By Amy Fovargue
Arps Dairy of Defiance, Ohio has been serving milk to northwest Ohio schools for 80 years.
“At Arps Dairy we get raw supply from individual dairies within our community. The milk is [literally] coming from the farmer down the road. We have a lot of loyalty with our brand, because we have a local mentality in our area. We are big supporters of our schools and especially the children of our community. We do a lot of donations to the schools for the proms, band boosters, and athletic boosters,” said Adam Donaldson, Vice President of Arps Dairy.
During the school season Arps Dairy produces 3.5 million units of half pints of milk with the majority being used at schools. “We go above and beyond with our deliveries as our drivers are on a first name basis with the school cooks. We pride ourselves on being there for the schools from products to delivery. The school’s primarily purchase half pints, fluid milk and some buy our bulk sour cream and cottage cheese.” Donaldson said.
In the summer months the milk is used to make ice cream as the demand for ice cream goes up. “When volume slows down for half pints the volume goes up for ice cream. We serve primarily to Defiance, Putnam, Henry and Paulding counties. Although, some of our products are distributed in Columbus, Toledo and parts of Indiana and Michigan,” Donaldson explained.
Other items that Arps Dairy manufactures are; chip dip, eggnog, fruit punch, orange juice, and bottled water. Arps is one of the few creameries that uses a cold separation system which they feel provides a better taste. They can process the milk from farm to store in 24 hours. Their milk is free of antibiotics and their farmers pledge not to use BST hormones.
Donaldson said, “I grew up drinking Arps milk in the schools, it is a community staple. Even my parents and grandparents drank their milk. Now, my son loves the milk! It makes me feel good to work at a place that makes a product my son loves!”
Bok Family Farms has provided milk to Arps Dairy for more than 25 years. They currently farm 1200 acres near Defiance and have470 cows which are milked on a Herringbone Double 12 system, allowing up to 24 cows to be milked at a time. The cows are registered Jerseys, which provide a high protein and high butterfat milk. The Bok’s take pride in their high quality calf care. The calves are always kept in environmentally controlled conditions. If it’s too cold out, they are in a heated barn that is kept a constant 50 degrees. And if it is too hot out they are kept in a cooled barn at 50 degrees. They value high quality calf care and high quality milk production to provide the best milk possible.
The Boks provide educational outreach through school field trips and youth group tours to their farm. Wendy Bok says when she gives tours of their dairy she shows students how they milk their cows and where the milk is cooled so it can be hauled to the processing plant at Arps Dairy. She shows the children where cows eat and are housed and they get to see the maternity pens. “We allow the visitors to see the calves and give them the opportunity to feed them. We also distribute promotional items such as Frisbees with our farm name,” she explained The highlight of the trip, no doubt, is when they serve milk from Arps Dairy and ice cream treats.
“I talk to them about the six different breeds of dairy cattle. We mostly have a Jersey herd, but my mother Julie has Milking Shorthorns. My daughters and I have got a few Guernsey’s and Ayrshires. My brother Andy has Brown Swiss. So we have 5 of the 6 breeds on our dairy,” she said.
They also promote dairy at local county fairs. This year they had four students show their dairy heifers at county and state levels. “At the fair there is a petting zoo for younger kids and we distribute dairy promotional items and had baby calves for them to pet. This activity is supervised by the local FFA chapters,” she added.
“My family feels by selling our milk to Arps Dairy we supply the community and schools with quality milk, especially since Jersey cattle are known for their quality components,” Wendy concluded.
Adam Donaldson, Vice President
Arps Dairy, Inc.