Daley Farm of Lewiston is hoping to buck the trend when it comes to the Dairy industry.
Instead of downsizing in a reaction to declining prices; the 6th generation family farm says it needs to expand to remain viable for future generations.
The Winona County farm wants to double its herd size. Although these plans were just released Monday, the idea has been in the works for three years.
"It’s sad. I have friends who are either thinking about it or have already exited. It’s a tough situation," part owner and 5th generation of Daley Farms Ben Daley said.
While The National Family Farm Coalition says half the people in the American dairy industry left the business in the past 16 years; Daley Farm of Lewiston is doubling down.
"We’re proposing to expand to go from around 1500 cows to 3000 cows," Daley said. "We’re trying to bring in another generation of family, and also to capitalize on some of the new technology that’s come out. And some of the infrastructure here is 20 years old."
The farm plans to build a new bigger barn for the increased herd, as well as a new milking parlor. The hefty proposal is still in the beginning stages.
"Neighbors and people from the town of Lewiston, Altura, Utica – have been really, really positive from what they are seeing and what they know of us," Daley said.
The idea is currently in the environmental review process which is conducted by the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency.
The Daleys want to hear from anyone who’s concerned.
"If they have worries, they should come out and visit – any farm for that matter – and look at the practices the farm is doing," Daley said. "Its not about the size of the farm but the practices of the farm."
Comments can be made to the MPCA starting October 1st.
"We’re trying to do everything as best as we can. Bring this new technology on to the farm will help the people, the environment and just bring everything together to make it work," Daley said.
The project also means a new alfalfa field – which will grow animal feed and prevent erosion.
On top of that, the renovation project will make Daley Farm more energy efficient.
"We love it. Our family loves it," Daley said. "It’s important to us that way."