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Large Dairy Development in the Midwest Vreba-Hoff Dairy Development, LLC Cecilia C.M. Conway. 2006 National Association of County Agricultural Agents Annual Meeting & Professional Improvement Conference July 24, 2006. Agenda. Introduction to the Vreba-Hoff Companies

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large dairy development in the midwest vreba hoff dairy development llc cecilia c m conway

Large Dairy Development in the MidwestVreba-Hoff Dairy Development, LLCCecilia C.M. Conway

2006 National Association of County Agricultural Agents Annual Meeting & Professional Improvement Conference

July 24, 2006

  • Introduction to the Vreba-Hoff Companies
  • Market Trends – European & US Dairy Industries
  • The Vreba-Hoff Project Model
  • Siting\Permitting\Licensing Requirements
  • Farm Innovations
  • Dairy Development Positives & Challenges
  • Working with State Extension Agencies
  • Questions
introduction vreba hoff dairies
IntroductionVreba-Hoff Dairies
  • In 1997, the Van Bakel and Vander Hoff families partnered to build a 3,000 cow dairy facility in Hudson, Michigan
  • In 2000 the second 3,000 cow facility began operation
  • Interest from Uncle opened development opportunities for other farm families
  • Vreba-Hoff Dairy Development LLC
    • Established in 1998
    • Private, family-owned Firm
    • Located in Wauseon, Ohio
    • Assist European & American families relocate or expand their dairy businesses
  • Vreba-Hoff Dairy Development assists with:
    • Sale of Real Estate Overseas (through sister company)
    • Identification of Possible Project Sites
    • Recruitment of Project Financing
    • Application of Necessary Permits
    • Coordination of Project Construction
    • Coordination of Family Re-settlement
  • Since 1998 Vreba-Hoff has developed:
    • 2 Vreba-Hoff Owned facilities in Michigan
    • 7 Other facilities in Michigan
    • 12 facilities in Indiana
    • 25 facilities in Ohio
    • 23 facilities under construction or development
      • Total 62 new dairy projects
      • Equals over 70,000 cows


One New Project Under Development in Thumb Area



  • Blue = 13 Dairies Under Development
  • Green =12 Dairies Operating


  • Blue = 9 Dairies Under Development
  • Green =25 Dairies Operating

Why Focus on the Midwest

  • Temperate Climate
  • Large grain production provides a consistent supply of forages and opportunities to partner with growers
  • Good Infrastructure to move crops and milk

DFA re-opens Adrian, Mich. dairy processing plant

March 2006


Why Focus on the Midwest

  • Good access to medical, educational and social centers for the dairy producers and their families
  • Over 70% of population within 24 hours transport; providing a strong and accessible market for milk sales
market trends european dairy industry
Market Trends - European Dairy Industry
  • Why Are Dutch/

European Farmers Desiring to Relocate their Dairy Businesses?

dairy farming in the netherlands
Dairy Farming in The Netherlands
  • Country
    • Small Land Area
      • Ohio is 2.5 times larger than NL
    • High Population
      • Population is 16 million
      • Ohio’s population is approximately 70% of NL
dairy farming in the netherlands15
Dairy Farming in The Netherlands
  • Market Conditions
    • Constant pressure to take agricultural land out of production for housing or industry
      • Price of Land in 2004 was $16,000/acre
    • Milk Production Limited by Quota System
    • Value of Milk Production Rights continues to increase
      • Current Milk Quota cost is $25,527 per cow
dairy farming in the netherlands16
Dairy Farmingin The Netherlands
  • Future Outlook
    • Expansion is cost prohibitive
      • The cost to add one cow to an operation is about $41,000
    • Number of Farms to Decline
      • Currently there remain 22,000 dairies left with about 4,500 evaluating the relocation of their business

- 90% of farms are less than 200 cows

  • Average age of a farmer is approx. 58 years old
  • No successor available

The only dairy farm size growing is 500 cows+

  • 60% of the cows are on farms with 200+ cows

Dairy Industry Trends

Dairy Expansion Areas

(source: Monsanto)

market trends
Market Trends

Livestock Population by County – Milk Cows, Heifers & Cattle

Source: Ohio Dept. of Agriculture

  • New Dairies are bringing cattle back to areas which previously held much larger livestock numbers
market trends ohio
Market Trends - Ohio
  • Market Conditions - Ohio
    • Milk deficit state and imports milk from other states
    • Significant decrease in Ohio cows numbers: 892,000 cows in 1956266,000 cows in 2005
    • Dairy receipts represents 1/3 of the total value of animal agriculture in Ohio
    • Ohio boasts 94 processing and receiving plants
market trends indiana
Market Trends - Indiana
  • Market Conditions
    • Significant decrease in Indiana cows numbers:

140,488 cows in 1978

136,000 cows in 1999150,000 cows in 2004

    • State Dairy receipts equal $230 million dollars
    • Indiana Ranks 2nd nationally in ice cream production
market trends united states dairy industry
Market Trends – United States Dairy Industry
  • Market Conditions
    • Overall number of dairies decreasing
    • Trend toward larger dairies provide owner more labor flexibility and economies of scale
    • Increasing milk production per cow due to breeding methods such as artificial insemination and improved feed rations
market trends26
Market Trends
  • Market Conditions
    • Production in volume helps maintain profitability during peaks and valleys of milk market price
the vreba hoff model28
The Vreba-Hoff Model
  • Farm Designed to Promote Milk Production & Cow Comfort
  • Focus: Farm Management
  • Minimize Real Estate Investment
  • Partner with Local Crop Growers
farm design the complex
Farm Design – the complex
  • Parlor and Freestalls in “H” design to move cows efficiently
  • Side Settling Basins to collect Sand
  • Concrete or earthen Lagoon structures to hold 12 months storage
  • Bunker area arranged to efficiently handle feed storage
farm design milk production
Farm Design – Milk Production
  • Parlor Designed for Efficiency
  • Natural lighting benefits staff and animal herd
  • State of the art technology for monitoring dairy herd production
  • Each cow is milked 3 times per day
farm design freestall barn
Farm Design -Freestall Barn
  • Barn Design promotes cow comfort
  • Feed can be accessed at all times
  • Adjustable side curtains to promote ventilation
  • Fans are utilized to cool in summer
  • Sand bedding keeps cows cleaner & drier
  • Easy monitoring of cattle
farm management
Farm Management

- Focus on herd health, cow comfort resulting in improved production

- Cost management advantages through economies of scale

- Increased attention placed on environmental management

- Good Cow Management directly correlates to a successful dairy operation

minimize purchase of real estate
Minimize Purchase of Real Estate
  • Real Estate is minimized to reserve capital for herd investment and cow friendly facilities
  • Approximately 80 acres is required to construct a 2200 cow dairy facility
partnership with local farmers
Partnership with Local Farmers

Dairy Farmers partner with local crop farmers to produce quality feed for cattle

partnership with local farmers37
Partnership with Local Farmers

Manure is a natural fertilizer

Local Crop Growers reduce reliance on commercial fertilizers by using dairy manure

partnership with local farmers38
Partnership with Local Farmers
  • Reduction in Costs for Crop Farmers
    • Growers can sell directly to their local end user; keep more marketing dollars in their pocket;
    • Growers can eliminate costs for drying, shelling and transporting crops;
    • Growers can gain $120 - $160 per acre growing corn silage
    • Growers can reduce costs of chemical Fertilizer use and gain organic fertilizer
funding of dairies
Funding of Dairies
  • Typical Investment Amount for 2,200-cow Dairy
  • Equipment $ 440,000.00
  • Cows @ $2,250/cow $4,950,000.00
  • Dairy Bldg. & Land $9,000,000.00
  • Operating Capital $1,100,000.00
  • Total Investment $15,490,000.00
  • Investment per cow $ 7,040.00
new project siting criteria
New Project Siting Criteria
  • 80 acres relatively flat land
  • Well production of 35+ gallons/minute quality water
  • Proximity to residences
  • Proximity to Three-Phase Power
  • Proximity to class A roads
  • Land for crop production and manure disposal adjacent/close proximity to proposed dairy site
  • Contracts established with local crop growers
  • Setback required from Neighboring homes
  • Clay soils for Lagoon construction
siting criteria
Siting Criteria

Sample 1500 Cow Dairy – Feed Production & Manure Disposal Land Requirements

site evaluation
Site Evaluation
  • Once possible site is identified
    • Professional Engineering Firms evaluate integrity of Site
    • Identify if Adequate Resources and isolation is available
    • Initial ground water and geological testing is initiated
dairy farm permitting
Dairy Farm Permitting

State Permits

  • Cow number triggers requirement for permit
    • Permit Application Includes
      • Engineered Plans by a Professional Engineer
      • Verification of manure disposal fields (Nutrient Management Plans)
      • Emergency Spill Response Plan
      • Notification to adjoining landowners & local officials of application submittal
dairy farm permitting45
Dairy Farm Permitting
  • State Permits (Ohio)
    • Siting Setback Requirements
      • 1000 ft. from residence to manure storage
      • 300 ft. from well to manure storage
      • 100 ft. from property lines to manure storage
      • 15 feet of low permeable soils from bottom of lagoon to aquifer
dairy farm permitting46
Dairy Farm Permitting
  • State Permits
    • Dairy Farm Siting requires special requirements in areas of
      • Public Water Source Wellhead protection area
      • Floodplains & Floodways
      • Wetlands
      • Cold water Habitats
      • Underground mines
dairy farm permitting47
Dairy Farm Permitting
  • State Permits
    • Require regular inspections
    • Operator must maintain operational records and inspection logs
    • State permitting entity inspects adherence to permit requirements
  • Licensing
    • Farms are required to be state licensed to ship Grade A Milk
    • State Licensing entity inspects farm to monitor on-farm practices
dairy farm regulation
Dairy Farm Regulation
  • Federal Law
    • US Clean Water Act
      • Containment of contaminated Storm Water
      • Containment of Silage Leachate
      • Containment of Processed Water
      • Required Operational Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan
      • Required Farm Inspections and Record Keeping
dairy farm regulation49
Dairy Farm Regulation
  • Local Permitting
    • Indiana allows zoning of agriculture at a local level
    • Ohio and Michigan have right-to-farm legislation (Ohio law is currently being challenged)
farm innovation
Farm Innovation

Current Design Standard = Sufficient Containment

  • 12 month Manure storage capacity (including 100 year storm event)
  • Silage Leachate containment
  • Contaminated Storm Water Containment
  • Operational Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan
  • Clean storm water retention and discharge planning
  • Comprehensive Nutrient Management Plans
farm innovation52
Farm Innovation
  • Complex Efficiency
    • Move toward Carousel Parlor for Higher number of cows
    • Arrange Freestalls in “T” design to Parlor to minimize cow travel
farm innovation53
Farm Innovation
  • Improved Manure Management
    • Attempts to reduce volumes
    • Trend Towards Manure Treatment
      • Multiple Lagoons
      • Solids-Liquids Separation
        • Encourage recycling of bedding material
      • Composting/Drying
farm innovation54
Farm Innovation
  • Reduce Manure Volume
  • Cousin’s firm developed improved manure vacuum
  • Turns on its own axles
  • Allows more flexibility in farm Design/lagoon placement

Farm Innovation

Getting the manure out of the barns

efficiently and economically.

farm innovation56
Farm Innovation
  • Reduce Manure Volumes
    • The Ohio State University Extension supported dairy water use study:
      • Water meters were installed throughout dairy facility
      • Determined average cow water use was 31.9 gallons per day (includes wash water)
        • Leading to better evaluation of facility wide water usage
        • Trend toward Direct Loading of Milk
farm innovation57
Farm Innovation
  • Manure Treatment
  • Recycling Bedding Components
  • Sand
    • Mechanical
    • Non Mechanical

Sand Recycling Lane

farm innovation58
Farm Innovation
  • Separation of Manure Solids
    • Vreba-Hoff implemented system in early 06’
      • Rotary Drum Thickener
      • 16 inch screw press
      • Alum & Polymers added flocculate suspended solids
      • Liquid run through Air flotation tank
      • Compost solids for bedding
      • Irrigate liquids at high speed on growing crops
farm innovation59
Farm Innovation
  • Manure Treatment
    • Earthmentor System –(patent pending system developed by Ag Consultant Tom Menke)
      • Mechanical Solid Separation (sand & manure)
      • Multi-lagoon system for waste treatment

Earthmentor® System

Example Layout

earthmentor system
Earthmentor® System

Summary – Advantage to Dairy

  • 2.5  reduction in annual application acres
  • Positive economics: manure handling costs reduced by >50%
  • All manure is treated and precisely applied
  • Minimizes environmental risks and farm nuisance potential
  • Window of application opportunity for manure applications extended
farm innovation62
Farm Innovation
  • Manure Treatment
    • Methane Digesters
      • Cost of systems still significant
      • Does not eliminate by-product to haul
      • Energy suppliers not reimbursing fair rate for energy (dependent on state)
farm innovation63
Farm Innovation
  • Manure Treatment – What We Know
    • Complete Treatment is too expensive
    • Partial Treatment stabilizes manure to reduce odor, solids and nutrient content
    • Most systems are high in management, labor, and cost with little economic return
farm innovation64
Farm Innovation
  • Manure Treatment – What We Need to Keep Researching
    • How to economically remove and concentrate nutrients from manure for use as soil amendments
dairy development positives
Dairy Development Positives
  • Farm Land Preservation
    • New Farm development keeps local land in crop production
    • 2000 cow dairy keeps 2000 acres of land as green space
positives of partnering with livestock
Positives of Partnering with Livestock

Economic Benefits

  • Dairy Farms create demand for local production crops which yields higher profits per acre locally
  • Each 600 cow farm contributes approximately 3 million dollars annually to the local economy
  • Each job created at the dairy creates 2.25 jobs in other sectors of the industry
  • A dollar increase in livestock and poultry production creates $1.32 to $1.64 in economic activity
  • One farm supports approximately 100 Ohio businesses

(Source: The Ohio State University Extension & Ohio Livestock Coalition)

dairy development positives68
Dairy Development Positives
  • New Business Opportunities
    • Heifer Raising
    • Feed Production
    • Calf Raising
    • Custom Manure Applicators
  • New Career Opportunities
    • Farm middle management
dairy development positives69
Dairy Development Positives
  • Addition of new dairy producers helps maintain infrastructure for dairy producers of all sizes
    • Dairy Processors
    • Veterinarians
    • Milk Equipment Suppliers
    • Ag Equipment Dealers
dairy development challenges
Dairy Development Challenges
  • Farmers vs. Residential Growth
    • Family Farms versus “Factory Farms”
    • Media attention is unbalanced
    • More housing in agricultural areas
  • Increased Environmental Regulation
    • Air Emissions
  • Need for Public Education
  • Length of Permit Issuance
working with osu county extension agents
Working With OSU County Extension Agents
  • Earlier and more contact with local Extension Offices by VH and new farmer
    • We welcome any comment and suggestions
    • Site Selection – we welcome assistance/suggestions
    • Encourage questions or voicing concerns
Thank you

for the opportunity

to speak with you.