Wish They Were My Neighbors

Wish They Were My Neighbors

Rodney and Dorothy Elliott, who operate Drumgoon Dairy, at Lake Norden, S.D., are making an impact on their local economy.

Need a calf to put on a cow who lost hers? Go to Drumgoon Dairy.

Need some colostrum at midnight? Go to Drumgoon Dairy.

Did hail or frost damage your corn? Go to Drumgoon Dairy.

Want a good deal on manure to fertilize corn? Go to Drumgoon Dairy.

Want to plant corn silage and alfalfa knowing you'll a market for it? Go to Drumgoon Dairy.

You'll find that Rodney Elliott – who operates Drumgoon Dairy at Lake Norden, S.D., with his wife Dorothy – is always looking for a "win win deal" with his neighbors.

"We try to be good neighbors," he says. "We try to help when we can."

It's always a business strategy.

The Elliotts milk 1,800 cows and raise all their young stock. They don't farm themselves. Instead, they buy about $4.5 million worth of corn, corn silage, hay and other feeds from their neighbors and ag processing plants in northeast South Dakota each year.

They employ 30-35 people fulltime and part-time. About 1/3 of their staff are neighbors or are from nearby towns. Some are sons and daughters of local farmers.

They've bought some cropland adjacent to their dairy for "security" from hobby farm encroachment. A neighbor custom farms it for them.

"I couldn't be a good farmer and a good dairyman," Rodney says. "I'd be pulled in too many directions."

They sell manure to spread on 2,000 acres each year. They have 10,000 acres contracted for manure spreading. They price the manure so that it is a good deal for the buyer and seller.

"I believe we can always find the win-win," Rodney says.

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