When you hear the words dairy farm, your mind automatically thinks milk, ice cream, or butter, but for one of Ohio’s dairy producers it’s much more. Willem VanRoojen, owner and operator of Naomi Dairy, shared his thoughts on our recent Nutrient Bud Tour about his operation, milk, meat, and manure.
The Naomi Dairy was established in 2012 in Cygnet, located in southern Wood County with 128 milking cows, 20 replacement heifers, and calves. The 310 acre operation consists of corn silage, soybeans, and alfalfa. The farm is practically a one-man operation due to two robotic milkers.
Willum comes from a long line of dairymen, as several generations back have all be dairy producers. His parents are the first generation to live in the U.S., emigrating from the Netherlands because of overcrowding in their home country. Willum has an engineering degree from the University of Toledo, but has chosen to follow in the family tradition by making dairying his profession.
He is conscious of being a good steward of his land and his herd of Holstein cows. His farm is located in the Western Lake Erie Basin (WLEB) and because of this, he is bound by more stringent regulations for manure and nutrient applications. He is careful of his applications and centers his operation around the thought that his manure needs to stay on his farm rather than be lost to streams, rivers, and eventually, Lake Erie. He believes that clean drinking water is important and is careful to not contribute to the problems in Lake Erie. There is a lot of value to manure, and he wants to keep it for his growing crops.
Naomi Dairy utilizes a catch basin for silage leachate, a concrete manure holding tank with a capacity for about a year of manure, and a mortality composting system as best management practices.
The cows are housed in a freestyle barn that has water beds, automated V- scraping system, and ventilation for the health and comfort of the herd. The manure is applied on his fields via a drag line and spreader.
Naomi Dairy is state of the art operation where it is apparent that the animals are well cared for in hopes to increase milk production. When asked why his operation was not as large as some, he replied that “firstly an operation needs to be efficient.”