My grandfather came from Waterloo, Iowa, in 1913 to start a dairy farm in Pomona. I’m very proud to be a fourth-generation family farmer, especially knowing most people say the average family business doesn’t make it past the third generation!
Being born into this industry, I was off and running as soon as I could walk. This gave me a unique difference as a kid. I didn’t watch my dad go off to work every day and then come home in the evening from his job. Every day, I was at his job – our livelihood. My dad still works alongside me and my brother, Bruce, at Scott Brothers Dairy. It gives us personal satisfaction to know we are part of something special after all the trials and tribulations of our past generations.
That history, though, doesn’t make things any easier. There are still all kinds of battles -- uphill battles -- in dairying, whether they are economical, regulatory or simply the weather. It takes a heartfelt effort to preserve and keep this business alive since it has such a long family history. That’s constantly on my mind. So much has changed from the days of my great-grandfather and even over the past 20 to 30 years.
These days, you hear a lot of people talking about sustainability and carbon footprints. Dairy farmers have always cared for the environment and we’ve worked hard to protect and enhance it. Hopefully, people will see that America’s dairy farms, including ours, are doing their part environmentally and always have been, not just because it’s the cool new thing to do.
On our farm, we use a steady supply of reclaimed water on our crops. This means that all of the water that we use is recycled to grow our crops and irrigation wells that we once used are no longer being pumped. We’re really proud of this. Our newest and biggest project is solar energy.
Here in southern California, we have a lot of sunny summer days and sunny winter days that allow us to produce green energy. We installed 312 solar panels on the roof of one of our barns. Each panel generates 175 watts of power. So far, we have reduced our total daily energy needs by 25 to 35 percent, and we still have two more phases of this project to complete. By using our current infrastructure to offset our carbon footprint, we are showing that this is one way we are sustainable.
The fact that we also bottle our own milk with our family name on the label means we have an added responsibility to our reputation and integrity. There is a lot of attention being put on the “farm to plate” concept. We want to show we are out in front of current market trends to help satisfy consumers who want to know that their dairy products come from sustainable sources.