Dairy One’s heritage goes back to the late 1940’s as farmers banded together to provide dairy herd improvement services to farms in New York State through NY Dairy Herd Improvement Cooperative (NYDHIC). This federated service cooperative was organized to serve its members while providing benefits to the greater dairy industry. The initial focus was measuring milk and butterfat production from dairy cattle so that farmers could better manage feeding and breeding strategies to improve farm profitability.
Through the subsequent decades of the 1950’s, 60’s, and 70’s NYDHIC grew, working closely with Cornell University and the Cooperative Extension system offering milk testing and records services to farmers. In those early days it was common for a NYDHIC supervisor to stay at the farm. Records were updated by hand and milk was tested using a Babcock machine. The Babcock centrifuge allowed for complete butterfat separation and was used for tracking butterfat results for each milking cow.
In the early 1970’s the farmer leaders of NYDHIC had the foresight to recognize the need for laboratory services for analyzing feeds fed to dairy cattle and the NYDHIC forage lab was born. It quickly gained industry respect and has been growing ever since.
As technology and business operations advanced, NYDHIC expanded its territory through aligning interests with similar organizations in neighboring northeast states and, in the 1980’s changed the name to Northeast DHIA.
Milk analysis moved from labor-intensive work performed at the farm to centralized laboratories using “high speed” milk analyzers. Initial focus was on butterfat and protein and later expanded to include somatic cell count (SCC) and milk urea nitrogen (MUN). Today the convenient DHIA milk sample can be used for the above analysis and much more.
With the advent of computers and the increasing amount of data being generated for farmers’ use, records processing of cattle production data was one of the first uses of university-based computers. Raw production data was turned into useful information for farmers to monitor and make changes for their dairy herds and individual animals. Through the years as computers and analysis tools have evolved, Dairy One has played a pivotal role bringing technology to farms.
Dairy One is Formed
In the late 1990’s Northeast DHIA was searching for a partner with whom to move toward the future. At the same time Dairylea Cooperative of Syracuse, New York was developing a variety of farm management services and considering farm production information. The two organizations realized that there was great merit in forming an alliance and working together for the benefit of farmers. Dairy One was formed on January 1, 1997 as a partnership between Northeast DHIA and Dairylea with a vision of helping farmers succeed. In subsequent years the original cooperative business structure of Northeast DHIA has been used to conduct Dairy One operations.
Today, Dairy One continues as a farmer-owned cooperative and is closely aligned with Dairy Farmers of America.
Dairy One operations and services have expanded to include an array of products and services to help farmers measure all aspects of farm production. The use of technology to organize and distill important information is central to all that Dairy One does.