The Forry Family -- National Dairy Beef Quality Assurance Award Winners
We are thrilled to celebrate the achievements of Oregon Dairy Farm, LLC, Lititz, PA, winners of the National Dairy Beef Quality Assurance Award. Owners Tim and Maria Forry accepted the award, on behalf of their family, at the 2015 Cattle Industry Annual Convention in San Antonio, TX.
Oregon Dairy Farm is a family partnership between George Hurst, his son, Chad, and daughter and son-in-law, Tim and Maria Forry. George is the general manager of the farm. Tim is responsible for the cows and young stock and Chad is responsible for the crops.
The Lancaster County dairy farm includes 500 milking cows and 500 replacements. They raise all of the forages for their cows on approximately 900 acres of land. In addition, they also have a methane digester and compost facility. The methane digester powers the dairy farm with enough surplus electricity to sell to Oregon Dairy Inc., a popular retail store and family restaurant, also on the property.
Oregon Dairy Farm strives to take good care of their cows so they can achieve their maximum potential in milk production. The team strongly believes that a healthy and comfortable cow will be the most productive, and therefore the most profitable. A specific Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) goal is to maintain or rehabilitate the cows so that they are in excellent body condition when leaving the farm for beef. “I know that I am producing beef, not just milk. It is important that we sell a cow that will make good quality beef when she is no longer profitable as a milking cow,” notes Tim. By selling their cows sooner, rather than later, in appropriate body condition, Oregon Dairy optimizes her for quality beef production too. “Too often, dairy has a "bad name" in the beef industry,” Tim further explains. “As a dairy industry, we must work to improve our image, taking steps to produce high quality beef.”
To ensure their cows are comfortable, Oregon Dairy Farm keeps their cows cool in the hot, summer months with fans over the feed alleys and the beds where they lie down. They also operate a sprinkler system over the feed alley and in the holding area where the cows wait to be milked. Oregon Dairy realizes the importance of heat abatement for their dry cows too, installing fans and misters in the dry cow pen.
Additional BQA best management practices at Oregon Dairy include:
- Tim is BQA certified.
- They have worked with their veterinarian to switch from vaccines that require intra-muscular injections to vaccines that require a subcutaneous injection, including antibiotics and vaccines.
- High quality animal care is a standard of their farm. Any kind of animal abuse is not tolerated. If an employee is found to have abused an animal, that is grounds for terminating the employee. If an employee does not report animal abuse, the employee that did not report the abuse is held responsible.
- All of the calves born on the farm are given colostrum as soon as possible.
- All animals are on a vaccination program established by their veterinarian.
- They work with their veterinarian on protocols that are suitable for their farm with annual evaluation and consultation.
- A hoof trimmer comes to the farm weekly to give routine hoof trims and address cows showing any signs of lameness to ensure cow comfort and productivity.
- They believe very strongly in record keeping and have everything recorded electronically with a back-up running every day to ensure records are saved and safe.
- They have a compost pile on the farm for the purpose of composting cows that are not suitable to be sold from an animal welfare and meat quality standpoint.
Active in their local community, Oregon Dairy Farm hosts school tours from April through October, educating an estimated 2,000 students and adults each year about how they care for their cows and the land, connecting the farm to the students’ dinner table.
Each June, Oregon Dairy Farm hosts Family Farm Days, a three day event attended by approximately 14,000 people. Planned by staff from Oregon Dairy Inc., Oregon Dairy Farm and the Lancaster County Ag Council, the event includes tractor rides and interactive displays throughout the farm. “We believe it is important to educate our neighbors from near and far about where their food comes from. We want them to understand that farmers care about their animals, soil, water and air, regardless of the production practices that each farmer chooses to use and to learn the things that we do to care for these things,” explains Maria and George.
In addition to this national award, Oregon Dairy Farm also has received the following awards, recognizing their leadership in agriculture:
- Oregon Dairy Farm, LLC received the Dairy of Distinction designation in 2005.
- Oregon Dairy Farm, LLC won the Outstanding Cooperator of the Year award in 2008, from the Lancaster County Conservation District.
- George Hurst won the George C. Delp award from the Lancaster County Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 2008.
- Oregon Dairy Farm was recognized as the PA Dairy Beef Quality Assurance Recipient in 2014.
To learn more about the Dairy Beef Quality Assurance (DBQA) or Beef Quality Assurance (BQA) program and awards, please contact Nichole Hockenberry at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about Oregon Dairy Farm, grocery store and restaurant, watch their award video or visit http://www.oregondairy.com.