Dairy farmers work every day to ensure their cows receive the highest quality care. On any given day, they might find themselves holding any number of responsibilities. Fixing a broken manure pump, chopping corn silage, treating a sick cow; you name it, they’ve done it.
Yet, there are those select few who not only excel at running their farms but actively engage their local communities. They serve as leaders for multiple organizations and work hard to promote dairy daily. These champions showcase dairy and all the great work done to provide customers with the milk and dairy products they love.
The Dairy Business Association honored Tom Crave of Crave Brothers Farm tonight with the association’s Advocate of the Year award for his role in shaping Wisconsin’s dairy community. The award was presented during DBA’s Dairy Strong conference at the KI Convention Center.
The Crave family farm in Waterloo, Wis., is home to 2,100 milking cows, 1,400 heifers and more than 2,500 acres of cropland.
“I’m very honored. This means quite a bit to me considering that it comes from my peers and a very worthwhile organization,” Crave said. “I appreciate everything DBA does for the dairy industry and I am proud to be part of it and to be part of the voice of dairy farmers in Wisconsin.”
Crave firmly believes in implementing sustainability practices and technologies on the farm, including reducing tillage and crop rotations. In 2006, the Craves added a manure digester that has provided power for more than 300 area homes and reduced methane emissions.
In addition to the family’s farm, the brothers launched a farmstead cheese operation in 2001, which produces several award-winning cheese varieties.
“Tom’s leadership for Wisconsin dairy and our farmers cannot be overstated,” Tim Trotter, DBA’s chief executive officer, said. “Tom has testified before countless committees, hearings and other meetings with lawmakers and thought leaders. I cannot think of another figure more deserving of this award than him.”
Crave was also integral in building a coalition known today as the Clean Water Initiative, a partnership between DBA, Clean Wisconsin, The Nature Conservancy and the Wisconsin Land and Water Conservation Association. It was Crave who opened up his farm to these groups to showcase the proactive conservation efforts happening every day on Wisconsin dairy farms.
“(Tom) believed that for dairy to truly move forward in Wisconsin, we needed to work alongside these groups to find common ground,” Noah Litherland of Vita Plus, who presented the award, said. “After all, we all want the same thing at the end of the day: a healthy environment and thriving farms.”
More than 450 farmers representing over 280,000 cows, along with allied professionals, attended Dairy Strong. The two-day conference features presentations from leaders in dairy policy, farm management and sustainability.