SPOTLIGHT ON DAIRY HERO Jason Volker, Maynard, Iowa
Over three 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. Even with the economic downturn, Jason’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 EX92 Goldwyn cow with over 45,000 lbs. of milk. Earlier this year, his “show star,” Cowtown Dundee Olive-ET EX(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 Senior 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 his for a number of years, and last year, his 94 point cow was Supreme Grand Champion at a local show. Jason contacted AlphaGenetics, Inc. owner, 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 of them 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. You could almost see him smile as he reported, “Low SCC just makes life so much easier.” And he deserves it. We’re pleased to include Jason Volker as a Dairy Hero and trust he’ll 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!