by Steve Judge, President & CEO, Bob-White Systems
I founded Bob-White Systems (BWS) in 2006 with a small group of business associates who believed then, and still believe now, that safe and delicious farm fresh milk should be, and can be, locally produced on small-scale sustainable dairy farms.
In 2006, the term “micro dairy “ was new and what Bob-White Systems set out to do was met with great skepticism by just about everyone. But we were determined to “Bring the Cows Back Home” and demonstrate that producing milk locally for your community was doable and practical. Milk does not need to be produced on huge industrial dairy farms and trucked from state to state in tanker trucks rumbling down highways and byways. (Click here to read Steve's series of articles about starting a micro dairy.)
In the fall of 2006, we broke ground for the new Bob-White Systems micro-dairy in Royalton, Vermont. I designed the small four-cow tie barn that includes a good-sized milk processing room. The design maximized efficiencies of space and labor. At the time, I had a small construction company and we built the barn in record time. We were able to get the cows moved in early in December of 2006. We beat the snow.
Over the past ten years, the BWS micro-dairy has been in continuous use. Our staff has researched, used, and experimented with several new pieces of equipment specifically designed for small dairies. We have also experimented with new management practices developed specifically for micro dairies. The goal was to be able to milk four cows in a half an hour; morning and night and that goal was achieved. (Watch our popular "Morning Chores" video above.) Managing a micro dairy is very different than managing a large dairy where most chores are done by machines. On a micro dairy, most chores are done by hand.
Every Bob-White Systems’ customer can feel confident knowing that the Bob-White Systems staff members are familiar with virtually every piece of equipment we sell. We are farmers first and salespeople second. Not only do we know the equipment we sell, we also know what it is like to manage a dairy farm day in and day out. Back in the 1990's, I owned a 250 head dairy farm here in Vermont where my wife Wendy and I, along with our children, milked our herd of Jerseys for nearly ten years. In fact, during my lifetime, I have owned, leased or managed over six dairy farms of various sizes.
Today I remain convinced that operating a small dairy and producing safe and delicious farm fresh milk for one's local community is the most viable economic model for successful, sustainable and humane dairy production. That’s what we do every day at the Bob-White Systems micro-dairy.