Farming has always been a part of Neil Hertzler’s life. Coming from a long line of dairy farmers, Neil grew up on his family’s farm—a 300-acre property on the rolling hills of Perry County, PA, purchased in 1978 by his father. As an adult, Neil worked with his father for 12 years, before purchasing the farm with his wife, Kilah. The couple now raise AWA dairy cattle at Rock Hollow Dairy in Loysville, Pennsylvania.
The herd of 500 dairy cattle is a mix of breeds, including Holsteins and Jerseys. The animals are rotationally managed on pasture, grazing one section of pasture at a time, before they are moved on to fresh ground. This process not only ensures the cows have access to nutritionally-optimal grasses at all times, but it also gives the pasture time to recover before the cows return to graze again and minimizes the build-up of internal parasites. “We feel the cows thrive on a diverse pasture system, which allows us to care for them more easily,” Neil explains. “A pasture-based system is easier on the cows, easier on us, and easier on the environment.”
Rock Hollow Dairy supplies high-quality milk to nearby AWA-certified Apple Valley Creamery, which produces a range of high-quality dairy products, available directly from their farm store and through their local home delivery service across south-central Pennsylvania. The Hertzlers feel pasture based management produces healthy animals, which in turn leads to a great tasting and healthy product. “We want our customers to be confident the animals are well cared for,” Neil says. The Hertzlers feel their AWA certification provides this assurance.
Neil and Kilah are feeling positive about the future: “We are striving to be good stewards of what we have been given, to raise our family on a farm that is sustainable and productive, to provide a quality product, and to provide a positive environment for the animals and people we work with,” Neil says.
To contact Rock Hollow Dairy for more information email firstname.lastname@example.org.