More than a century of growth

Written by Emily Battmer

By modernizing the dairy, Sutter says Fertile Ridge has become more efficient and more productive, and the cows are well cared for. Sutter says he credits modernized agriculture with his cows’ improved comfort and the dairy’s overall efficiency and production.

“I think that our cows are really better taken care of in our modern facility than they ever were in the old facility,” Sutter says. “They do better because it’s more comfortable for them, and it’s a healthier environment.”

Sutter says he would like more consumers to understand how modern dairies operate and how beneficial they can be to the cows and the people involved. While he says they don’t have many scheduled tours, they always welcome visitors to the farm to see modern dairy farming firsthand.

Once, Sutter says a doctor, his daughter and grandchildren stopped by from Chicago. The family was driving by and, on a whim, decided to knock on the door and ask to take a look around.

“They ended up staying probably two or three hours,” Sutter says. “He wanted to give his grandchildren a look at a modern working farm, and I think they had their eyes opened pretty well. They didn’t realize what all goes into producing milk.”

If more people would take the time to learn about where their food comes from, Sutter says he thinks they would better understand the realities of contemporary agriculture. 

“If people will listen, we want to tell them the story of how modern agriculture is good for the environment and good for people,” Sutter says. “People don’t always get the message.”