Hilmar Cheese Company: Ahlem Dairy Managers Complete and Implement Dairy Stockmanship Education and Training Courses and win the “2015 Innovative Dairy Farmer of the Year Award”

See 1/7/2015 On-line AgWeb Award Article

See 1/7/2015 Farm Journal Magazine Award Article

DAIRY STOCKMANSHIP© is offered by professional veterinarians, animals scientists, producers, animal trainers and university educators. Efficient handling of cattle is centered around understanding how cattle learn and applying that knowledge in the pasture, in the barn, in the parlor, and on/off transport. Dairy Stockmanship is comprised of seminar education for producers, animal scientists, dairy scientists, farm staff and veterinarians. Dairy Stockmanship© is essential hands-on training, downloadable education modules for new staff, updating staff, and for any person handling cattle anywhere.


Mr. James Ahlem, Owner James Ahlem Dairy, Principle Hilmar Cheese, Vice-chair Dairy Management Incorporated, Turlock, California – 2014: “This program is a very valuable thing we can offer our producers; it’s good PR for us and our employees. It is good for the whole industry and consumers, and a very positive program. It takes the argument away from activists. I have served on the National Dairy Board and DMI and animal well-being is a very important issue that is constantly being addressed, and this program is a great example of positive things that can be done to enhance our dairy farmer image.” “Certificate Photo”

Mr. Frank Dinis, Manager, Charles Ahlem Dairies – 2014: “I have seen a great response by the handlers. There are so many variables on a dairy that are out of our control that we need to focus on the variables we can control, like handler education. I have 70-80 employees, and if even 50% are better educated and therefore better handlers than last year, that is great. It is harder to train people than animals. Outside people have commented that our cows are calmer and our herds quieter than they have seen on other dairies. On dairies where personnel were trained by Dr. Höglund a (year and a half ago), we have seen a 50% reduction in worker injuries as well as maintaining an increase in milk production every year.”  “Certificate Photo”

Mr. Danny Avila, Manager, 19 years at Clauss Dairies, Hilmar California – 2014: “I am really happy that we have this opportunity. I also like how the training was set up that only two handlers had to be absent from their own dairy while attending the course and that handlers from different dairies are learning together. The hands-on portion is the most important part of the program because that is when the handlers actually and physically buy-in to the concepts and techniques. For example, realizing that bottle feeding contributes to why cows always face the handlers was eye-opening to the fact that we create our own problems and training hurdles when we ask the cows to move away from us.”  “Certificate Photo”

Mr. Joe Monteiro, Manager 33 years at Jim and Grant Ahlem Diaries – 2014: “I think the on-site training is the most important part of the program. It would be nice to have refresher trainings. The next modules must bring in new information to keep the attention of the staff.”

Mr. Grant Ahlem, Owner/Operator of James Ahlem Dairy – 2014: “You’ve got to do it. I have seen the modules but have gotten a hundred times more with seeing the presentation in person and working in the pens. It is completely different watching the techniques and doing it. Real situations arise in the pens that don’t happen on the modules. As an owner, we are constantly asked what and how we are training the cows and this course is an answer. It is important that the training follows through from owners to managers to handlers. And, this training can be done without disruption to the work schedule.”  “Certificate Photo”

Mr. Jesus Rojas, Manager 15 years at Tim Wickstrom Dairy, Hilmar California – 2014: “Concepts in the presentation were new in a good way. In the pens, the cows were actually doing what we had discussed before entering the pens. I feel very positive about the course. If we train the calves now when they are young, in two years we can train the adult cows with less effort and safely. It is about us (herdsman); we need to be trained.”  “Certificate Photo”

Mr. Laurenio Vitorino, 21 years at Vance Ahlem Dairies, Hilmar Dairies – 2014: “Now that I have seen this program I say absolutely, yes. We think a lot of things we are doing we think we are doing right and there is a lot of room for improvement. My job will be easier after everyone is trained. The animals will be calmer and there will be less employee injuries. You get more out of your employees with proper training. This program is perfect for addressing animal well-being. You remove the yelling at cows, and that makes them calmer. I was listening to my employees after I took the course and found things I wanted to change in my dairy. I have already talked to my milkers about reducing the noise. If you come to the course with an open mind, that’s when it works. It’s good that it is not just the herdsmen (managers) but also the handlers that are taking the course so that the handlers know they are appreciated by the owners.” “Certificate Photo”

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To discuss current introduction to dairy stockmanship and future dairy, key-station humane handling modules please contact Dr. Don Höglund.


Be sure to ask for information about how to schedule your classroom and on-farm, hands-on training. Hilmar Dairies did!

Welcome to Dairy Stockmanship©
IMG_2293 Although dairy operations can vary widely in size of operation, as well as in housing and parlor design, the fundamental interactions between cattle and people are quite similar. These fundamental interactions are independent of the size of the dairy as well as the type of housing system. Anyone that works with cattle should receive dairy stockmanship training. Dairy Stockmanship© education and training has recently been conducted nationally and internationally. Dairy Stockmanship education was presented at the AVMA Convention, at the NAVC, and at Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin and for the valuable Rennaissance Nutrition Company at Bucknell University. With more than fifty (50) presentations in Ontario, Canada including presenting at the Dairy Farmers of Ontario annual meeting. Dairy Stockmanship educators have been honored to present and train for the professional Nieuwland Feed Company, for CanWest DHI and friends – profitable dairy management, for DeLaval and Lely automated dairy systems companies, for Harmony Organic producers - an environmentally conscious company, and at the informative, Grey Bruce Agriculture gathering. In Finland in 2013 Dairy Stockmanship educators presented for Mr. Jouni Pitkäranta and “Homes for Cows” and completed andother standard and automated milking systems education opportunity in August 2014.

Dairy Stockmanship© education is producer centric and science-based.

Harvesting material requires written permission.

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 ART BY Dr. Heather Beveridge DVM 2013

New Book Coming! 

LOOK: New January 2015!

See: Ben and Jerry’s Caring Dairy and University of Vermont Seminars Jan. 17-23, 2015

See: Ben and Jerry’s and University of Vermont TV Spot

See: British Columbia Dairy Expo! January 29, Feb. 27-March 7, 2015

See: Virginia Tech “Cow College” Feb. 18, 2015

See: Hilmar Cheese 1/7/2015 On-line AgWeb Article

See: Hilmar Cheese 2015 Farm Journal Article

See: Hilmar Cheese 2014 Article 1

See: Hilmar Cheese 2014 Article 2


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