Gingerich Dairy farm near Milford, Indiana dates back to 1955, when John and Mary Ellen Gingerich purchased the farm and moved there from Kokomo. The farm they purchased had a stanchion barn that housed the milking herd until it was destroyed by fire in 1963. That year, neighbors helped build a free stall barn with haymow and 4 stall side-open milking parlor. A free stall barn allows cows to move about the barn whenever they want and lie down in a clean, bedded stall they choose.
In 1976, a new section was added to the freestall barn, and a new milking parlor that can milk 12 cows at a time was built. At that time, Phil joined his father in a partnership. Then in 1988, when John decided to retire, Phil and Merrill took over the operation as a 50-50 partnership. By 1998, the Gingerich brothers were milking about 120 cows at home and had a neighbor milking an additional 40 cows for them.
It was decided to build a new, bigger facility to bring all of the cows together. So the new dairy complex was built in the field across the road from the existing dairy. The dairy center had a 264-stall freestall barn and 24-cow milking parlor. In 2012 the second barn was built adding an additional 264 freestalls. In 2013 Jeremy Byler, Phil’s son-in-law, joined the dairy bringing in the third generation.
At the present time the Gingerich Dairy is milking 500 cows. Heifer calves are kept in hutches for their first six weeks. At weaning they are put into larger groups and are raised on the farm until they are seven months old. Then they are moved off-site to a heifer grower.
The herd is milked three times per day. The parlor is equipped with automatic identification of the cow as she enters the milking parlor. Every animal on the farm has an RFID tag that allows for easy access to milk production and health records.
A dairy nutritionist is used to balance the feed rations for the herd. The ration fed includes corn silage, alfalfa silage, dry hay, canola pellets, distillers, soy hulls, ground corn and a protein mix.
Shared goals have allowed Phil and Merrill to keep their partnership strong and in 2010 formed Gingerich Dairy LLC. They define success as “not so much what you have, but how you use what you have.” An underlying goal is to be able to manage their dairy business and still have time for church, family, community events and to help those in need. Each year the Gingerichs host a neighborhood picnic inviting neighbors to share an evening of good food and conversation.
The success of our farm is directly impacted by the quality of work provided by our employees. We currently have nine full and part time employees who milk and do many other tasks on the farm.