Minten Organic Dairy Farms - Ted and Mary Lou Minten
New visitors to Ted and Mary Lou Minten’s farm are often shown a large family portrait and introduced to their 10 children. Family is paramount for the Mintens, and they appreciate the help they get from their children as they are able.
Ted and Mary Lou purchased the original farm from Ted's mom in 1984. They were drawn to organic farming because they had only rarely used antibiotics in their dairy herd, and never felt comfortable using chemicals on their farm. The whole Minten family was involved in the decision to transition to organic farming.
The Mintens milk 68 Holstein cows. Ted finds that growing a variety of crops makes for an effective crop rotation, and feed for the dairy herd is entirely home-grown. “I firmly believe that healthy soil is necessary for nutritious and healthy crops, which in turn is necessary for healthy animals and healthy people,” he says.
Ted and Mary Lou believe that regular health check-ups are an important part of managing cows without antibiotics and hormones. They use homeopathic medicines when necessary, and have had success with probiotics, feeding kelp and diatomaceous earth.
The first field on the Minten’s farm was certified organic in 1998, followed by the dairy herd in 2002. “We feel that we’re damaging the environment less now, so it’s a better place to raise a family,” says Mary Lou.
Here are the cows heading out to pasture for the first time in the spring of 2010. They really do get excited!
This video shows the heifers (young cows who aren't milking yet) heading out of the barn. They have their tails in the air and are happy to be outside on pasture.
Here's a video of the cows running in the new pasture. Cows like to circle around to find out where the fence is before they start eating to know where their boundaries are.
Here is a video that show's Ted Minten plowing down a field of sweet clover which helps to increase the nitrogen content of the soil and buld a healthier soil.