John and Nicole Santos, owners and operators of Santos dairies one and two in Turlock, took home the Collective Bargainers award devoted to excellence in dairy operation at the 2012 National farmers Convention on Jan. 31 in Des Moines, Iowa.
The couple made the decision to join the National Farmers Organization in 2009 when their heifers began to calf and faced the decision to either sell or milk the cows. The NFO was looking for new producers and the Santos’ pursued the opportunity.
The Santos dairy started off with a mere 200 cows and a single dairy and managed to accumulate their numbers to 800 in the past couple years as well as open a second dairy, “John and Nicole Santos Dairy #2,” in late 2011. The milk award they received, the Collective Bargainers award, was due to their dedication of fast expansion.
With their success at the convention, the Santos’ are aiming to eliminate their limiting space issues and combine both dairies into one larger dairy, where their 800 cows can be harbored collectively.