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DENMARK - Andrew and Brian Schilling of Schilling Farms in Darlington, WI, have been named the 2017 Progressive Commercial Dairy Managers.

This award, given by the National Dairy Shrine, is designed to recognize outstanding dairy managers who have introduced and applied effective management and business practices to help achieve a more profitable dairy business. It acknowledges young dairy managers early in their careers and encourages others to look at a career in dairy production.

“Putting a plan in place and continuing to evaluate the plan is a key to our success and planning for the future of our dairy,” explained the Schilling brothers. “We are driven by planning and data, however, not without the continued communication and assessment of how we are doing as a business. Planning and data without communication just won’t benefit each other. They must be connected and fit tightly together to achieve success. This is a key management strategy for Schilling Dairy and has been the foundation to our business plan.”

Established in 1999, the Schilling family-owned LLC dairy operation has grown considerably from a 70-cow stanchion barn with a 19,000 lbs. rolling herd average to a 600-cow commercial dairy, with a current rolling herd average of 31,900 lbs., 4.12% fat, 3.23% protein, a somatic cell count average of 55,000 and a pregnancy rate of 39% along with cropping 1,600 acres.

The brothers work together as a team with Brian managing the dairy herd and Andy managing the cropland. The brothers believe strongly in cow cleanliness and comfort as well as working with expert specialists to plan and achieve their herd goals.

As a result of their planning and hard work, the Schilling’s herd has been honored with the Platinum Award by the National Dairy Cattle Reproduction Council in 2009, 2011 -2015. They have also received the top award for milk quality from Rolling Hills Milk Cooperative for the last 9 years.

“It is our goal to provide a rich nutrient, wholesome product to consumers,” said Andy Schilling. “Our production and focus on milk quality with our low SCC of 55,000 is one way we do that. We know the image of the dairy industry and a safe, secure food supply starts with what we do on our dairy. We work hard to live up to the consumer’s expectations producing a quality product that we would want our own families and our employees’ families to consume.”

The Schilling brothers are not afraid of change but, rather find opportunity in it. During the past seven years, they have implemented genomic testing, received AI contract interest and started IVF on their top genomic heifers.

Most recently, they finished construction of a second manure storage system so the farm’s own nutrients can be used on all of the cropland. Within the next 3 years, the Schilling brothers would like to see their herd size double, process their own product and continue to manage a dairy that their children would like to be involved in one day.

Not only are the Schilling brothers good dairymen but, are actively involved in their community by serving on the Lafayette Ag Stewardship Alliance (LASA), their local Township Board, and the rural Medical Ambulance Service.

“We want to continually improve and share our love of the dairy industry with our community and neighbors. To do so, we believe in being involved in our community and giving back with most recently helping to form LASA, a county ag stewardship alliance to bridge the gap between the public concerns and the agricultural community,” said Brian Schilling, LASA Board Member. “As dairy producers we must each do our part to stay connected to consumers and we are excited about the opportunity LASA may bring. We hope it may serve as a welcomed platform for other counties in Wisconsin and across the U.S.”

Andy and Brian Schilling will receive the 2017 Progressive Dairy Cattle Managers Award at the annual National Dairy Shrine awards banquet on Thursday, Oct. 5 in Madison, Wisconsin.

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