COCHRANVILLE, Pa. — With a passing of the familial torch, the Rank family of Cochranville earned Glennview Farm its second Dairy of Distinction Award. Glenn Rank had previously won the award when he was farming in partnership with his father.
“I like the idea of community recognition, that we are doing the best we can.” Glenn Rank said.
His wife Lois said it’s a way to get their name out there and showcase the care they have for their farm.
Now that Glenn and his wife own the farm, it was time to reapply. Glenn Rank first went into partnership with his father in 1990. He purchased his father’s half of the partnership in 2005, followed by the farm in 2012. The couple purchased fields across the road in 2015.
The Ranks have a milking herd of about 100 registered Holsteins, including dry cows. The farm has about 155 acres, plus additional acres. They raise corn, soybeans, wheat and alfalfa. The farm’s cropping acreage supplies the ration needs of the farm. Their milk is shipped to Hy-Point Dairies in Delaware. The herd’s rolling herd average is about 27,000 pounds.
A neat and tidy farm is a part of the program. Lois and daughters Sophia, 15, and Annika, 12, plant the flowers and mow the yards around the farm.
Lois said it was much harder to keep up with this year. Despite the challenges, the landscaping is dotted with flowers around the barn, house and farm sign. Glenn works on keeping the buildings in tip-top shape. “We do a lot of our own repair work, even on equipment, unless it’s major work,” Glenn said.
They have one full-time and several part-time employees plus their daughters who help at the farm. Many of their part-time employees are school students. It worked really well for the students who will stay with the farm until they graduate from high school.
Margins are tight, but the Ranks don’t drive management decisions solely by the milk price. “The tight economy does not drive me. My philosophy is to work as efficiently as you can,” Glenn Rank said. There have been some cutbacks. Glenn and his full-time employee have taken on more of the repair work themselves. He closely monitors what he is adding to the ration. He’s worked with all of his consultants to evaluate the crop and feed and dairy operations. He utilizes a rapid growth heifer program with a targeted age at first calving of 21-22 months.
The farm has also improved its conservation footprint, winning the 2015 Chester County Chesapeake Bay Conservationist of the Year. The Ranks built a manure storage for the heifer barn, improved barnyard runoff and other adopted best management practices.
Cow comfort is also important. The cows are housed in a tie-stall barn, but with a misting and fan system installed, the barn stays cool even on the hot days of summer. Glenn Rank said on some days, the barn feels like its air conditioned.
When not busy, Sophia and Annika enjoy showing their dairy cattle in the Chester County 4-H program.