At the beginning of September, Dairy One employees from our laboratories and Ithaca office visited Sunnyside Farms in Scipio Center, NY to see Dairy One services in action. Sunnyside is a customer of Dairy One on many levels, using our cameras, networks, software support, and DHI testing services. They are also a customer of our friends at Agricultural Consulting Services (ACS). Sunnyside milks its 4,500 cows with a rotary parlor they installed within the last few years to accommodate their growing business.
While many Dairy One employees come from a dairy background, for others this may have been the first time they had the chance to visit a farm, especially one of this size. Not only was this a great opportunity to connect with a Dairy One customer, but it was also a chance for Dairy One employees to see how the work we do every day fits into the farm.
The largest portion of the Dairy One group that came on the tour was from our Dairy One Milk Laboratory. This is the group of people who works to process and analyze producer payment and DHIA milk samples. It was even more beneficial for them to be able to take some time to attend this trip as our Dairy Records Service Specialists were on the farm for test day that day. Lab technicians were able to see how the hundreds of thousands of samples that they process make their way from the cow into all of those little samples vials. They were also able to interact with the Dairy Record Service Specialists, colleagues who they have likely never met but whose work significantly impacts their own.
In addition to being able to see how Dairy One services work in action, Marianne (who wears many hats at Sunnyside, one of which is fantastic tour guide) was available to answer any and every question ranging from calf care to employee engagement. Lab technicians were able to better understand how the lab services and information we provide such as milk pregnancy testing, MUN analysis, SCC, and linear scores are used, or not used, effectively on the farm. They had the chance to ask questions of both Marianne and Neil, one of Sunnyside’s owners, such as why they choose to use the services they do, why they’ve chosen not to use others, and how Dairy One brings value to their farm.
Visiting a customer’s farm has been something Dairy One arranges and encourages employees to take advantage of each year. It’s important to remember that Dairy One is a cooperative. It is owned by its members, which in this case is the farms. It is because of the farms like Sunnyside who use our DHIA services, have chosen Dairy One for their networking and technology needs, and who rely on our labs for the critical data they use to manage their business, that we have jobs to do each day. It is because of these farms that it is so important that we do our jobs with as much passion and precision as it takes to manage their herds.