South Dakota brothers teach public about dairy farming
The aim of two South Dakota brothers is not to have the biggest dairy, but to milk the best cows possible and to shed light on dairy farming for the public. Doug and Greg Ode developed their passion for dairying from the generations that preceded them, giving attention to public outreach. Doug Ode tells Brownfield the risks of spreading covid-19 prevented them from hosting their usual June Month breakfasts this year.
“The number of people that we’re getting every year, the new faces all the time that come out, this might be like the first time that they’ve been on a farm, and literally a dairy farm,” Doug Ode told Brownfield Ag News, “so it’s quite educational for them.”
Greg Ode says he’s satisfied milking 400 cows instead of growing his milking herd to 1,200 or 1,500 head, and is particularly thrilled to raise dairy animals from birth.
“To see a cow milking 30,000 pounds, or 40,000 pounds, and to have cows that score high when you get them classified,” said Greg Ode, “it grows on you.”
The brothers pay greater attention to financial details of their dairy farm, keeping track of breakeven levels so that they can make informed milk marketing decisions. Greg says he follows his son’s advice to keep hitting singles.
“You won’t hit a grand slam or a home run financially,” said Greg Ode, who hopes to one day bring his son into the operation, “but if you can just keep going, and making progress, more power to you.”
The Odes farm near Sioux Falls in southeastern South Dakota.
AUDIO: Doug Ode AUDIO: Greg Ode