John Andrew Austin,
Austin Family Dairy Farm
Waste Management/Manure Spreader
Grant Award: $6,000
Andrew is purchasing a manure spreader to assist with waste management on his dairy farm. The manure spreader allows him to fertilize 30 acres of pasture and 40 acres of corn silage fields using manure from their cows, increasing grass production and saving in commercial fertilizer costs.
“One major problem we have is what to do with all the cow manure,” Andrew said. “Currently the manure is dumped in piles on the farm and rarely used. A manure spreader enables us to turn a liability into an asset.”
Andrew is doubling the size of his herd from 50 milking cows to 100, bringing in a higher profit and allowing him to hire additional employees for the farm.
This project also helps the farm move toward building a processing facility. Andrew currently sells raw milk to a wholesaler, Piedmont Milk Sales.
Andrew has been a full-time farmer since 2014. In December 2013, Andrew and his family took over a dairy farm first started by John’s grandfather and great uncle in the 1960s. At one time 50 dairies were in Yancey County. Now there are two.
“I grew up on this farm and don’t know any other way of life,” Andrew said. “I had an idyllic childhood, raising calves, planting and harvesting corn as well as milking cows. Growing up, my friends would rather come to our house and work on the farm than go anywhere else. I want my future children, nieces, nephews and those of my friends to experience that same life I had.”
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