Genesee County dairy farm receives national accolades
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"It's really more like a farm-wide award,” said Jonathan Lamb.
They are quick to deflect the praise.
"I said when I was given the award, when we were given the award: everything we knew, we learned from somebody else.”
Jonathan and Alicia Lamb of Oakfield are the Holstein USA Association's Best Young Dairy Breeders in the country.
"When we breed two animals together, you know, we can have an idea of what's going to happen. But there's still a lot of unknowns in genetics,” Jonathan said.
The Lambs have been good at eliminating those unknowns, among their nearly 6,000 cow herd. From the show cows...
"You don't want the muscle-y type like beef cows, you want them to be feminine and angular,” said Alicia.
To the milkers...
"The animals in commercial production don't tend to be as large as they are in the show ring,” Jonathan said.
Lamb Farms has shown that a well-bred herd leads to great success.
"We call it internal herd growth. So if we can keep the cattle healthy, and we can keep their offspring healthy, that grows exponentially,” Jonathan said.
So too, grows the dairy industry in Western New York. Lamb Farms is one of several mega-dairies in Orleans, Genesee and Wyoming Counties, which together have built a solid reputation nationwide. That reputation helped convince two large food processors to build yogurt plants in Batavia.
But not every dairy farm in the tri-county area is such a big dairy farm like Lambs'. And with two large-scale yogurt manufacturers moving in nearby, some are wondering how those small dairies will partner with the big dairies, to produce enough milk.
Speaking from experience on the national Holstein Association's Board of Directors, Jonathan Lamb believes most of the time, there will be enough milk.
"One thing about milk production, though, is that it ebbs and flows. Sometimes we actually have more milk than we need, and then at times we'll be short on milk. So I'm sure there's going to be times we'll be short on milk and they might have to ship milk in from other areas."
Which still doesn't hurt the local economy.
"It's very encouraging that firms are putting up a lot of money and investment in our area. That investment's going to be long term."
Ensuring the long-term future of local dairy.