Dairy Heroes


Dairy producers in Europe tell about their experiences on the farm.

With milk production more than doubling in the last 50 years, demand has seen dairy farmers become some of the most innovative and progressive food suppliers in the agricultural industry. And as global population surges beyond seven billion, this trend is set to continue.

From cream to whey, from cheese to yogurt, the uses for milk have been as varied as the stories from the dairy farms themselves. Alltech invite you to share your stories, celebrating your dairy hero, the one that goes the extra mile everyday. Whether it’s your mum, your child or a member of your farm team, tell us about their passion for the dairy farming lifestyle.

Your Nominated Dairy Heroes

Christian Mertz

Christian Mertz - Alltech Dairy Hero

Congratulations to Christian Mertz, Crock, Germany, who has been chosen as an Alltech Dairy Hero

Christian is 24 years old and is a herd manager of the stables at Waisagrund Agrar GmbH Crock. He has turned his hobby into a profession. In his apprenticeship, he participated in numerous competitions and has had some great success in the zBden league milk competitions. He is in the running for the title of Young Breeder of the Year and is an honorary member of the Thuringian Young Breeders Club. He works with rural youth organisations and encourages young people to be enthusiastic about dairy farming and support our profession.

Christian encourages the importance of the breeding process in his stable, and that cow comfort is paramount. He always tries to make changes to better their living conditions. Christian loves his profession and always has a smile on his face when he comes to work. He doesn't mind staying extra hours in the barn or in the pasture keeping a watchful eye over the farm. When he has spare time he checks on his cows, because it is always a good idea to have a quick look

He is always open to helping and always lends a hand. Christian just deserves to be a "Dairy Hero!"

James Vaughan

James Vaughan - Alltech Dairy Hero

Congratulations to James Vaughan, herd manager of Moulton College dairy unit in Northamptonshire, UK who has been chosen as an Alltech Dairy Hero.

James was chosen because of his dedication to making a hugely positive impact on the unit and has been the driving force behind the big changes that have made such an impact on the farm. This year, he was awarded ‘Most Improved Farm’ from his vets and NMR. This has come from his attention to detail especially when it comes to the milking parlour and cow health. Since January, the farm has had no cases of mastitis which is a real achievement in itself! James is looking to make even more improvements to the unit and is especially focussed on lowering lameness in his herd.

Alltech are looking for more of these Dairy Heroes to give recognition for their hard work and showcase dairy farming in their country to the rest of the world. Nominate your Dairy Hero at www.dairyheroes.com.

Our First Dairy Hero - Leontien van de Laar

Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and friends of Leontien van de Laar who sadly passed away on 10th January 2013. Leontien was a true hero and inspiration to us all. She will continue to inspire us all to follow our dreams, live each day to the fullest and grasp life with both hands. May you rest in peace Leontien.

Leontien's Story

We are delighted to crown our first Dairy Hero - Leontien van de Laar. Leontien is the most courageous and inspiring dairy woman. Originally from Holland, Leontien fell in love with farming when she was just a girl but she always dreamt of starting her own farm in America; a dream she pursued when she moved to Indiana with her family and started a 2,000 cow dairy farm.

However, only five months after she began milking on her new farm, Leontien was given the devastating news that she had skin cancer and had less than a year to live. That was three years ago and this determined, amazing woman is fighting the disease with everything she has and with the support of her fabulous husband Bastiaan (who she has married 3 times) and her family behind her.

Throughout her treatment, Leontien still insisted on working on the dairy farm and also began blogging about her journey at fourleafcloverdairy.blogspot.com.

This brave lady inspires us all to follow our dreams, live each day to the full and grasp life with both hands. Leontien, you truly are a Dairy Hero and we send you our prayers and thoughts during this holiday season and beyond.

Leontien's story was the No. 1 read article in the Progressive Dairyman.

Follow Leontien's journey at http://www.fourleafcloverdairy.blogspot.com or http://www.fourleafcloverdairy.com. Show her your support at http://www.facebook.com/LoveForLeontien

Leontien convinced her family to move to America
and all work on the dairy farm.

Nomination Form