Homestead Dairy, as the dairy is now known, officially began in 1979, when Floyd and Dan Houin began a partnership. Over the years, the Houins continued to expand their herd, including hiring a herdsman, Floyd’s son-in-law Joel Gawronski, in 1999. In 2003, Floyd’s son, Brian, graduated from Purdue University and came home to work on the farm. In 2004, Homestead Dairy purchased another dairy from a relative, increasing their herd by about 600 cows.
In 2007, Legacy Dairy was purchased by Joel Gawronski, Brian Houin, and Matt Houin (Floyd’s nephew), with the help of Homestead Dairy. Matt graduated from Purdue University in 2009 and also came back to work on the farm, in which he took control of the cropping and maintenance. Ryan Rodgers (a nephew-in-law) joined the farm in 2012 to help with the crops and maintenance. Floyd’s wife Deb takes care of the farm’s bookkeeping. The farm is managed by six family members and two non-family managers. Homestead Dairy currently milks 3200 dairy cows.
The farm uses herd management software and radio frequency ear tags (RFID) to monitor all their cows’ health. The farmers can scan a cow’s RFID tag with a Bluetooth device and pull up all the information about that cow on a handheld computer. This system allows each cow to be given individualized care based on her needs and history. The farm is currently building a methane digester to convert cow manure into electricity. The digester is expected to go online in the summer of 2013.
Brian Houin was named the 2013 Outstanding Young Dairy Producer of the Year by the Indiana Dairy Producers association. The farm does tours several times, including school groups.