Dairy farming’s future — Maola Milk is finding success through sustainability
Learn how Maola Milk dairy farmer Roddy Purser is implementing sustainable practices on his local farm to improve efficiency and protect the environment.
As any dairy farmer will tell you, dairy farming is more than just milking cows. Farmers work hard to be sustainable for future generations and Maola Milk dairy farmer Roddy Purser is no exception.
Maola Milk is a local, family farmer-owned dairy cooperative that has been milking cows since 1920, and so for Roddy and his family of six, having a fresh, locally sourced supply of milk is a must-have. For a dairy coop such as Maola, with sustainability goals at the heart of everything they do, what makes Roddy and his dairy such a great match is their thoughtful approach to sustainability. Based in Marshville, North Carolina, Roddy and his team started milking 250 cows back in 2013. With 700 Jersey cows on his farm now, Roddy has grown meticulously by evaluating every piece in the puzzle with his team: land, topography, water, crops – and his cows! – to ensure that he is growing his crops responsibly and not putting additional strain on the land and resources.
“There are so many things that have to come together. Every step of the way, we evaluate what we have and what we need to bring in – a piece at a time – in order to be sustainable,” explained Roddy.
After all, this Maola dairy’s purpose is to produce a product they are proud of: proud to consume, proud to purchase, and with full transparency of knowing where their milk gets shipped to. Their team ensures their families and their community have access to milk that is not only nutritious and tastes great but is also good for the environment.
Dairy farming wasn’t always part of the Purser family history. It became a prominent part of their future when they started their first-generation farm in 2013. Since then, Roddy, his extended family, and his team dedicate their time and resources to keep well-fed cows in a well-kept environment. Life on the farm can be taxing, but rewarding, and especially when you live by sustainable practices that help to build a better future.
When caring for that many cows, animal waste management is a daily challenge, but Roddy and his family have implemented several methods to lessen the impact on their surrounding environment. Recently, White Rock Farms received a grant from Pee Dee Electric and North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives through the Beneficial Electrification League to convert an animal waste lagoon pumping system from a diesel engine to a large single-phase electric motor. This grant helps farms like Roddy’s reduce emissions, use cleaner energy, and provides an environmentally friendly solution to farm waste management.
By converting to electric motors and reducing diesel emissions where possible, Roddy’s farm is one step closer to their goal of being carbon neutral or better. The practices he has been able to implement have helped position his farm as a model for other farmers who wish to utilize new technologies to sustainably care for their cows. By learning from one another, Maola dairy farmers create a better local environment, which means cleaner soil, water, and air for everyone — including the cows.
Roddy provides the upmost care to his cows, including using the latest farming technology to grow crops for his animals, known as precision agriculture. Roddy explained that implementing precision agriculture practices on the farm allows the family to grow feed crops that require less fertilizer. This initiative leads to less runoff in local waterways, meaning cleaner water in our communities, as well as higher-quality feed for the cows.
“We treat our cows like family because they make the milk you give to yours,” Roddy said. “Now that we can look deeper into the health of our crops and fields through precision agriculture, we make more informed decisions to use our land the very best that we can in order to sustain the nutritional needs of our cows.”
The cows get their dinner brought to them by Roddy and his team so that they’re guaranteed the nutrients they need to make the best-tasting milk. They also “get their nails done” in what Roddy calls “their spa” — their home on the farm where his cows get their hooves trimmed regularly. They even have routine physicals, which inform Roddy about his cows’ health traits and reproductive cycles to keep them at their healthiest. These physicals are aided by what Roddy describes as “a Fitbit for a cow” which monitors the daily activity of each animal. Keeping his cows and his farm in tip-top shape means being able to supply your families with fresh, locally sourced Maola milk.
To learn more about Maola’s dedication to sustainability, visit https://maolamilk.com/sustainability, or follow us at @maolamilk on Instagram. Ready to taste the difference for yourself? Find out where fresh, local, and sustainable Maola products are available in your community at https://maolamilk.com/where-to-buy/