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Mast family continues Valley farm tradition

Mast family continues Valley farm tradition

Cal Mast and his two sons, Stephen and Jason, work together on their dairy each day to produce milk which is later sold to the Hilmar Cheese Company.

POSTED October 25, 2013 5:15 p.m.

As third generation members of the dairy industry, Denair residents Cal and Lori Mast have worked hard throughout their lives to help contribute to the high-quality milk produced in California.

Now with roughly 1,000 Holsteins and nearly 1,000 young animals, the Mast family works together to run everyday life at their dairy.

“We have 12 employees and two of our sons, Stephen and Jason, are considered managers,” said Lori Mast. “We have five milkers, a feeder, a calf feed, and three ranch hands who have a variety of responsibilities.”

The day at the dairy begins bright and early at 5 a.m. when the feeder arrives to begin mixing the ration that the cows are fed. Each day, the cows are fed hay, silage, rolled corn and a variety of byproducts including almond hulls, cotton seed and distillers grain.

“A nutritionist comes once a month to formulate the ration to promote optimal health and production from our cows,” explained Mast. “We take great pride in producing a high-quality, nutritious product.”

The calf feeder also begins his day at 5 a.m. to prepare feed and help care for the baby calves. According to Cal Mast, the dairy averages about three new calves born in the maternity pin each day.

At 6 a.m., the ranch hands begin moving cows, cleaning the animals’ pens, watching for cows that are ready to calve, irrigating and assisting with cattle care and facility maintenance.

“We milk our cows twice a day with two milkers per shift,” said Mast. “The shifts begin at 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., so there is something going on at the dairy 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and 365 days a year.”

The milk produced at their dairy is turned into cheese after being sold to the Hilmar Cheese Company.

“We place a lot of emphasis on a healthy, comfortable environment for our cows because that is the way to get the best quality milk,” said Mast. “We are proud to be able to provide food for the world, as Hilmar Cheese Company products are not only consumed in California, but in many, many other places on this earth.”

Aside from milking the cows on their dairy, Cal and Lori’s company, D&M Ag, farms approximately 220 acres growing corn and winter forage. By recycling, using byproducts and reusing water, the Mast family strongly values using their resources efficiently.

“Our goal is to do everything in the most efficient and environmentally-friendly way possible to maximize the quality of feed for our cattle,” said Mast.

Having grown up surrounded by the dairy industry, three of their four adult children chose to follow in their footsteps and continue the family dairy tradition.

Their daughter Rebekah works for World Wide Sires, a dairy genetics company that requires her to travel internationally on a regular basis. Two of their sons, Stephen and Jason, also work on the family dairy.

“Stephen manages the animals, from birth on up. He makes decisions regarding what bulls to breed the cows to, what vaccines to use to keep them healthy, when and how to treat them if they are sick, and works with our vet several times a month to evaluate the animals,” said Lori. “Jason also works for us and oversees the farming side of our business, making decisions about things like what seed to plant, irrigation schedules, and nutrient management for the crops. He also oversees the equipment maintenance.”

Their other son, Nathan, is a helicopter pilot in the U.S. Marine Corp and is currently stationed in San Diego with his wife and two children.


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