The Sky is the Limit

Now-seasoned Texas dairy farmer Harry DeWit is living the American dream. DeWit emigrated from Holland over 30 years ago with the vision to own a dairy operation. In 1992, his family leased a property with 2,500 cows—laying the groundwork for Blue Sky Farms, while also setting in motion new opportunities, meaningful partnerships and innovation.

Blue Sky is a multi-site dairy and farming business nestled in the panhandle of Texas. It produces an impressive 175,000 gallons of milk per day, while also raising its own heifers and growing crops to feed them.

Blue Sky is very active within its local communities, which are located in small, rural areas. It also provides career opportunities to 330 employees and has formed important relationships with 23 additional shareholders to expand its business model.

“Our employees not only work for us, but are given the opportunity to grow alongside us. We are an active group of people who truly see a big blue sky and bright future for agriculture,” DeWit said.

We’ve recently ramped up our leasing needs and CoBank has captured savings we can’t get anywhere else.

Blue Sky is a forward-thinking operation, using innovation to promote animal care and provide high-quality milk for consumers.

Not only does the farm recycle its bedding and water, it utilizes energy-saving methods for its milking parlor, including LED lighting and controllers to automatically maintain temperature. The farm is also working on its nutrient management plan to maximize the crop lifecycle for a full-circle system—cows eat the feed, which is converted into milk, then the nutrients in the manure are used to fertilize the soil, producing a new set of crops.

“You don’t have to be traditional to be successful,” DeWit said. “Little ideas can equal big wins and we are constantly thinking outside-of-the-box to improve.”

In order to maintain its innovative approach and expansion plans, the dairy needs well-placed investments and up-to-date equipment. Blue Sky forged its relationship with CoBank over a decade ago, and throughout the years and steady growth, it has utilized the bank’s Farm Credit Leasing subsidiary to finance various equipment needs, including fleet farm tractors and loaders.

“We’ve recently ramped up our leasing needs and CoBank has captured savings we can’t get anywhere else. That, coupled with its competitive rates, makes it very valuable—especially with our newest expansion plan that is underway,” DeWit said.

As part of this expansion, the farm entered into a new deal with Hilmar Cheese Company in 2022, where it will be one of five dairies to collaborate with the plant. This integration will double the size of the farm’s milk production and grow its footprint into Kansas by 2025.

“With well-placed partnerships, the sky is the limit,” DeWit said.

This story was originally published in the CoBank 2023 Annual Report.