The First WI Dairy to Install the LWR Sytem
Brillion, WI (May 19, 2016) – It isn’t every day that a third generation dairy farmer decides to up and move their entire operation to a new country and not just succeed, but thrive and expand. That is exactly what Gordon and Cathy Speirs did in 2003. Not only did they move from Canada to the United States, they moved to the Dairy State, where standards are high and competition, fierce.
Gordon’s grandfather, Harvey Speirs, began his small dairy operation in Saskatchewan, Canada, in the 1930s. Over the years, the farm moved twice, always looking for opportunities to expand the operation and become more profitable. As Gordon and Cathy took over the farm, and their family grew, their three children helped with milking, tending crops and performing maintenance.
The decision to move the entire operation to Brillion, Wisconsin, in 2003 involved relocating animals and equipment, as well as obtaining permits, building a new dairy facility, and establishing relationships with veterinarians, bankers, and fellow herdsmen. Today, just over a dozen years later, Shiloh Dairy has grown to be one of the most successful single location dairies in Wisconsin.
“It was always important for us to get our kids involved in farming.” Says Gordon “It is our way of life, and no matter what they would go on to do as adults, we knew that we wanted to teach them responsibility and show them the rewards of growing up and working on a dairy farm.” He adds.
Today, Gordon is the farm’s general manager, and president of the Wisconsin Dairy Business Association. Cathy is the farm’s manager of maternity, baby calves and genetics. She also shares her successes in calf genetics at speaking engagements in the U.S. and abroad. Sons Travis and Tyler, the fourth generation, both have management roles in running the farm.
When they moved to Wisconsin, the Speirs intended to start milking 600 cows, and hoped to one day grow that number to 1,200. Today, Shiloh Dairy milks 2,100 cows, raises all young stock onsite, and cares for 4,450 animals in total. The Speirs family searches out innovative methods in every aspect of their operation, and is known for being the first dairy in the state of Wisconsin to install the LWR
Manure Treatment System. They host visitors from around the world who come to observe the advanced technology and protocols the farm has established.
“We consider Shiloh Dairy as one of our Legacy Clients.” says LWR President Ross Thurston. “They are true innovators who took a risk by investing in a new technology that they believed would help protect their family farm for years to come. Because of their leap of faith, they have helped other dairies – not only in Wisconsin, but throughout the US – see the results of sustainably managing manure in a different way. They are leaders in their industry, and are very deserving of this recognition. “
“The panel of judges was impressed by the four generations of this family business, and their successful transition not only in moving to a new country but in growing their business more than three-fold, and becoming a leader in the industry.” Says Neil Fauerbach, of Smith & Gesteland LLP, founding sponsor of the Wisconsin Family Business of the Year Award.
The awards ceremony was held on May 14, 2016 at the New Edgewater Hotel in Madison.