Proudly PA | Keeping the family dairy farming business going strong
HARRISBURG, PA-- There are more than 6,600 dairy farms in Pennsylvania that supply families and businesses with milk all over the nation.
One of those dairy farmers is Kyle Kotzmeyer.
“I start feeding every morning at about 5 a.m. and I finish up around 10 a.m.,” said dairy farmer Kyle Kotzmeyer.
He starts his day feeding 600 jersey cows. Those 600 cows need milked three times a day.
Between feeding the cows and farming 12 acres of crops, it seems Kotzmeyer’s day is never done.
“We mainly put out corn and soybeans but we put out small amounts of wheat and barley too,” said Kotzmeyer.
“On a good day, I might be done by noon, but there are also times that you are here 12 to 14 hours a day, especially during summer and harvest time,” said Kotzmeyer.
Still he considers himself lucky to be putting in a hard day’s work on his family’s farm, especially during a time when Pennsylvania dairy farms have been hit hard by a decline in milk demand.
“My step-brother is the main partner. His dad Fran is the one that got the operation started but before his father farmed as far back as the 1920’s and my grandfather was a pig farmer,” said Kotzmeyer.
“Whether it’s the economy, political and social factors, a lot of farmers and farm families have been forced to get out of the business,” said Kotzmeyer.
These cows mean big business. You may recognize Land O’ Lakes butter and Hershey’s Chocolate well it all started right here from the milk of these jersey cows.
“One of the benefits of the market we’ve been able to sustain is that the jersey cows have a milk that is higher in butter fat and high in protein so that thicker, creamier milk suits itself well to cheese, yogurt and butter,” said Kotzmeyer.
Kotzmeyer is hoping their jersey cows thicker creamier milk sustains their business for years to come so this farm continues to be a family affair.
“My two-year-old daughter loves to come down and feed the cows by hand and make sure they are eating like her daddy tells them to every morning she says,” said Kotzmeyer.