|Dairies come in all sizes in Wood County|
|Written by BILL RYAN Sentinel Farm Editor|
|Monday, 08 July 2013 09:19|
PEMBERVILLE - The Ro-Jo Dairy, operated by Dan and Shelli Morlock and family, is one of three smaller family operations in Wood County. In addition to their rural Pemberville operation, there is another nearby dairy operated by the father-son duo, Jack and Mick Miller family near Bradner, and the third is south of West Millgrove operated by the Cline Brothers, Mark and Phillip.
There are also three larger dairy operations in the county currently. MSB Dairy Farms, also known as Carlyle Dairy on Bloomdale Road in Wayne and Reyskens Dairy on Cygnet Road in Custar are permitted dairies by the Ohio Department of Agriculture. There is also the Naomi Dairy, which operates under the 700 head limit of cows which requires a permit. It is located on Jerry City Road near the village of Jerry City.
The first "mega dairy" in Wood County, Manders Dairy near Weston, filed for bankruptcy. The farm is now being used for other operations.
The Morlocks have roughly 100 head and milk about 40 cows daily. The two largest dairies are permitted for 2,000 or more head.
The Morlocks do not really see the larger dairies in a totally negative way.
"I'm not really against them," Dan said.
Despite noting the larger operations may have hurt the smaller farms in some ways, they also note some advantages. The couple cited the advantages the larger operations may have in being able to buy in greater quantities or getting a somewhat better price because the larger dairy may fill one or more semis daily.
However, as a smaller operation, for example when the prices went south in 2009, they were able to manage the details of the farm closely and despite suffering prices for the milk below their cost, managed to maintain their operation.
"The smaller farm can make cuts here and there," Shelli said.
"You have to have bigger farms, and you have to have smaller farms where you are in the barn," Dan added.
He noted that Wood County probably currently has less or at least similar numbers of milking cows now than it did a generation ago when virtually every farmer had their own cows for their use.
Shelli noted that there are some misconceptions floated around about the mega dairies.
Despite not being put out to pasture, she said, "The larger dairies do make sure their cows are comfortable."
She said they don't mistreat them as the cows will not produce milk if they are not content.
She also noted at their farm, they also de-horn the cows at a young age for safety.
"Cows are head dominant animals, they like to use their heads to butt," noting that could cause damage to property and other cows.
As for docking tails, Shelli said though they do not routinely dock the tails, when it is done, it is done for sanitation, cleanliness and safety. Long tails can be stepped on by another cow and the cows in the large barns don't need to swat flies due to the treatment for pests at the larger operations.
Ohio Dairy Producers Association: www.ohiodairyproducers.org/
Ohio Dairy Farmers: www.ohiodairyfarmers.com/
American Dairy Association: www.drink-milk.com/
National Dairy Council: www.nationaldairycouncil.org/
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