Mac Pate, owner of Mac Pate Dairy in Maryville, Tenn., has been named a 2010 Members of Distinction by his milk marketing cooperative, Dairy Farmers of America, Inc. (DFA). Pate was honored at the Cooperative’s Annual Meeting in March.
DFA’s Members of Distinction program recognizes members who excel on their operations, in their communities and in the industry. Honorees inspire others through their actions, leadership and involvement, and represent the best of the dairy industry. Each year, one notable member farm from each of DFA’s seven Areas is selected to receive this honor.
Pate began dairying on his father’s operation in 1949 when haying and feeding was done by hand and milk was stored in cans. When he took over the farm, he eventually built a double-six herringbone parlor. Today, he milks 200 Holsteins on 265 acres. He also farms 1,200 acres of corn, wheat and soybeans.
Seven loyal, full-time workers-some who have been with Pate for 30 years-assist him, and Pate’s wife, Barbara, who keeps the books, all help this Gold Standard Dairy achieve success.
Pate was one of the first producers in the country to artificially inseminate his herd in order to get high-producing Holsteins with excellent quality milk. The result is one of the highest-producing herds in the state with a rolling herd average of 29,700 pounds and more than 1,000 pounds of fat per month.
Ten years ago, when the buzz in the industry was about freestall barns, Pate built a pack barn, which allowed his cows to walk around and choose where they wanted to rest. Today, dairy industry experts are touting the benefits of pack barns, which offer improved cow comfort and ease of reclining and rising for adolescent, injured or senior cows.
Pate also believes strongly in the importance of participating in the cooperative governing process. Almost from the start, he’s served on cooperative boards or councils. Most recently, he was elected to a two-year term on DFA’s Southeast Area Council.