Our family settled on this farm in 1926.
Since Rollie and Mary Baumbach settled on the farm in 1926, there have always been cows. In the beginning just a couple for the family and neighbors. In the 60's we did have a herd of Brown Swiss, but it wasn't until the early 70's we became a commercial dairy farm.
No, it hasn't. Originally, it was the Rollie & Mary Baumbach Farm. In 1948, Harrison and Grace (Baumbach) Warner purchased the farm and it became known as The Warner Farm. In 1974 the name was changed to HD Farms and operated under that name until 2020. This name was a combination of both Harrison and Doug (Harrison & Grace's son) as a commemoration to Harrison after his passing. Grace and Doug ran the farm as a mother son duo until Grace died in 2018. In 2021, Doug and Sarah (Warner) Roy, his daughter, decided to partner up to create Norwood Centennial Farms. The name was chosen to celebrate the place that holds a piece of their hearts and to pay tribute to being so close to a Centennial farm.
Over the years we've had several animals including horses, cows and chickens. We currently have only dairy cows along with a couple of cats.
The pit was built in 1974. Doug insisted on having a cement bottom to the pit. The cement bottom is the reason why the pit has lasted so long. As the years have gone on, adjustments have been made to keep it functioning properly.
What does that mean? It means that we do not buy any animals for our herd. The only time we purchased dairy cows was from 1974 through 1982 when Doug purchased registered Holsteins out of New York. Since then, we have grown our herd by Artificial Insemination select breading our cows and heifers. This helps us to reduce the spread of disease through our herd and better control our genetics.
What is A2 milk you ask? It is milk that does not have the A1 beta-casein protein. The A1 beta-casein protein is believed to cause stomach discomfort and bloating. The structure of A2 protein is more comparable to human breast milk as well as milk from goats, sheep and buffalo. It is thought to be easier to digest.
It has taken us roughly 8 years of breeding A2 bulls to turn our herd into an A2 herd. All cows and fresh heifers are tested to confirm they carry the A2 protein.
Poled Holsteins naturally do not have horns. We care a lot about our cows and want them to be safe and happy. Cows that have horns can be dangerous to both other cows and humans. That is why in the past cows have been dehorned at a young age. Seeing the practice of dehorning becoming taboo led us to start using poled bulls for artificial insemination. This way we will naturally remove the horns in our herd through genetics and cause no harm to the animals. This practice was started in 2020 and we are already seeing poled animals in our herd. Very exciting!
Farmers in general try to not let anything go to waste if possible. We work with what we have and our community to be as efficient as possible with the resources available to us. Below are some practices we use to help make the world a better place.
Brewers Grain - Brewers grains are the solid residue left after the processing of germinated and dried cereal grains(malt) for the production of beer. We work with a local brewery and use their brewers grain to feed to the cows. This helps them get rid of the spent grains and helps us to provide an additional food source. The cows really enjoy when they make seasonal beers!
Local Lumber - We work with local loggers to source the wood for our boiler. The boiler provides hot water throughout the farm including the barns and houses. We put the waste wood to good use providing heat for us and lessening materials that would otherwise be left to rot. In addition, it lessens the amount of natural gas used on the farm.
Sawdust - We work with a local pallet company and use the sawdust created from making their pallets as bedding for our cows. This helps keep the cow's cleaner and more comfortable in their stalls and puts good use to their biproduct.
Road Fill - In 2022 US 31 was redone from S. Barnard to N. Barnard. We worked with the contractor to take 1,276,000 yards of road fill. This reduced the need for extensive hauling to further locations. Lessening the total carbon footprint of the project. This also reshaped the usable space on the farm allowing us to add a circular driveway, fortify the manure pit, and level the feed lot along with other areas around the houses and barns.
We continue to look for ways to improve how things are done on the farm. We routinely work with the USDA and NRCS to find new practices to make our farm more sustainable for the future. There are a lot of exciting things we are working on.
The FDA sets rules through pasteurized milk ordinances to ensure the quality of milk. The FDA tracks the merit of milk and assigns the grades to safeguard the health of the public. Grade A milk is considered Fluid Class Milk, milk considered to be a nourishing milk to consume.
The following standards need to be met:
We are inspected by both state and federal inspectors along with our local cooperative to make sure we comply with all standards.
On our farm we typically have a bacteria count of 1 or less and a sematic cell count under 100.
The home farm consists of 200 acres however, only 80 of those acres are tillable. We rent an additional 187 acres from our neighbors. We farm a total of 267 acres. With what our fields are able to yield it takes one acre of forage to feed 1 cow for a year.
When US 31 was being constructed it split our farm into two sections. Harrison and Grace Warner insisted that the underpass be built to allow for the cattle to graze on the other side of the highway safely. When the passing lane was added to the highway they extended the underpass to still allow for cattle to cross. To our knowledge, this is the only remaining underpass on a federal highway in the state of Michigan.