MERCER COUNTY, Ohio — MVP Dairy, a partnership between McCarty Family Farms and VanTilburg Farms, opened a new dairy today in northern Mercer County, creating 35 new local jobs. MVP Dairy produces high-quality, fresh milk that is Non-GMO Project Verified for Danone North America, the leading maker of yogurt in the U.S. The MVP Dairy is only 18 miles from Danone’s facility in Minster, the largest yogurt-making plant in the U.S., which produces leading brands such as Activia, Danimals, Dannon, Light & Fit and Oikos.
The new dairy is home to nearly 4,500 cows that live in six free-stall barns built for optimum cow comfort. The cows are milked in a state-of-the-art carousel milking parlor, which benefits their health and well-being, by providing a predictable and efficient milking routine, allowing the cows more time to eat, drink, sleep and spend time with other cows.
This is the fifth McCarty Family Farms’ dairy and its first in Ohio. The VanTilburg family, who live next to the MVP Dairy site, are lifelong residents of Celina, Ohio with a vested interest in responsible and sustainable production agriculture close to home.
The farm also features an innovative and patented anaerobic treatment cell system on the farm that significantly reduces waste solids, consumption of water and waste odor, with a recycling system that benefits the animals, crop care and the environment.
“Our desire to work with Danone started with their commitment to create more healthy and more sustainably produced foods,” said Kyle VanTilburg, co-owner of MVP dairy. “Our family has been farming here in Celina for more than four generations, and we are passionate about using farming methods to ensure we are conserving the land and improving soil health for generations to come.”
In accordance with Danone North America’s strict animal welfare guidelines, MVP Dairy is certified by Validus, an independent audit firm with the most stringent requirements for socially responsible, scientifically based, economically viable long-term solutions for dairy animal care. The cows are monitored daily and provided routine health screenings. In addition, all employees are regularly trained in animal welfare and farm safety.
“We are constantly striving to provide our cows with first-class care,” said Ken McCarty, co-owner of MVP Dairy. “We know our cows’ well-being and sustainable farming practices bring value to the foods produced by Danone that are made with our milk so it’s important that we continue to push ourselves to do even better.”
Mariano Lozano, CEO of Danone North America, added: “We are very pleased that our partnership with the McCarty family, which began almost 10 years ago, now includes this state-of-the-art new dairy farm. The McCarty VanTilburg dairy is leading the way in highly efficient, sustainable agriculture and best-in-class cow care. The innovative practices employed at this dairy will undoubtedly inspire others to follow.”
MVP Dairy operates as part of Danone North America’s ‘cost-plus’ model, which helps keep farmers farming. Rather than a dairy farmer being subject to the volatility of commodity and dairy prices, Danone North America establishes long-term contracts with its cost-plus farmers that cover the cost of production plus a profit margin for the farmer. This model smooths market swings and gives farmers better protection over the long term. This allows more seamless generational transfers and allows for more focus on investments for long-term sustainability in areas such as soil health and regenerative agriculture, which are priorities for MVP Dairy and Danone North America.
The MVP Dairy also includes a 7,500 square foot Learning Center that will be open to the public with interactive displays that share the story from soil to cup on how milk and dairy foods are made. In addition to viewing the dairy farm’s 80-cow carousel milking parlor, guests can explore and learn from interactive games and displays as well virtual reality experiences and a digital Danone grocery store to learn more about their dairy foods.
About MVP Dairy
MVP Dairy strives to create wholesome products in a sustainable manner. Using best management practices, the farm works to achieve the best in animal welfare, responsible environmental stewardship, sustainable community engagement, and the creation of a safe, rewarding work environment.
About McCarty Family Farms
Over one hundred years ago, the McCarty family started and ended every day milking cows by hand in a small barn without electricity in northeast Pennsylvania. Four generations later, much has stayed the same since – their commitment to cows, people and the land. Yet, much has changed to take better care of their cows and natural resources and to bring even better dairy foods to consumers’ tables. In addition to MVP Dairy, they operate four dairies across the country in Beaver City, Nebraska; Bird City, Kansas; Rexford, Kansas; and Scott City, Kansas.
About VanTilburg Farms
VanTilburg Farms was founded in 1977, but the agrarian history started long ago. Boyd VanTilburg, the great grandfather of current co-owners Matt, Kyle and Luke VanTilburg, began farming in 1902. In addition to grain farming, the VanTilburg family business has grown and evolved into a staple agricultural service provider in northwestern Ohio, specializing in multiple services including cover crops and custom fertilizer and chemical application, poultry litter, soil sampling and trucking. Other business ventures include a commercial grain elevator, crop insurance business, trucking division and an excavation company.