Meet the Walt Family
Arlyn and Kathy Walt and their family are excited to be hosting the west Michigan Breakfast on the Farm educational program. Their progressive family operation dates back to 1932, at this present location, and has grown over the years. In 1992 their “double 12” milking parlor (24 cows come into the milking parlor at the same time) was built and they added a new freestall barn in 2008. Arlyn and Kathy are the third generation to farm on the family homestead.
Today the Walt’s milk 430 cows two times a day and grow corn and alfalfa on 1200 acres. They harvest 800 acres of corn silage and 400 acres of alfalfa, which is the amount of feed needed to feed their cows and replacement heifers for one year. Their cow herd averages 25,000 pounds of milk per year. This equates to each cow producing about 9.5 gallons of milk per day. Their milk is shipped through Michigan Milk Producers Association and currently goes to Country Fresh Dairy in Grand Rapids or Leprino Foods Cheese Factory in Allendale. They also raise all of their replacement heifers.
The comfort of their animals is very important and they look forward to sharing how they care for their animals and provide delicious and wholesome food. Healthy cows are very important to them and they are sure the visitors will learn more about where their milk comes from. The family has also incorporated several conservation practices into their operation. The farm was recently MAEAP (Michigan Agriculture Environmental Assurance Program) verified in cropping systems. The Walt’s are passionate about what they do, and are looking forward to opening their farm to consumers to learn about modern agriculture.
Arlyn and Kathy have two children, April and Sybrant. The farm has 4 full-time employees, not including the family, and up to 10 part-time employees. The economic impact a farm has on the community is huge. Every dollar spent locally by a dairy farm creates a multiplier effect of more than 2 ½ times the original dollar spent. Money from a dairy farm is turned over 7 or 8 times before it leaves the local economy.