Over five and a half years ago, a young man in his 30’s bought 150 milking cows from a neighboring veteran farmer and went to work doing something most young people would avoid – dairy farming. Yet even with the economic downturn, Jason Volker’s attitude remained resolute and determined: “I believe that hard times make a person a better dairyman because you have to make adjustments.” Jason knows about hard times, losing his dairy-farming father, Delbert, to a tragic electrical accident several years ago.

That attitude, a lot of hard work, wise herdsmanship, and investing in a number of high-profile registered Holsteins is beginning to pay off. He recently sold several picks of flushes from his EX93 Goldwyn (which Jason purchased as a calf) now with over 45,000 lbs. of milk. In 2011, his “show star,” Cowtown Dundee Olive-ET (Regancrest Dundee-ET), was All- Hawkeye 4-Year-Old in milk, then went on to the Midwest Fall National Holstein Show in October and placed 2nd in the 4-Year-Old in milk class against 16 other Midwest cows. She was also named Reserve Sr. Champion Female, but is no “pampered queen” as she is going to finish with over 35,000 pounds of milk. The show ring has been a fancy of Jason’s for a number of years, and in 2010, his 94 point Durham was Supreme Grand Champion at a local show.

Jason contacted AlphaGenetics, Inc. president, Michael Sokolowski, in March, 2010, needing to bring his SCC (around 300) under control. By that fall, he was so pleased with their Udder Program products that he decided to become a distributor to other dairies in Iowa. In less than a year, his SCC was below 100, and now his cows have exceeded his short-term goal of 27,000 pounds average, currently making 96 pounds milk per cow per day. You could almost see him smile as he reported, “Low SCC just makes life so much easier.” We’re pleased to include Jason Volker as a Dairy Hero and confident he will have a great future in the dairy industry as he plays a key role in Iowa’s national milk production status in the years ahead. Keep it up, Jason!

Editor’s Note: Jason was selected Iowa Younger Dairyman of the Year 2011.