Used with permission of the Statesville Record & Landmark

Talley-Ho Farm - Olin, North Carolina

Rick & Beth T.

“As a family farm, we pride ourselves in cow comfort and cow health which results in milk quality – it’s doing all the little things,” Rick said.

Rick and his wife Beth operate Talley-Ho Farm in northern Iredell County, where they milk 350 cows in a double-8 parallel parlor and raise 350 heifers. Both Rick and Beth grew up on farms and the farm they are on today was Beth’s grandfather’s farm.

Rick’s brother-in-law, Lenny K., is the farm’s herdsman and with the help of four employees, they strive to provide the best care for their animals. Rick and Beth have two grown daughters, Ashley and Kasey, who work off the farm. Kasey in her down time as teacher and coach at a local middle school pitches in on weekends and summers on the farm. Ashley still enjoys helping when she is home for a visit. “Our farm has been a great place to raise our daughters,” Rick said.

For cow housing, they have two free stall barns; one bedded with sand and one barn with mattresses, bedded with shavings. Knowing that cows like cooler temperatures, the family placed their newer free stall barn in a way to maximize air flow through the barn. Cows also have access to sprinklers in the holding pen to keep them cool while they wait to be milked. “I think providing the cows with lots of fans and lots of fresh water is important to help keep cows comfortable and healthy in hot humid weather,” Rick said.

Their cows have access to well-balanced and nutritious feed, which is very important to ensure that cows produce high-quality milk. Each cow eats about 115 pounds of nutrient-rich feed and produces about 70 pounds of milk a day. To provide that feed, they grow 450 acres of row crops like corn and small grains. They also have about 220 acres of pasture for their animals.

“Because we want to leave this place better than we found it, we utilize several environmental best management practices on our farm,” Rick said. “We rotate crops, practice no-till farming and use a GPS system to accurately apply fertilizer to our soil exactly where it is needed and to avoid using too much fertilizer.” Rick and Beth also installed fencing in their pasture to keep cows out of the streams and installed waterers throughout the pastures for the cows.

In addition to farming, Beth finds time to help in her community. She volunteers at Matthew 25 Ministries, a local food bank that provides food, clothing and support to members in the northern end of Iredell County.

Farming is very rewarding for the family; they take great pride in being able to help feed their community. “I just love it,” said Rick. “You have to love it or you wouldn’t do it.”