Starting from Scratch: You need something to be proud of.
Dutch Meadow Dairy LLC & Meadowbrook
St. Johns and Sunfield, Michigan
Consultant : Joe Tarkowski
Key highlights :
- Purchased a farm at 150 cows and has grown it to 2,200
- Focuses on making changes and improvements for future owners of the farm
- Puts trust in his team at the farm and Cargill to run a successful business
“I believe with all of my heart, that you need something to look back on and be proud of,” says first generation dairy farmer Tony Jandernoa. Tony and his wife Patti own Dutch Meadows Dairy, LLC in St. Johns, Mich. and Meadowbrook Dairy in Sunfield, Mich. with a total of 2,200 cows. Tony wasn’t born and raised on a family dairy farm, but you would never think that after hearing the passion in his voice, seeing the success of their business and the knowledge he displays of the dairy industry. Tony grew up working on his neighbor Alphonse Thelen’s farm, and bit by bit purchased cows. By 1994, they had bought the entire dairy and all of the equipment from Alphonse, when it was just 150 cows. Now, the farm, known as Dutch Meadow Dairy, LLC, has grown to 2,200 cows across two locations.
When deciding to build the second dairy, son Kyle and his wife Mackenzie were an integral part of the process. “I want them to look back in 30 years and be able to say, ‘We built that’,” says Tony. With that in mind, they are completing the finishing touches on Meadowbrook, their second dairy 35 miles down the road, where it made the most financial sense to buy land. Tony has worked closely with his Cargill Nutritionist, Joe Tarkowski on decisions of how to successfully expand both his land and his cow numbers, while remaining profitable. “Joe is here every week. We talk about a lot of stuff… 99 percent dairy related,” Tony laughs. “If he disagrees with something, he’ll have a conversation with us. He gets us thinking and challenges us to get better.”
Tony and Joe’s trust in each other, a hardworking team and Tony’s drive to build a business that can be passed down through generations, has gotten the farm to where it is today. “This dairy has already exceeded everything I dreamed possible,” Tony continues, “but now I dream that it’ll reach four generations. Because that’s when you know you’ve beat the odds.”