Article

New Day Dairy Celebrates a Year of High-tech Milking

November 15, 2016

Develop. Milk. Bless. This is the mission of New Day Dairy. Milking began December 2015, but Dan and Lynn Bolin’s “new day” started long ago.

In 2010, after college and their wedding, Dan and Lynn lived in Turkey to experience culture and diversity in their mid-20s, unsure if they wanted to continue in the family business despite Dan being from a long line of dairy farmers. During their year abroad, Dan interacted with local dairymen and visited a variety of dairy farms. As Dan gave advice to these farmers, he discovered he did want to be a dairy farmer.

Dan went back to Clarksville, Iowa, and founded New Day Dairy on a solid foundation. He partnered with his grandfather, Pete Jensen, along with his parents, Dave and Pam Bolin to create something new. The fifth generation dairy farmer built a modern dairy barn about a quarter mile from the 126-year-old Bolin farmstead. Dan’s great-great grandparents purchased the farm’s original 80 acres in 1890 and started with one dairy cow. New Day Dairy, LLC, began milking with 80 dairy cows and have grown the herd to 100 cows in 11 months.

In this new dairy barn, “Rita” is in charge. She’s on time for work every day, milks the cows on a flexible, reliable schedule and always lets Dan know when she’s having work-related trouble. Reliable Rita happens to be the robotic milking machine the Bolins named for their farm. In 2011, the partners of New Day Dairy went to see a robotic milker for the first time, but Dan and his father were uncertain of the new technology. Dan even said there was only a 10 percent chance he’d ever install one. Clearly, his estimates were wrong.

Getting a robotic milker meant a great deal of preparation and adjustment to start. Rita had to get to know each cow. How much milk does each cow give? How often does each cow need to be milked? In a few months, Rita learned all of this information. The cows also shifted their routine. They no longer needed to wait for Dan to come to the barn and milk them; they had the freedom to be milked at any point.

Lynn was told the first year with new technology would be the hardest, but she feels like they hit their stride around nine months. Dan and the cows are working on their own schedule and everyone is reaping the rewards. Dan and Lynn are especially grateful that Rita provides opportunities to dairy with their young children, Amara and Vance. If the Bolin family needs to leave the farm for a large portion of the day, Rita is there to milk the cows.

As Rita gives Dan and Lynn more freedom to be active members of their local community, they look back at their international experience with gratitude and forward with enthusiasm. Big things are in the works at New Day Dairy, including the rental apartment built with large windows overlooking the cows inside the barn. The apartment will be used as a place where international interns can stay, and also a traditional bed-and-breakfast space. By having guests come to New Day Dairy, Dan and Lynn want dairy lovers to experience their food being made with love and modern technology. Dan and Lynn feel blessed to learn about dairy abroad, and want to pay the blessing forward by hosting interns and international trainees from around the world. 

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