Dreier Dairy, Larry & Debbie Dreier of Norwood Young America, MN, and Skyview Dairy, the Luthens family of Hutchinson, MN were awarded the 2017 Form-A-Feed Outstanding Dairyman of the Year Award at the Form-A-Feed Professional Dairy Conference at Treasure Island Resort and Casino in Welch, MN on January 18th, 2018.
This is the 8th year Form-A-Feed has awarded an Outstanding Dairyman of the Year Award at their annual Dairy Conference. To qualify for this award, a Form-A-Feed representative must nominate a recipient for their commitment and involvement in the dairy industry, community and country. This year, two dairies stood out to be very deserving of the Outstanding Dairyman of the Year Award.
The Dreier family, currently milking 300 cows, have many fond memories of raising their family on the farm. They are an active 4-H family, and are actively involved promoting the dairy industry. Larry has served on the ADA board, and Debbie is active with the Carver County Dairy Princess program and has been a 4-H leader for over 12 years. The family has also hosted WCCO Breakfast on the Farm, Carver Twilight Meetings, and several school groups to their farm for tours. In the community, the Dreier’s volunteer countless hours as leaders in their church.
The Dreier’s have had to overcome some major setbacks before getting to where they are now. In 2009, the farm’s production, cow health, and breeding was on the decline. The herd was milking three times a day at about a 24,000-lb. rolling herd average at peak, but production had fallen to around 20,000 lbs. The farm team decided to have the farm checked for stray voltage, and discovered problems both on and off the farm. After a stressful period and a lot of money, the problem was solved and the herd is currently at 28,000 lb. rolling herd average. However, prior to fixing the voltage problem, the Dreier’s only son, Dereck was diagnosed with melanoma. He went through treatments, went into remission, and attained his dream job of taking care of animals at a Disney-owned zoo in Texas. In 2016, the cancer returned and Dereck had to come back home. Sadly, Dereck passed away this past June at the age of 28.
Rich Schug of United Farmer’s Co-op is Dreier Dairy’s nutritionist, and has worked with Larry, Debbie, and the Dreier family for over 17 years through the ups and downs of the dairy business. “I believe the Dreier family deserves the Outstanding Dairyman Award due to their ability to show faith and persistency in the dairy business,” said Rich.
Skyview Dairy is a family owned and operated dairy currently managed by the Luthens family – Daryl and his four sons: Shane, Brandon, Justin, and Garrett. Recent improvements to the dairy include a new and renovated dry cow, transition, and pregnant heifer housing barn, as well as freestall additions, which now house 1,500 milking cows today.
Garrett Luthens manages the day-to-day operations at Skyview Dairy. His goal for the dairy is “to provide a great quality product, produced in a cost-effective manner.” Garrett serves the dairy industry as District 7 representative of the Minnesota Milk Producer’s Association Board of Directors, as well as on three local civic boards including: Hassan Valley Township and the City of Hutchinson Joint Planning Board. Most recently he began volunteering for the local Boys Scouts Troop. Garrett’s wife Melissa is currently the Hutchinson Girl Scouts Troop Leader, as well as a member of the Hutchinson Area Chamber of Commerce Agribusiness Committee, taking an active role in promoting Hutchinson Dairy Days and the “Farm Fatigue Buckets” initiative, providing food and safety supplies throughout McLeod County during harvest.
“I nominated Skyview Dairy not only for their positive growth and determination to grow their business but also, more importantly, for their commitment to advancing strong positive public relations between the dairy industry and their local municipalities,” explained Dan Kohls of Form-A-Feed, Skyview Dairy’s nutritionist. “The Luthens family has been an active promoter of all things dairy and agriculture. They care deeply about the relationship of local agriculture and it’s positive economic and social impacts on the communities they touch.”