Local Dairy Producers Rely on Smart Farm Milking Robots and Broadband Service to Fulfill Family Dream

May 13, 2020

Jamie and Tony Goodrich are fulfilling their dream of raising a family on a dairy farm. Advancements in smart farm technology and reliable high-speed internet contribute to turning their vision into reality, meanwhile improving the quality of life for dairy producers. Jamie and her husband, Tony, have invested in artificial intelligence and robotics to give their operation a chance of surviving during tumultuous times.

Jamie and Tony, with Jeff West, own a thriving dairy operation in rural Clayton County, Iowa. A few years ago, the trio installed three milking robots for their herd of 150 cows. Additionally, the couple raises 8-month heifers at their home place and then move them to the dairy farm for breeding at 13 months.

As a smart farm, innovative technology is the lifeblood of their operation. “All of the robots are run over the internet,” said Jamie. “The cows have responders on their collars that track rumination minutes and the animal’s activity. A slow-down indicates they are sick. Conductivity sensors on the milkers can detect mastitis,” explained Goodrich. These early indicators enable them to proactively treat their herd’s health, improve the composition and quality of the milk, and increase profitability for their operation.

In addition to robotic milkers, the Goodrichs have implemented internet-connected, automated calf feeders, which eliminates the filling and lifting of heavy buckets while optimizing hygiene. “We have apps on our smartphones that monitors our feeders and calves. If the drinking speed for a calf slows down or the calf is not coming into the feeders as often as it was before, the feeder alerts our smartphone about the condition of the calf,” described Jamie.

Jamie shared how technology has changed the way they manage their operation. She explains, “Robotic milking gives us much more information on our herd. We now have data on our cows about nutrition, rumination minutes, breeding, and overall herd health. With having kids, the robots free up our time. We can be flexible with our hours because we don’t have to be at the dairy at the same time every day, which improves our quality of life.”

Reliable internet access gives Jamie the flexibility to work from home and be a mom, too. “I connect to the computer at the dairy over the internet using TeamViewer to input data from home. Now I don’t have to wake the kids up at 3:30 AM to go to the farm,” explained Jamie.

Establishing strategic partnerships with responsive providers gives the producers peace-of-mind when they experience technical difficulties. “We have a generator for power. When we have computer issues, our technician can be on the farm quickly,” she said. “If one part of the network is down, the robots will keep milking, but it doesn’t track the data, and then the cows will get off on their production.”

“Over the years, when we’ve had trouble, Alpine has been right out here like boom! There are other ISPs, but they are not going to respond as soon as Alpine can,” explained Jamie. Responsiveness and reliability are key reasons why the Goodrichs choose Alpine Communications is their local broadband and telephone service provider.

Dairy farming is more than a job. It’s a way of life, a vocation. Jamie described why she loves the dairy industry, “The cows; I’ve always been an animal person. When I go away for the weekend, and I return, the girls are happy and in my face! I love raising the calves, knowing we are raising them to be our milk cows that are making money.”

Jamie is a fourth-generation dairy farmer and hopes her children will carry on the family tradition. “I want my kids to farm. My son is all farm, all of the time. My daughter has two show calves, and she loves them.”

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