By Sherry Bunting
PENNSYLVANIA — Continuous improvement is the approach of animal care and quality assurance programs. For dairy producers like the Hartman family — with farms in Berks and Lancaster counties — quality assurance and cow comfort go hand-in-hand. Their operation includes 1100 milk cows, and they raise their own dairy replacement heifers and grow their bull calves as steers, along with some identified heifers, for the beef market.
Dairy cows provide for us, and they create economic value from start to finish. Any animal that produces all of this for us must be kept in good form and quality.
At Scattered Acres, Inc., quality is intentional. And it has not gone un-noticed.
Recently, the Pennsylvania Beef Council (PBC) recognized Scattered Acres and the Hartman family as the 2018 Dairy Beef Quality Assurance award winner. Each year, the PBC presents an award to one outstanding dairy for their efforts under the Dairy Beef Quality Assurance (DBQA) program.
Scattered Acres encompasses multiple locations and is owned and operated by multiple generations of the Hartman family.
During a Professional Dairy Managers of PA Summit at their Reinholds, Lancaster County dairy last September, many aspects of animal care and quality assurance were showcased for attendees to participate in and even earn BQA certification credit.
Whether it’s honing skills for observing the birth stages and knowing when to intervene and what to do, or how to evaluate down cows to take appropriate action or how to do low stress cow handling in the milking parlor and the barns, engaged employees understand the mission of the dairy.
Conveying that mission to their team of employees is one of the things the Hartmans really strive for — to be thinking about what is good for the cows and have the tools and understanding for their employees to follow through on the mission throughout their multi-site, multi-generation dairy farm business — to empower employees to do the right thing.
Scattered Acres has roots dating back to the early 1800’s when Amos Hartman started farming with mules and no industrialized equipment. He began with 35 cows on the farm, near Reading, Berks County. As his family grew, so did the farming operation.
Today, Scattered Acres is owned by three brothers, Paul, Ed and Dave — all descendants of Amos Hartman. They farm nearly 1300 acres of crop ground with a milking herd of 1100 dairy cows spread across two milking locations, with a third location devoted to raising 1100 dairy replacement females as well as Holstein steers and identified heifers that are raised and finished for the beef market.
The fifth and sixth generations of the Hartman family operate the dairy today with the seventh generation spending time in the barn, mostly in strollers.
In total, nine Hartman family members run the operation with 30 total employees for all three locations, combined.
As the multi-generational family dairy farm business began the quest to expand the operation, they coined their name — Scattered Acres — with nearly 35 miles between farm locations across the landscape of Berks and Lancaster counties.
“Scattered Acres is a dairy that shines as a great example of how the best practices outlined under the BQA program can make a positive impact on meat quality, milk production and consumer confidence,” according to the Pennsylvania Beef Council’s press release announcing the 2018 DBQA award.
Harrison Hartman, herd manager at the Reinholds facility, has made a strong commitment to DBQA and to the National Dairy FARM (Farmers Assuring Responsible Management) program in recent years.
All of the farm’s employees are encouraged to follow BQA protocols and guidelines, especially when giving injections and moving cattle.
In fact, during last year’s PDMP September Summit hosted by the Hartmans at the Reinholds dairy, various employees participated in the learning opportunities, including BQA certification workshops.
The Hartmans believe that quality starts on the farm, with good management practices that continuously improve the quality of the milk and beef they market from their dairy business.
Their key managers are all BQA-certified. Another way the Hartmans have brought value to their employees is by utilizing on-farm training resources like the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association animal care videos.
In addition, the farm has utilized resources like the 2017 Stockmanship workshops hosted by the Pa. Beef Council.
By hosting the PDMP September Summit in 2017, the Hartmans also were instrumental helping PDMP and the Beef Council bring key workshops together in one place on one day for other dairy producers and dairy farm employees to take information and skills home to their work with their own cattle.
That event focused on helping dairy farmers become BQA-certified through a series of workshop and training stations that included down-cow training, responsible injection site training, and learning about the economic benefits of the DBQA program in helping dairy farmers beef up value for the dairy’s bottom line
The tteam at Scattered Acres Inc. was able to show first-hand the impact that following BQA protocols has on their operation.
The Pa. Beef Council describes the team at Scattered Acres as passionate about cow comfort and humane handling.
“They are also concerned about representing to the public a positive image of Pennsylvania dairy producers,” the Council’s press release stated. “When given the opportunity, they open the farm up to various events and audiences.”
Groups they have hosted include school tours as well as events for local fire and EMS.
By doing these events, they often find themselves answering questions for local media.
“The entire Scattered Acres team takes great pride in the quality products that leave their farm, from milk to meat,” says the Pa. Beef Council, adding that the Council is proud to present this 2018 Dairy Beef Quality Assurance award to their team for their continued commitment to excellence.