There is no one quite like the Singing Dairyman, Will Gilmer.
You see Will is not only a third generation dairy farmer from Alabama, but he also has his own YouTube channel where he uses his own voice and creativity to help tell the story of his family’s farm. When it comes to telling his family farm’s story, he is definitely one of kind. Whether it is through their farm website, farm blog, twitter, Facebook, or YouTube, Will is always finding fun ways to help tell others about his cows and his family farm.
Currently, Will and his wife, Joni, live on the family farm with their two children. Gilmer Dairy Farms milks an average of 200 cows a day and grows all the forages needed for the cows. Will is a partner with his dad, David, and shares in the operation’s day-to-day management and labor responsibilities. Will keeps the herd, crop, and fertilizer records, and maintains the farm website and social media channels.
When it comes to telling his family farm’s story, Will covers a broad area of topics from silly to serious topics, but he always tries to be informative and entertaining especially when it comes to animal care and sustainability. You see as a livestock farmer myself, I know first hand how important the care of the animals is to a livestock farmer. It is our top priority and it is no different on Gilmer Dairy Farm. Additionally, when you live on the land, another top priority is making sure we leave it in better shape than we found it for the next generation.
On Gilmer Dairy Farm, their milking cows spend most of their time on pasture or a drylot. Their primary bermuda grass pasture for the milking herd includes access to shade, water troughs, and a feeding area the cows can enter and exit free-choice. They also have access to two shade barns equipped with fans, misters, and water troughs that help cool them during the summer. The cows are regularly examined by a veterinarian and are observed daily for signs of potential sickness or lameness. When a problem arises, they take appropriate action to restore the cow’s health and comfort. A dairy nutritionist formulates a balanced total-mixed-ration (TMR) diet consisting of forages, grain products, and vitamins for our cows. They supplement their TMR with seasonal grazing in other pastures adjacent to the milking facility.
In regards to sustainability, Will states “we don’t just work the land…we live on it too! We do our best to protect our soil and water to provide a good home for our cows and for ourselves. We also like to provide “good scenery” for our neighbors as they drive by the farm. By using erosion control techniques such as no-till cropping, residue management, and buffer strips, we maximize the soil’s ability to produce quality pasture and forages year after year.”
With the attention that Will and his family put on their cows, the land, and telling their story, it is no wonder that Will was recently chosen by the US Farmers and Ranchers Alliance to be one of their “Faces of Farming & Ranching”. I know I for one am proud to have Will representing farmers and ranchers.
A few years back, The Farmer and I had the amazing experience of serving on the American Farm Bureau Federation Young Farmer & Rancher committee for 2 years. Those 2 years changed our lives and we gained many life-long friends. Will and his wife, Joni, were two of those amazing people and we may have just been lucky enough to hear him sing this famous song live…