Nor-Bert Farms of Bremen, Indiana has seen many changes since the farm began seven decades ago. Today the farm is operated by Deb and Roger Dankert, their son Jeremy Dankert, their daughter Jennifer and her husband Monty Freeman. Jennifer and Monty’s three children, Dalton, Dillon, and Breanne are also involved. The family farm was founded by the late Norman and Bertha Krathwohl, Deb’s parents.
The farm began in 1945 with 80 acres of land and milking eight cows by hand. Deb’s father, Norman, was an innovator and so he began a tradition of adopting new technologies and adapting to the changing times that serves the farm well today.
The Dankerts have continued to adopt some of the many amazing technological solutions to help keep their cows healthy and happy. The most recent technologies embraced by the farm were the installation of an automatic calf feeder in February 2009 and three Lely robotic milkers in August 2010. Since the installation of the robot milkers, milk production and quality have improved. This technology also allows for the family to care for the 145-cow milking herd of Holsteins, Brown Swiss, Ayrshires and a few Jerseys without any outside labor. The robotic milking machines allow the cows to “milk themselves.” The cows can choose when and how many times they want to be milked, and they don’t need any help from their farmers. The automatic calf feeders allow baby calves to choose when they want to drink their milk. Both the robotic milking machines and the automatic feeders allow the animals to make their own decisions about when to eat or be milked and free up the schedules for the farm family.
Besides the dairy, the farm crops 1100 acres of corn, soybeans and alfalfa hay.