By: Kelsea Forward
Started in 1993 in Gustine, Texas, with just 50 cows, Volleman’s Family Farm now has 5,000 dairy cows, its own unique milk brand and 14 different milk products.
Volleman brothers Ben, Daniel, Andrew and David recently sat down with American Farm Bureau Federation President Zippy Duvall to discuss their dairy farm and how they bridge the gap between dairy farmers and dairy consumers.
“My parents always had a dream of getting closer to the consumers,” Andrew Volleman said. “We know we make great milk and we wanted to get it in the hands of our consumers, so we’ve had that vision for a long time.”
The Volleman family takes pride in connecting to their consumers and offering a firsthand look at the dairy industry.
One way the Vollemans connect with their consumers is by offering dairy tours once a month. A visit to the family farm is a great way for consumers to learn more about where their products come from and how they get to the grocery store.
Some visitors may be concerned to find out that the cows spend most of their time inside the barn.
David Volleman explained, “A cow starts getting heat stressed at about 68 degrees Fahrenheit. We haven’t dropped below that in months.” He went on to describe how staying inside the barn for the warmer parts of the year helps the cows stay cool, comfortable and healthy. Urban consumers may only have the chance to learn about this if they take a trip put to the farm to learn from the producers.
President Duvall discussed the challenges of dairy farming with the Volleman brothers. They mentioned water, labor, regulations, supply chain issues and heat stress as significant hurdles to the success of their business.
President Duvall commended the Volleman brothers on their ability to overcome these challenges and maintain their family legacy. He hopes that hearing the Vollemans’ story will help consumers understand that just because a farm is large, doesn’t mean it’s a factory.
“It can be large, and it can be personable, and it can be a family out there running it,” he said.
Each of the four Volleman brothers has gone to college and returned to the family farm. They are proud to carry out their parents’ vision and deliver products directly to consumers.
Learn more about Volleman’s Family Farm.
Kelsea Forward is the Communications assistant at AFBF.