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April 07, 2020 |

Dairy Farm Consults with Feed Co-op on Expansion

When looking to expand, Van Der Geest Dairy used United Cooperative's knowledge to select a builder

Photo: AGRA Industries

Van Der Geest Dairy originated outside of Wausau, WI, in 1969. The farm consisted of 120 acres and a 17-cow barn. Today, the Van Der Geest family owns and operates 4,000 acres, with more than 3,000 Holstein dairy cattle.

While brainstorming ways to address their aging facilities, reduce material shrink, and operate more efficiently, the family soon came to realize they needed to move forward with another expansion.

Photo: AGRA IndustriesThey began discussing their plans with United Cooperative, which sells them commodities and produces their blended feed.

"United Cooperative recommended AGRA Industries, who has engineered, fabricated, and built most of their facilities in Wisconsin," says Lee Van Der Geest. "We are now able to store 44 tons total of mineral mix, canola, soy meal, whole corn and ground corn."

Van Der Geest and Jason Mell are partners of the family operation.

United Cooperative is an agricultural supply cooperative based in Beaver Dam, WI. They supply feed, grain, agronomy, and energy products to farmers and consumers in the Midwest.

AGRA Industries, located in Merrill, WI, is a leader in innovative material handling, drying, and bulk storage solutions, as well as practical engineering and quick turnaround times.

Overall, the project took four months to build. AGRA started engineering in November and just finished commissioning in March.

"AGRA did a great job dealing with the holidays and the winter weather," says Van Der Geest. "It was impressive to see all 11 bins installed in just a few days.”

Now that the system is commissioned, Van Der Geest Dairy is able to save two to three hours per day.

“We would not change one thing," says Van Der Geest. "We have a fantastic product that is accurate and saving us time immediately.”

“Lee and his family’s farm mean so much to the economy here in Central Wisconsin," says Ernest Hinner, vice president of sales and marketing at AGRA Industries. "This was an exciting project for our team, as this was the debut of our pre-assembled bin system. The construction phase was safe and fast, and our client is ecstatic.” 

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