Bomaz Farms: Thinking ahead
Thursday, August 30, 2018
Posted by: Joanna Guza, digital communications manager
Incorporating their dairy farm in 1974 was a smart move for Bob Zwald Sr. and his wife, Mary. It allowed their sons, Bob and Greg, to buy into the business and ensure that the assets moved to the next generation.
In 1994, they moved from a traditional 100-cow tie-stall barn to a 400-cow
freestall barn and parlor. Smaller expansions followed. Six years ago, Greg moved on to start his own pick-your-own berry and vegetable farm, and the next generation joined Bob and his wife, Kay, on the farm. Currently, Bob and Kay, Steve and Annette Schalla, and Tom and Ashley Zwald own Bomaz Farms in Hammond.
DBA: What are you most proud of on your farm?
Bomaz: We are proud of working with the next generation and seeing them set and reach their goals.
DBA: What sustainable practices are you using on the farm and what benefits have you seen?
Bomaz: We recycle water and sand, use different crop rotations, no-till and
minimum-till. We also plant perennial crops like alfalfa, maintain effective waterway drainage, use split nitrogen application, an integrated pest management program, tissue testing and a 590 Nutrient Management Plan. It has helped us to create the best environment for our animals, our land and our families to continue to thrive.
DBA: What advice would you offer to young farmers?
Bomaz: Do what you are passionate about and always keep your goals in mind.
DBA: What technologies have you incorporated that have benefited your business?
Bomaz: IVF and embryo transfer help us to capture genetic progress on the female and male side of the pedigree.
DBA: How do you engage the non-farming public about dairy farming?
Bomaz: We engage through social media, school tours and a summer picnic.
DBA: What do you see as major challenges and opportunities facing the dairy community in the future?
Bomaz: We strive to manage the same in good years and bad. If there’s fat to be trimmed, you should trim it. Obviously, that only goes so far, and it’s been a bad cycle. We try to remain in positive spirits and capitalize on the parts of business that are going well while remaining focused to improve those that are struggling. We do follow feed and milk prices and will contract when the right opportunities come along.
DBA: If you were talking to people who do not have a connection to agriculture, what would you want to tell them about your farm?
Bomaz: We strive to have happy, healthy and productive cows. We ensure they have clean, fresh sand beds, access to food and water all day, and protection from Mother Nature and all of her various elements. We take care of the land and animals and they take care of us.
DBA: You have been a member of DBA since October 2013. What benefit do you find most helpful?
Bomaz: DBA provides a dairy-focused voice at the Capitol in Madison.