By Jennifer Whitlock
For the Volleman relatives, dairy farming is a way of everyday living. As far back as 1890, Vollemans have been increasing dairy cattle and advertising milk.
The family traces its history from Holland to Luxembourg to the U.S., in which Frank and Annette moved with their two young sons in 1993.
They set down roots in Gustine and now supply Texans with what they phone “a flavor of home” by their dairy and new bottling facility, exactly where they system and bottle their have milk in returnable glass bottles.
“When we moved right here, Annette and I started off milking 50 cows in partnership with my brother, Marcel. Then a pair of several years down the road, he began his have dairy, and we continued to increase our facilities to the sizing we are today. Now, we milk about 5,000 cows and bottle and offer our own milk,” he mentioned. “Our loved ones has expanded, much too, and we now have four sons: Benjamin, David, Andrew and Daniel.”
New roots operate deep
This distinctive relatives procedure will involve two generations, eight relatives users and a total good deal of love. Really like for the land, the farm and, most importantly, for every other.
Just about every son is dependable for a specific component of the operation.
Benjamin grows most of the dairy’s forages, and David manages the working day-to-working day functions at the dairy. Andrew oversees the bottling plant, and Daniel raises replacement heifers and aids on his uncle’s dairy.
David’s wife, Anna, manages the business place of work, and Andrew’s spouse, Shelby, is the promoting director for the dairy.
Together, the Farm Bureau members are very pleased to bring Volleman’s glass bottled milk to merchants acrossCentral and North Texas, with extra suppliers carrying the merchandise just about every 7 days.
They hope to keep on to mature their family legacy listed here in Texas, 1 bottle of milk at a time.
At the farm, Benjamin grows corn, sorghum and 3 varieties of Bermudagrass.
“I’ve been doing this for my family members for the very last 10 several years or so. Prior to I graduated school, we experienced grown a minimal bit of corn, but close to the time I graduated, we started out concentrating on developing our possess crops for the dairy,” he mentioned. “We began attempting to make improvements to our Bermudagrass and discover far better kinds to develop superior high quality feed for our cows, and points just took off from there.”
About 60-70% of the farm’s forages are grown by Benjamin, and the grains are obtained from other farmers and feed mills.
Benjamin loves farming, and he enjoys remaining capable to do the job with his spouse and children each and every day.
“It’s a good deal of entertaining doing work with each other in the spouse and children company. My brothers and I operate collectively in the fields or on the farm or in an office with each other all the time,” he said. “We every single have our individual roles, but we can usually aid each individual other out if we need to have aid on a specific undertaking. In some cases it is a little tough to get together with everyone, but which is the entertaining section about it. We try to determine out how we can do the job jointly and get the work accomplished.”
Down the road from Benjamin’s corn fields, David oversees the day-to-day operations at the dairy.
Two times a working day, the cows travel from their cross-ventilated barns to the 72-stall totally automatic milking carousel.
On the lookout after 5,000 Holstein cows and confirming they get milked twice a working day is a big career. But it’s a obstacle David is usually up for.
“Even though we are a bigger farm, we’re still a household farm, and we certainly care for our cows each individual working day. Our main focus is our cows and the men and women we do the job with, making certain a excellent good quality of lifetime for each,” he mentioned. “The barns and all these items we’ve invested in right here on this farm are to seriously make their everyday living improved so that they continue to be balanced and create a lot of milk. They get care of us. We just take treatment of them. It is a quite symbiotic connection, and we’re generally on the lookout to increase.”
The milk is collected in tanks where it is immediately chilled to about 35 degrees. It is continuously stirred so the product does not rise to the top rated. Just after the milk has been examined consistently, it is loaded on to tankers for transportation to processing amenities.
Anna, David’s spouse, manages the small business business and handles the move of tankers and buyers. He explained it is a blessing to be capable to work alongside one another and along with the relaxation of his spouse and children.
“I completely enjoy elevating our household on the farm. Anna was working in city, and I was really pleased when she was in a position to be part of us out listed here. Now, when we get finished with our most important get the job done, we can do items like hop in the truck and travel the young children all around though we test on the cattle and do a very last round before heading home,” he reported. “I just seriously enjoy shelling out that time with my family members on the farm, and it brings some overall flexibility to our circumstance. There’s an amazing high quality of daily life below we could not get any where else.”
Volleman’s bottling facility
About 9 months in the past, some big dreams eventually arrived true when the relatives was capable to start off bottling and offering milk less than the Volleman’s brand.
The aspiration was completely recognized with the opening of their own creamery, positioned just exterior the Gustine city restrictions. The Vollemans currently develop significant cream and full, 2%, chocolate and strawberry milk, alongside with 1 seasonal milk taste that modifications in the course of the 12 months.
When they opened the creamery, Frank reported the timing was proper to reintroduce an aged concept: returnable glass bottles.
On top of the order selling price of the milk, prospects pay out a deposit for the bottle. The deposit is returned when the bottle is received back at a retailer, or the shopper may perhaps select to have the retailer hold the deposit so they can buy extra milk.
“In the starting, we weren’t certain we favored the thought. But the far more we dug into it and traveled throughout the state and saw different operations, we determined there was a little something there,” Frank explained. “People really like the sustainability element of this. They truly feel very good about it, that they’re carrying out anything for the atmosphere. And the reaction has actually just been mind-boggling.”
At the bottling plant, Andrew is liable for processing, pasteurization and bottling the milk, as effectively as overseeing gross sales and distribution. His wife, Shelby, also operates at the bottling plant wherever she oversees internet marketing and branding.
Andrew’s background in distribution with the Coca-Cola Enterprise and a dairy products and solutions engineering method from Cal Poly well prepared him for his newest part in the loved ones organization.
The spouse and children broke ground on the new plant in March 2020 and commenced making bottles by a co-packer in June. The plant arrived on-line this January, and Volleman’s is steadily attaining recognition as they get the job done to enhance distribution through Texas.
When Andrew began battling with the amount of work associated in working the bottling facility and managing sales, Daniel stepped in to aid.
“I was form of drowning, striving to do every little thing at at the time, and Daniel stepped up to assistance on the profits side,” he said. “He does a good deal with chatting to retailers, sustaining relationships that we crafted and continues to obtain new retailers, and we do the job carefully jointly to hold increasing into new parts.”
He said it is a surreal feeling to have all their challenging function fork out off.
“I really do not know what the right phrase is, but you get a good deal of pride seeing your bottle with your name on it on a shelf in a grocery shop. The finest emotion is when you stroll into a store and there’s a line out the doorway and you just can’t even get it off the truck, mainly because they’re just grabbing it out of the crates,” Andrew, who employed to do all the deliveries himself, stated. “It’s just persons standing in line for the milk, men and women you have never ever satisfied that have no clue who you are, and I get to say ‘Yes, that’s my milk from my family members, from cows we elevated and a area we designed.’ It is just a actually amazing feeling to have it all appear total circle.”
Paving the way for the upcoming
Frank is proud of what he and Annette have realized, and he just cannot wait to see what else his sons do.
“The troubles when you appear to a new region can be big, but I consider when you’ve been instilled with family members values, difficult function and determination, it will spend off.
We could not have imagined or even dreamed of the place we are today,” he said. “And our sons are our partners in this business now. They know just about every early morning why they wake up and why the several hours are long. That is how we envisioned to build that legacy—for them to be element of it by their labor and by owning a section of it. And we know they’ll make it even more productive by doing work collectively.”
As she seems to be at her sons and their families, Annette can not aid but experience they’ve attained their very own edition of the American desire.
“It was not simple coming more than right here with two minor children and possessing no babysitter, attempting to milk the cows ourselves. We did not communicate the language well when the oldest two first went to college,” she said. “But just staying right here at the dairy with all the little ones and them rising up near to the cows and executing their chores and assisting Frank…it was a very, incredibly great emotion.”
Now the future technology of Vollemans are mastering life classes in the spouse and children venture.
“It is pretty rewarding to see the boys now turn into portion of our procedure, all four performing collectively. And now two of our sons have their little types and bring them together, also,” Annette reported. “I believe it is brilliant to see us all rising as a huge, significant loved ones and functioning a enterprise jointly. All in little diverse departments, possibly a person with the cows, the other one particular with the feed, the other a person with the milk, and the other 1 with the heifers and all of that. But still, all escalating alongside one another.”