To all our milk drinking, yogurt consuming, dairy loving blog readers out there, did you get a chance to watch our WFCF Storybit video on McCarty Family Farms yet? If not, don’t worry! Today, we’ve got their story here for you and if you didn’t catch the video you can check it out here for yourself. We are excited to have the opportunity to share their story on today’s blog. While Tom and Judy McCarty never thought their farming operation would get as big as it is, they always lived by the idea that, “You can’t be complacent” and they never have. It’s time to hear their story and how not being complacent has helped the McCarty’s grow their dairy farm.
Tom’s family story dates back all the way to 1914 in Northeastern Pennsylvania with his great grandfather milking eight cows in a small barn without any electricity. It’s a little hard to imagine not having any electricity in this day and age. That farm has passed from generation to generation beginning with Tom’s grandfather and on down to his mom and dad and then to him. But, Tom and Judy began to see a change. The population was growing and logistics were making it difficult to be dairy farmers. They knew if they were going to stay in the dairy industry they had to make a change. So, in 1999, visiting many cities in many states, Tom and Judy moved their family to Rexford, KS., a place they saw the most potential for sustainability, a place they believed they could operate until their sons, if they chose, could take over, which they did.
Since then McCarty Family Farms has grown to five farms – three in Kansas, one in Nebraska and the most recent addition in Ohio. This 4th generation farming family team encompasses over 200 members across all of their locations. This requires a lot of coordination, which is why the McCarty brothers divide the responsibilities of running the farms. They each have a different role to ensure every aspect of the business was cared for. Ken McCarty, one of Tom’s sons, it responsible for managing animal welfare, third-party verifications, sustainability efforts, public relations and data flow. Being a true dairy farmer at heart his favorite role at work is simply walking pens and spending time with their cows. The entire team at McCarty Family Farms receives special training in animal care, handling, and nutrition to ensure that every animal receives the proper care and respect.
All of the milk that their cows produce turns into a yogurt brand that I am sure you are familiar with. In fact, you’ve probably seen it in almost all of your local grocery stores – does Dannon Yogurt ring a bell? McCarty Family Farms has been in a direct supply relationship with Dannon since 2012. Before it heads out to The Dannon Company to be made into yogurt, it goes to their state-of-the-art processing plant. What’s so special about it? Well, the McCarty family has a commitment to not only the animals, but the people and land. With that in mind they built a one of a kind processing plant that allows them to remove water from milk and reuse it for other purposes. How amazing is that? In a day and age where many companies are talking about sustainability, the McCarty’s are living it! They also use solar activated lighting and other renewable sources like wind power. Tracking feed, equipment uses, and utilizing manure for fertilization has allowed them to diminish their waste. Let’s just say they are a team of multiple families with one mission. They are creating wholesome dairy products with the future in mind.
McCarty Family Farms is CARE Certified under the DairyCARE Standard, a program that Validus, a div. of WFCF, audits to. This certification has three pillars – animal welfare, environmental and worker care. McCarty also takes party in many other third-party verification programs – Non-GMO Project, Safe Quality Food (SQF) and the Validus Traced and Controlled Plant audit at their plant. Their goal is to push their farms to the highest levels possible in terms of performance, accountability, and transparency. They believe that the verification programs offered through WFCF and Validus gives their customers – and consumers – confidence in their products.
“Third-party verification helps hold the team accountable to the stakeholders and demonstrates that the team is truly providing the best product possible through sustainable practices. Our team has a responsibility to everyone associated with the farms. That includes the cows, teammates, customers and the communities that support them. Where Food Comes From allows us to meet those responsibilities,” said McCarty.
If you want more information on CARE, you’ll find that here!