries to help,” he said, “but he ends up just dragging toys around the yard.”
Boob talks with determination in his voice, his confidence in farming stemming from his experience milking cows at local farms in his youth. He didn’t come from a farming family, but nevertheless the household where he did come from was a hardworking one.
“My dad’s dad farmed and then got out of it,” Boob explained in a recent phone interview. “My dad drives tri-axle” full time and helps with the farm after work.
“I was always interested in farming and always wanted a herd of cows,” he said. “I’m working on getting them (to be) a whole registered herd.”
His herd is currently made up of 52 milking cows and 10 dry cows; three calves, 10 heifers and 62 mature cows. The rolling herd average is 22,000 pounds of milk per cow per year, with the milk being about 3.7 percent butterfat and 3.1 percent protein. His herd’s average somatic cell count averages about 190,000 and 200,000. The milk is then shipped to Readington Farms in New Jersey.
The farm boasts about 48 acres of land made up of woodland pasture for the cows. The home farm doesn’t produce any crops, but Boob does rent 60 more acres nearby, where he raises corn and alfalfa.
He has plans to expand, hoping to eventually come to own between 150 to 200 acres of land. But coming to own a farm, let alone land, has been a struggle. He bought his farm through a private sale, commenting that it is harder now for people to start farming since prices for real estate are so high. He said that some buyers “pay through the roofs” and then there is the ever-changing market.
Boob credits his success to his work ethic and his mind-set.
“Keep on working at it,” he said about how he managed to own his operation, “and wanting to do it.”
As for the success of his cows, he swears he doesn’t do anything extraordinary or that varies from “what every other dairy farmer does.” However, he does stress that ventilation is important.
Winning the Dairy of Distinction award is also important for Boob, an accomplishment he can now check off his to-do list. Planned and precise, Boob already knows his next steps:
“Buy more ground, expand the farm, register cows.”