Minerva Dairy Wraps Up Another 4-H Year.
Minerva Dairy is kept busy during the summer
participating in several area county fairs. This year the
counties that promoted the Cheese Production Contest were
Carroll, Columbiana, Stark, Mahoning, and Portage. Seventy
seven baskets were sold bringing the total earnings to $113,425.00.
Minerva Dairy donated a total of 775 pounds of cheese and
butter this year for the auctioned baskets. Besides cheese
and butter, the Dairy provided a custom-designed t-shirt,
cooler bags, and lab personnel for each 4-H and FFA member
that participated in the project.
Some of the counties sell additional baskets
to raise money for their dairy committees, scholarship funds,
and judging teams. This year Stark County presented three
$1000 scholarships to deserving youth, enabling them to further
their education. Stark County also supports their Dairy Judging
Teams and sold a basket at the auction. The funds raised provide
the opportunity for the team members to travel to competitions
and other events.
Phil Mueller, Minerva Dairy CEO and fourth generation, and
Adam Mueller and Venae Watts, both fifth generation, provide
everything needed for all the 4-H and FFA youth in order to
learn about the dairy industry, and hopefully, their experience
in the project will lead them towards becoming involved in
a dairy-related career later on.
Minerva Dairy sponsors local 4-H Groups.
It is fair season in Ohio and once again Minerva
Dairy is sponsoring the local 4-H groups. This is the dairy's
28th year donating cheese and butter to be auctioned off for
the 4-H dairy cheese project. This year at the Carroll County
Fair, Minerva Dairy donated five Minerva Dairy coolers filled
with cheese and butter to the junior fair. The five participants
were given a newly designed T-shirt advertising Minerva dairy's
The coolers were auctioned off for an impressive
total of $9,700.
Show your Love for Stark County
at Minerva Businesses.
Minerva's Grinders Above and Beyond,
the Market Street Art Spot, and Minerva
Dairy invite area residents to visit and show their
love for Stark County by having their picture taken with the
I Heart Stark sign Photos should be submitted to email@example.com,
along with name, address, and phone number, by Tuesday, July
All submissions are automatically entered
to win a $250 Gas Card. Entries are limited
to one per person, per location, but the more businesses a
person visits, the more chances he has to win. Other prizes
will be awarded for the Best Photo, Most
Creative Photo, Judge's Choice and
one to the person who submits photos from the most businesses.
Grinders Above and Beyond is located at 404 E. Lincoln Way;
the Market Street Art Spot, at 219 N. Market St.; and Minerva
Dairy, at 430 Radloff Ave.
Minerva Chamber Kicks off Homecoming
Members of the Minerva Area Chamber of Commerce
kicked off the Homecoming with an informal lunch June 20 at
the Minerva Lion's Community Civic Club food stand. Minerva
Dairy employees (from left) Joe Craig, Patti Colon, Ray Goel,
Darrell Shirley, Rusty Kaser and Ricky Goodin enjoy lionburgers
on their lunch break.
Minerva Chamber Recognizes Minerva
Dairy for Economic Development.
By Kimberly Lewis News
Leader Staff Writer
The Minerva Area Chamber of Commerce recognized
five local businesses for economic development and their service
to the community during the annual banquet Wednesday, April
18, at the White House at Edgewater Golf Course. President
Dave Hank congratulated the winners, explaining the 2011 winners
would present the awards to the 2012 honorees. The awards
presented included small business, large business, new/emerging
business, economic development and community appreciation.
the rest of the Article Here.
Little Family Farm, Named Century
Minerva Dairy Proud to be Associated with this Long
Standing Farm Relationship.
By ELIZABETH PARKER
News Leader Staff Writer
Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI —
The Little family of East Rochester in Columbiana County is
a close-knit farm family that enjoys working hard together
on their Ohio Century Farm. Becoming an Ohio Century Farm
is not an easy task, but it was something Sue Little was determined
to do for her father-in-law, Delmar Little, as a Christmas
present. "To be named on Ohio Century Farm, you have
to provide proof from the deeds that blood relatives have
owned the property for 100 years," explained Sue. "I
spent an afternoon in the recorder's office gathering all
the paperwork that the state needed, and found documents showing
the Little family had been here for at least 105 years."
Sue learned that Thomas Little came from Stark County to the
area to start a dairy farm 105 years ago. She found that possibly
Thomas' wife's family had worked the farm before that, but
was unable to locate the documented proof needed.
"I started the project a little late,
so I called while our application was still in process and
they allowed me to go ahead and purchase the sign because
our documentation looked good," said Sue. "But we
got the word by mail that our application was approved just
a few days before Christmas so I was able to give him the
signed certificate from the governor for Christmas also."
The farm is named Wild Duck Farm in honor
of a nearby small school that used to serve the area.
Today, Mike and Sue Little, their son J.D.
Little, nephews Damion and Nat Wallace, great niece Nattallee
Wallace and great nephew Lincoln Wallace all have active roles
in the farm. Mike's father, Delmar, is retired, but still
lives on the main farm. The Littles have diversified the operation
with the addition of two chicken barns, and are contract growers
for Case Farms Chicken.
"Sue and I, Damien and Nat are all
partners in the operation, but, of my six siblings, five of
us settled right here within two miles of the farm, so we
have many nieces and nephews, great-nieces and great-nephews
who are here all the time working along with us," explained
Mike. "We are a many-generation family operation."
The chicken operation is handled mainly by Sue and Mike, while
Damion and Nat handle the dairy operation.
The chicken barns were built six years ago. These large barns
are 60 feet wide by 600 feet long and will hold 37,000 chickens
for each eight-week growing period.
The chickens run free range within the barn
and are fed by an automatic auger system that adjusts for
the age of the chickens. Fresh water is provided constantly
by an automatic watering system. "In one growing period
a flock will eat 600 to 620 tons of feed," explained
Mike. "They will drink 7,000 to 8,000 gallons of water
a day and we are lucky to have plenty of water." The
air in the barn is kept as fresh as possible with 21 fans
pumping air in from the outside. The barns are heated in the
winter by propane and kept cool in the summer by a curtain
water cooling system. The walls and ceiling are well insulated.
"We are able to run five to six flocks
through a year," said Mike. "We clean the barns
totally out twice a year, but de-crust the barns between flocks
each time." Between each flock, the fans are cleaned
and the barns are blown free of dust and dirt with a large
leaf blower. The chickens produce 1,000 tons of manure a year
and the Littles sell about 600 tons, while keeping 400 for
use on their own fields. "We have people lined up to
purchase the manure," explained Sue. "Our barns
are dry barns so the manure is very light and powdered, so
it is easy to spread and is excellent fertilizer." These
modern barns are totally computerized. Systems in the barn
are able to help the Littles keep track of temperature, water
pressure, feed use, ammonia levels and even the weight of
the chickens. The barns are equipped with back-up generators,
as well as an alarm system, should anything go wrong.
"If we lose power in the barns, we
could lose an entire flock in 20 minutes," explained
Mike. "The alarm system will call us first and if we
don't answer, it has a list of our local relatives and it
will keep calling down the list until it gets a human voice."
The barns are walked three times a day to check chicken health
and to pick up deceased birds. No antibiotics are used on
the chickens and everything is kept as natural as possible.
The birds are brought in as little chicks and are delivered
to the farm the same day they hatch. "They come on what
they call the chick bus," said Sue. "The chicks
come in large crates and those little things hit the ground
While the birds are small, the barn is kept
at 92 degrees with a lot of light provided by 100-watt bulbs.
The temperature in the barn and the light are slowly decreased
as the flock grows, and the barn will end up at about 66 degrees
by the end of an eight-week growing period when the chickens
are at just about eight pounds. "We work hard to ensure
flock health," said Mike. "The barns are locked
and we are very careful about who comes and goes."
On the dairy side of the operation, Nat and Damion milk a
90-cow herd of Jerseys, Holsteins, Brown Swiss and Ayrshire
cattle twice a day in a double-six parlor. The herd is about
80 percent Holstein, with some of the other breeds mixed in
to help with the butterfat content of the milk. "We have
about a 60 pound a day herd average with about 4.2 butterfat,"
explained Mike. "Our milk is shipped to Minerva Dairy."
The Jersey cattle and the Brown Swiss cattle in the herd are
registered and the family will take these cows to the Carroll,
Columbiana and Canfield fairs to show."J.D. enjoys showing
his Brown Swiss cattle," explained Sue. "He even
had a senior picture taken with his favorite."
The Littles farm 300 acres and run a double-crop
system for some of their acreage. In the summer, their fields
are used to grow corn for silage, and, once the corn is taken
off, a crop of rye is planted for the fall and winter. They
also make wet and dry hay to feed the herd. A ration mixer
is put together by a nutritionist to be certain the cows are
getting the vitamins and minerals that are needed for herd
health. The Littles work toward breeding strong, healthy cattle
with the help of their artificial-insemination technician,
Brent Baker. "We work to keep our operation simple and
keep equipment costs down," explained Mike. "All
the work is done by family, with my sisters helping with the
chickens and my son and nieces and nephews working wherever
they are needed."
Mike and Sue explained that having off-the-farm
jobs has also helped through the years. J.D. will graduate
from Minerva High School this spring and plans to follow in
his grandfather and father's footsteps by working off the
farm, as well as being an active part of the operation. This
hard-working family has no current plans to expand their farm;
however, they do plan to continue to run a strong, well-managed
operation in Columbiana County for generations to come.
Minerva Lace wins award at U.S.
Championship Cheese Competition.
Third place in the Open Class Semi-Soft Category
Lambeau Field, Green Bay, WI —
Out of the 1,602 entries in 76 categories Minerva Lace received
the third place award in the very competitive Open Class Semi-Soft
Cheese Category. Minerva Lace received a score of 98.50, which
was a quarter point away from achieving best of class. First
place with a score of 98.75 was an Organic Farmstead Spring
Cheese from Oakvale, CA. Second place with 98.60 was a Ricotta
Salata from BelGioioso.
Adam Mueller, 5th Generation Cheesemaker
and President of Minerva Dairy, said “Winning an award
in this category is very special to us because of the diversity
of amazing cheeses. Tomme, Fontina, Ricotta, and Organic cheeses
can all be found in this category. Our Lace Sales have been
growing at an exceptional rate, and this award reflects the
quality of our products that our customers have grown to love.”
More about the U.S. Championship Cheese Competition
This competition is rooted in more than
120 years of history, beginning when the Wisconsin Cheese
Makers Association held its first cheese contest in 1891.
In recent years, the United States Championship Cheese Contest
has flourished, more than doubling in size (141 percent growth)
since 2001. This year twenty-six experts evaluated over 30,000
pounds of cheese and butter over a three day period at Lambeau
Field in Green Bay, WI.
More About Minerva Dairy
Minerva Dairy Inc, a SQF certified facility, was founded in
1894 when 1st Generation Max P. Radloff established Radloff
Cheese in Hustisford, WI. Max Radloff expanded into Ohio after
purchasing the PET Milk facility in Minerva, Ohio. Today,
from a supply of milk from small family farms, Minerva Dairy
offers contract services for a wide variety of cheeses, including
Cheddar, Swiss, Italian, and Kosher styles. Minerva Dairy
is also famous for the Original Amish Roll Butter which is
Naturally Cultured in small batches for the bakery, confection
and retail sale.
Our Annual Minerva Dairy Christmas
It was a beautiful snowy day for our Annual
Employee Christmas Party. The Hart Mansion overlooking Minerva
Downtown was decorated in true holiday spirit. Every year
we host a Holiday Christmas Party for all our Minerva Dairy
employees 5 years and up. Phil has a tradition of awarding
employees for each 5 years with our company. The more years
with the company the larger the gift.
As with our yearly tradition, we also play
a Chrsitmas game with prizes. Everyone gets a prize This year
as employees arrived to the party we placed a Santa Hat on
each one with a Christmas character on the front of the hat.
No one was allowed to see what character they got. Each employee
had to ask others a yes or no question about their character.
Some of our characters were Rudolph, Tiny Tim, The Grinch
and Cousin Eddie from Christmas Vacation. The first to guess
received a number, the second to guess received the next number
and so on……The numbers were really sought after.
It ranked you in better to worse position for the Next Holiday
gift game we played. The game that followed included create
prizes…from an X box 360, A Night a Kalahari indoor
water park, Red Christmas Wii and a labradoodle puppy. (Miley’s
Venae’s puppy is due Jan. 8th. ) If interested in a
puppy please contact venae at 330-868-4196 Ext. 9123 or firstname.lastname@example.org
- Everyone walked away with something from the game.
Phil also passes out envelopes with money
to all the employees. This year Phil added an old fashion
dice betting game. He had an undisclosed amount of money in
the pot. All took a chance at rolling the Dice and our winner
was Kelley Pennock.
5th Generation Wishes You a Merry
A newsletter with family highlights and business
happenings for a year in review.
State of the Industry - Butter.
Here is a great article about the emerging
popularity of premium butter. Butter gets a boost from home
chefs, but lower-priced products have broad appeal. Download
the entire article below on the link provided.
Minerva Dairy Proud Supporter of
the Northern Ohio Outlaws.
Cowboy Mounted Shooting® is one of the
nation’s fastest growing equestrian sports. Mounted
contestants compete in this fast action timed event using
two .45 caliber single action revolvers each loaded with five
rounds of specially prepared blank ammunition. Courses of
fire are set in a variety of patterns. The first half (5 targets)
of a course of fire will vary with each go and requires the
horse and rider to stop, turn, change leads and accelerate
rapidly. The second half (5 targets), called the "run
down", is a straight course with targets set at 36 foot
Letters of Support/Thank You from
the AshlandCounty Fair.
2010 Stark County 4-H Cheese.
Front Row: Evan Kiko, Nick
Thomas, Grand Champion Cheese Jacob Campbell, Reserve Champion
Cheese Katie Wallace and Allison Haas. Back Row:
Adam Ramsey, Jonah Dawson, Jacob Dawson and Andrea Thomas.
Minerva Dairy Continues Its Years
Of Supporting Area 4-H.
Minerva Dairy continues to support the local
4-H dairy members by providing cheese
and butter for the county junior fair cheese auctions. In
addition to the cheese and butter, the Dairy provides the
Lab and its personnel in determining each cow’s production,
and each participant receives this year’s newly designed
t-shirt. Minerva Dairy “kicked off” its 26th.
year of support with the Columbiana County Fair Cheese Auction,
held on Thursday, August 5.
The number of Columbiana County dairy participants
grew to 28 this year from last year’s 16. More than
500 pounds of cheese and butter, donated by the Dairy, were
presented in baskets for the auction. Grand Champion was won
by Brian Crist of the Barnyard Buddies 4-H Club. His cow produced
enough milk to make 11.8# of cheese per day. Based on a 305
days’ lactation, this cow would produce about 3600#
of cheese per year. Reserve Champion was awarded to Autumn
Whiteleather, whose cow produced 10.7# of cheese per day.
The 2010 Columbiana County Cheese Auction
raised $17,875 for the youth members. Grand Champion sold
for $1000.00, and this year’s average basket sold for
$638.00. Additional cheese auctions and donations are scheduled
for Stark, Portage, and Mahoning counties. “We congratulate
all the winners and hope that this dairy competition has been
a learning experience for them”, says Phil Mueller,
Minerva Dairy owner and president.
Made for: Food service
industry, private labels to grocery chains and manufacturers
for use as ingredients across the 48 continental states. Butter,
salted and unsalted, is sold under the Minerva Dairy label,
for private labels, and to food service and food manufacturers.
Production: 40,000 pounds
of cheese daily; 30,000 pounds of butter churned weekly.
Employment: Number of people employed in Stark County:
Years: the company has manufactured the product in
The company made its first vat of cheese here in 1935, but
began in Wisconsin in 1894.
Leadership/Ownership: Fourth generation family owner
Phil R. Mueller (president), and fifth generation owners Mark
Banner (process control and producer relations manager) and
Venae Banner (treasurer and marketing director).
Other Products: Kosher cheese. Gift basket selections
that can be sent anywhere in the U.S.
A retail outlet in front of the factory, with cheeses, gift
baskets and other merchandise.