Bob Miller, 28, Dairy Entrepreneur
Jan 06, 2011 01:01AM ● Published by Anonymous
“I’ve always enjoyed farming,” says Bob Miller, founder and owner of Nice Farms Creamery, located halfway between Denton and Federalsburg in Caroline County. “I’m proud of my family and our history as dairy farmers,” he adds.
Miller comes from a long line of dairy farmers, including his parents and grandparents. “Years ago, many people were farmers, and we’re starting to lose that tradition,” he explains. A majority of dairy farmers sell their products to larger creameries that market and distribute to the bigger grocery and supermarket chains, such as Land O’Lakes and Farmland. But Miller wanted to sell his dairy products directly to consumers, so in 2009 he founded Nice Farms Creamery and made his products available primarily at farmers’ markets and to local grocery stores.
The milk produced at Nice Farms Creamery is pasteurized immediately so it stays fresh longer than commercially processed milk, which typically sits for a couple of days before undergoing pasteurization. It’s also free of rBGH (recombinant bovine growth hormone), used by many dairies to increase milk production, and is not homogenized—like it was in the days when milk was delivered in glass bottles and the cream would rise to the top. The yogurt has no added sugar and is available in flavors like blueberry and peach, depending on the time of year.
“I don’t mind going against the grain when I take up a project,” says Miller, who served two combat tours in Iraq as a field artillery officer during the five years he served in the U.S. Army. “As a lieutenant and junior captain, I developed the leadership skills that have given me the confidence and the freedom to interpret things and make decisions.”
Assisted by his wife, Carol, and his younger brother, Miller works full-time at the creamery, where 60 dairy cows graze on the surrounding 201-acre farm owned by his parents. The dairy cattle—Holsteins, Holstein crosses, Jerseys, Dutch Belted, and Milking Shorthorns—spend approximately 21 hours a day, for nine months of the year, in the pasture, grazing primarily on grass and hay. The change of seasons results in a slightly different taste to the milk. Any milk that is not needed for the creamery is currently being sold to commercial creameries for processing. But in the future, as the business expands, Miller hopes to be able to use all of the milk produced on the farm—and he may even start making butter, as well.
“It’s sad how industrial agriculture is ruining our food,” Miller states. “I started the creamery because I wanted to save the farming way of life.” Well, his noble efforts have certainly gotten him off to a good start.
- Nadja Maril