Dairy Farmers of America’s (DFA) Members of Distinction program honors members who embody the Cooperative’s core values and excel on their operations, in their communities and in the industry. Each year, one member farm from each of DFA’s seven regional Areas is honored.
Because we held virtual Annual Meetings in 2020 and 2021, we are honoring our 2020 and 2021 Members of Distinction farm families at this year’s in-person meeting. More details about the 2020 Members of Distinction honorees can be found here. Our 2021 Members of Distinction honorees are:
The Haase family, DaBru Dairy — Parker, S.D.
A sense of continuous improvement and community runs through the Haase family farm as thirdgeneration dairy farmers and brothers Bruce and Dustin and their families continue their legacy of dairy. Milking 600 Holstein cows and farming 7,000 acres, the Haases are invested deeply in the genetics of their herd with a focus on genomics and implanting embryos almost daily. From hosting
farm tours to showing Holsteins at World Dairy Expo, the Haase family strives to continue feeding the world while telling a story of animal care and milk quality.
The Haines family, Haines Farms — Stockport, Ohio
Located in the small community of Stockport, Ohio, the farmland that Haines Farms sits on traces its roots back to the early 1900s, and the dairy itself got its start in 1959. Today, the farm is run by brothers Jim and Richard, and Jim’s son, Gary Haines, who will be the fourth generation interested in continuing the tradition. With 140 Holsteins on 700 acres, the brothers ensure they are producing the highest-quality milk and are conscientious of routine expectations, consulting regularly with their vet and nutritionist.
The Koolstra family, Daisy Lane Dairy — Cope, Colo.
Wilbert and Marie Koolstra started their family’s dairy with just one cow given to Wilbert by a farmer who couldn’t pay him any other way. Wilbert and Marie continued to grow the operation to 250 cows. When Wilbert developed a degenerative eye disease, his son, Dennis, took over, and now he and his
wife, Jennifer, have grown the farm to over 3,200 cows. They opened a church and nonprofit organization on the dairy to assist their surrounding rural community with legal work, child care, education, counseling and more. The Koolstras are passionate dairy farmers and take every opportunity to advocate for the dairy industry and improvement in their community.
The Smiley family, Russell Smiley Dairy Farm — Middletown, N.Y.
The Smileys’ dairy farm has been a part of a cooperative community for more than 60 years — first as members of Dairylea Cooperative and now DFA, after Dairylea merged with DFA in 2013. While the herd size, barn and fields are the same today as they were when his parents bought the farm in 1959, Russell Smiley, his sister, Edith, and nephew, Lee, are continuously improving their farm operations and technology. With a longstanding tradition of milk quality and stewardship for their animals and land, the Smiley family are pillars of their community, hosting meetings, judging competitions and educating youth about the goodness of dairy.
The Chapman family, Chapman Jersey Farm LLC — Taylorsville, N.C.
Brothers Daniel and Gary Chapman are continuing the legacy started by their father, Bill, by running the dairy he founded in 1967. Today, the brothers run a diversified operation with beef cows, poultry houses and row crops in addition to dairy, and are strong advocates for agriculture. The house and farm in North Carolina have been in the family for four generations, built by Bill’s great-grandfather. Despite Bill telling his sons to pursue other career options after attending college, both Daniel and Gary wanted nothing else but to return to the dairy. The farm is run mostly by the family with few outside employees.
The Collier family, T&K Dairy — Snyder, Texas
As a third-generation farmer, Will Collier, and his wife, Lauren, have been DFA members since 1998. Since 2008, Will and Lauren have grown their farm from 60 to 3,300 cows and invested in various technology to improve production and labor efficiency on the farm. They understand that in order to thrive and create an enduring legacy, they need to evolve with the dairy industry. In 2016, they implemented rumination collars to manage their herd, which led them to installing a robotic barn, with hopes to double its size in the future. Lauren and Will have three children, with their oldest going off to college soon.
The Carvalho family, Carvalho Dairy Farms — Crows Landing, Calif.
After immigrating from Portugal, Michael Carvalho’s grandparents, Augustino and Joe, bought land they could afford and started dairying in Crows Landing, Calif. Today, alongside his parents, Michael and his family carry on the legacy with 650 Holsteins. They stay true to their cultural roots by staying active in the community and keeping family traditions alive, while ensuring the future of their farm by investing in their land by double cropping and ensuring the health of the soil that their grandparents first bought.