Sería un honor presentarles a Katie Dotterer-Pyle (29 años) de Union Bridge, Maryland. Katie y su esposo David (37 años) tienen 400 vacas de las cuales se ordeñan 350. Además, tienen dos gatos de casa bien gorditos que se llaman Mr. Mittens y Bart. Su manada es 95% Jersey pero les quedan unos Holsteins (eventualmente quieren solamente vacas cafés!).
It is my honor to introduce Katie Dotterer-Pyle (age 29) from Union Bridge, MD. Katie and her husband David (age 37) have 400 cows; 350 of which they milk. In addition to the cows, they have 2 fat house cows named Mr. Mittens and Bart. Their conventional herd is 95% Jersey with a few Holsteins left (their goal is to have all brown cows!) Their cows are milked in a double 12 pregnant herringbone parlor. Katie’s cow family is registered and one day hopes to have the entire herd registered. Currently, they have 115 acres of corn and buy feed from a neighboring farm. Milk from the cows at Cow Comfort Inn Dairy is sold to Land O’Lakes. Since they milk Jersey’s, their milk has a higher butter fat content so the milk goes into cheese and butter.
Growing up, Katie was active in 4-H and after high school she attended South Hills School of Business. While there, she earned an associate degree in business management and marketing and just graduated with a second degree: a BS in secondary education, Spanish. In addition to being a full-time dairy farmer, Katie is also teaching Spanish at a high school. In her free time, Katie enjoys playing piano, guitar, singing and writing. Katie’s favorite dairy product is ice cream with cheese not far behind.
Katie’s Story in her own words:
What has been the most rewarding part of farming for you? The most rewarding part of farming has been taking care of the cows; seeing healthy, content cows every day. When I walk through the barn and see our cows lounging and chewing their cud, it makes me smile. It’s also rewarding to see the result of that: high quality milk being shipped to our co-op. I have to give credit to my husband, Super Dave for this. There’s a reason we call him the cow-whisperer and the reason I was never scared to go on our own. What has been the most challenging part of farming for you? The most challenging part besides the volatile milk price, is employees. We do have a great group (6) of employees but I always worry about what would happen if they left. People just don’t want to milk cows anymore. Also, in Maryland (MD) the regulations we are facing are ridiculous.
Who is your favorite cow? My favorite Jersey, Piper passed away last year. She was like my big dog as we went for many walks. She was in our wedding. My next favorite cow would be Martha who is actually a Holstein. She was a gift from my cousin from my family dairy. She’s just…special. She should’ve been sold as a heifer and she knows it! My OTHER favorite cow is a Jersey, Cutie Patootie. She is the sweetest cow on the farm. She comes to me when I call her name. I can’t have just one favorite cow!
What is your greatest achievement thus far? Our greatest achievement thus far is purchasing our own dairy this past year. Our goals consist of expanding our cow numbers, and getting into new ventures like pelletizing manure for heating purposes.
Do you open your farm for tours or agro-tourism opportunities? We give farm tours. Since our farm name is Cow Comfort Inn Dairy, our motto is: Where Cows Enjoy Their Stay. I am currently making our entrance look like a hotel entrance with a front desk and our many “amenities” including: pedicures bi-annually, free continental breakfast, lunch and dinner, etc. At the end of farm tours, I always give out a dairy snack: usually ice cream or cheese. My favorite tour groups are adults. I love answering their questions and showing them all the technology we use; it really surprises them.
Tell me a unique story about your farm. While getting my business degree, I interned at a dairy in southern PA and that is where I met my husband. I actually took his job; he was moved to another sector of the dairy. A year later, I went home to my family dairy farm in central PA. David followed shortly after and I was a herdswoman on my family’s 700 cow dairy along with my husband (herdsman). We got married a year later. Although I love my family very much, I found out that I just couldn’t work with them; there were 3 generations together and made things complicated. Also, ever since I met David, he expressed his dream of going out on his own. (He grew up on a 200 registered Jersey farm in Vermont) So, somehow we gathered up the courage to start our own dairy in 2009 of all years, in Virginia. We started with 90 Holsteins, and then a year later moved to Lewisburg, PA where we entered a partnership and grew our herd to 400. After 4 more years of renting facilities, we felt it was time to finally purchase our own farm. We moved to Union Bridge, MD in October 2013 on our 5th year wedding anniversary.
What is one message you’d like to get across to the general public about what you do? We love our cows! It wouldn’t make sense for farmers to hurt their cows because they are our livelihood.
What do you hope for your kids or future generations on your dairy? Kids aren’t in our future right now. Our goal is when we retire, we would like to help another young farmer start farming.
What advice would you give to anyone interested in getting into farming? A good work-ethic is key, but work smarter, not harder. Embrace technology. Also, there are loans for beginning farmers available; that’s how we got started through FSA. And, if you take care of your cows, they will take care of you.
Stay connected with Katie and the ladies of Cow Comfort Inn Dairy on Facebook.
Thank you Katie for taking time to participate in our “30 Days of Dairy” series. If you enjoyed this post, make sure you subscribe to our blog (no spam, just an email when we post a new blog) so you don’t miss any posts.
Entire “Thirty Days of Dairy” Series:
Sarah & Andy Birch – Derby, VT – the dairy farmers that were my inspiration for the 30 Days of Dairy!
Melissa Collman – Boring, OR – an organic dairy farmer from the West Coast!
Macy Sarbacker – Belleville, WI – a blogger, editor and dairy farmer from American’s Dairyland!
Karen Bohnert – East Moline, IL – a very talented writer, Mom and Jersey lover from my state!
Lisa Myers – Hamstead, MD – one of my best friends that moved back home to run their dairy!
Rebecca Schlehlein – Platteville, WI – a dedicated farm employee that loves her Brown Swiss!
Heather Moore – Maquoketa, IA – Special Events Coordinator turned Dairy Farmer!
Katie Dotterer-Pyle – Union Bridge, MD – Spanish teacher and dairy farmer that makes sure her cows enjoy their stay!
Brent Pollard – Rockford, IL – an innovative dairy farmer who loves to tinker with things.
Krista Stauffer – Washington – a 1st generation dairy farmer and very talented AGvogate for the dairy industry!
Diane Loew – Byron, MI – a writer, blogger and dairy farmer from Michigan!
Nicole Fletcher – Southampton, MA – a Cabot Creamery dairy that milks Holsteins & Jersey’s!
Elinor Opitz – Maple Lake, MN – a young lady just starting her Ayrshire dairy!
Alise Sjostrom – Brooten, MN – one of the readheads behind Redhead Creamery!
Tara McIntosh – Ontario, Canada – our only dairy farmer featured from Canada!
Jenna Kilgus – Fairbury, IL – a Jersey dairy farmer that bottles their own homogenized milk!
Will Gilmer – Sulligent, AL – our only dairy farmer from the “south”!
Gene Zimmerman – Colby, WI – our only dairy goat farmer featured this month!
Darleen Moore-Sichley – Oregon – a Mom, AGvocate and Gurnsey dairy farmer!
Michelle Eilenstine – Mountain Grove, MO – a dairy farmer & University of Missouri grad!
Jenni Tilton-Flood – Clinton, Maine – a Cabot Creamery dairy that milks 3400 Holsteins!
Kalli Ehrhardt – Baldwin, MD – A Mom and dairy farmer!
Craig Swenson – River Fall, WI – a dairy farmer who loves his red & whites!
Katie Harris – Washington – a mom & dairy farmer from Western Washington!
Annaliese Wegner – Ettrick, WI – the Modern-day Farm Chick!
Morgan Kliebenstein – Darlington, WI – a dairy farmer, Genex employee, Mom & wife!
Matt & Joe Engel – Hampshire, IL – the brother behind Luck-E Holsteins!
Stephanie Aves – Popular Grove, IL – a dairy farmer & agriculture teacher!
Beverly Donovan – Benton, Maine – a dairy farmer & accountant!
Sadie Frericks – Melrose, MN – a dedicated AGvocate, dairy farmer, mom & wife!
Greg Schulte – Darlington, WI – the cheesemaker at Brunkow Cheese!
Katie Deslippe – St Mary Ontario – a young lady that loves everything about dairy!
Carrie Mess – Lake Mills, WI – the well-known AGvocate Dairy Carrie!
For a listing of all the 30 Days Bloggers that Holly Spangler rounded up, visit here.