“The pasture grass is a large part of a Bok cow’s diet along with grain, silage and haylage.”
Arps Dairy is successful in producing outstanding dairy products, thanks to the hard work both at the plant and on the farms who supply Arps daily.
One of the farms helping Arps maintain a great line of products is the Melvin Bok farm just outside of Defiance, Ohio. The Bok dairy milks 47 Holstein cows in a unique way to other dairies. The cows are not in a parlor setting typical for milking, instead head lock gates keep them in position while the milking machine is manually carried to the back for milking. While being milked, the cows are fed to keep them calm and content. In addition, the Boks use free stalls filled with sand to provide a clean environment for the cows. A slide of the door allows air in to create a comfortable temperature during warm months. Pasture areas are utilized when they are dry to provide room for exercise and relaxation. The pasture grass is part of the diet along with grain, silage and haylage.
Cow comfort is only part of what keeps the farm going, and good record keeping is also essential. Melvin and his son, John, track their records to maintain a healthy herd and produce high quality milk. They are proud to have reached a new high of seventy pounds of milk production per cow. John says, “It takes a lot of hard work when trying to make a good product, and we can tell you; we are trying our best”. As they continue to work hard on the dairy they admit it is good to work together. Along with John’s family, the Bok dairy continues to strive to improve the operation and enjoy being together. John believes his daughter is a huge asset to the farm. She is excited to share different aspects and insights for the farm. Working together as a family is a bright spot in the dairy work. In addition, both Melvin and John agree, their favorite part of farming is getting in the tractor. They like to plant crops and think being in a tractor is a “good day”.
For nearly thirty seven years the Boks have been producing milk for Arps Dairy. Melvin said Arps was willing to “take a chance on us” and they are sure glad Arps did. The Bok family appreciates knowing the milk hauler. Equally important, they feel the people at Arps are good to work with. When asked their favorite dairy product, it was a toss-up between ice cream and whole chocolate milk.
They believe people should know, “it takes a lot of hard work” to run a dairy farm, but producers are proud of the work and the milk produced. They are active in the community, from fair participation by the grandchildren to helping the neighbors, they are an asset to the local area. They intend to continue the dairy and work toward improving the operation in the hopes the grandchildren will someday take over their successful dairy operation.