Farm Horizons, February 2000

Dairy industry still a choice for one farmer

By Andrea Vargo

Confident that the dairy industry can still make a living for a single person, Matt DeLare of Cokato is building a new dairy barn.

With the help of relatives and friends, DeLare is doing a large portion of the work himself.

Cost is a factor, as with any building project, and he is saving money on everything he can in order to provide as much cow comfort as possible.

Cow comfort translates into higher milk production, said DeLare.

His free stall area has fine sand under straw for bedding.

DeLare said he feels the sand is softer and more comfortable for the cows.

If that does not prove to be true, he said he can always pour concrete and invest in rubber mats.

Local welder Ed Eastling made all DeLare's free stalls, and another friend, Jason Nelson of J-Co. in Kimball, is doing the plumbing.

A large off-peak water heater from Wright-Hennepin Electric Co-op takes care of his water needs.

DeLare said he will milk eight cows at a time from his milking pit, and can move them into the milking stalls with a butterfly gate that closes behind each cow, sending the next cow in line into her own stall.

When milking is complete, a bar in front of the cows will lift up to release them, he said.

He is making use of the winter season to build the barn, and hopes to have it ready in a few weeks.

DeLare's cows will be on pasture and will not be confined, except in severe weather, he said.

After traveling to a rented barn to milk for four years, DeLare decided he wanted his own facility.

DeLare will have the possible opportunity to purchase a relative's farm, sometime in the future, he said.

Single and 27, he said he needed to make a decision. Did he want to work for someone else or for himself?

He felt the time had come to make the commitment to the dairy cows, given the opportunities that are available to him.

"I love the dairy cows, and I like the lifestyle," he said.

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