Utah’s largest dairy lives and breathes a holistic approach toward sustainability, one that has led to longevity.
With a history of dairy farming that predates Utah’s statehood, the Bateman family has grown their farm from a handful of cows to what is now the largest dairy in the state with 7,000 milking cows.
What’s their secret?
It’s all about the cows. Along with their father, four Bateman brothers currently own, operate and manage Bateman’s Mosida Farms, in Elberta. Instilled in each of them and something that they pass along to all of their employees is the importance of each individual cow.
As part of their commitment to learning from others and sharing what they learn, the Bateman family works closely with their veterinarian and conservation experts, and they regularly host busloads of people who are curious about what modern dairy farming looks like. Here’s what they have been showing visitors recently:
- Calf Care: Raising healthy calves is essential to life on a dairy farm since these animals represent the future of the dairy. The Batemans recently built a state-of-the-art, enclosed and temperature-controlled maternity barn that has improved the health of calves and mothers and reduced calf mortality.
- Poop Management: In addition to nutritious milk, cows make a lot of poop! Managing manure in an effective way is crucial to maintaining healthy land and animals. The Batemans have developed a system that serves the dual role of processing manure for use as fertilizer while also reclaiming and cleaning sand as bedding for the cows. Their system has reduced water and fuel usage and has virtually eliminated their need for commercial fertilizers.
It doesn’t stop there. Nine of the children in the next generation are considering the dairy farm lifestyle, and their preparations for the future have already begun. A solar energy project is currently underway, more than half of their cropland is double-cropped – allowing for improved soil management and additional food for their animals - and they are constantly reading the latest in cow nutrition research to keep their herd thriving.
The Batemans also feel that giving Utahans an inside look at what dairy farming entails is just as important as their improved facility and practices.
“These are the people purchasing our products, and we want them to know where their milk comes from," Jason Bateman said.
The Batemans use farm tours to show that even at the biggest dairy in the state, focusing on small details makes sustainable differences for the animals, their product and the environment.
“We take pride in this. It’s our passion, our way of life, and we want our dairy to be the best that it can be,” Brad Bateman said.