Jack Dill is a third-generation farmer from Conway, Missouri, where Jack and his partners own and operate Alva Dill and Sons farm. Jack takes pride in his family, farm, and cows and advocating for the dairy industry. The official partnership began in 1979, and the farm has continued to grow to about 980 acres of land.
Jack’s journey in the dairy industry started at an early age by helping on his parent’s farm. At age five, he earned his first calf by helping with the calf chores and working in the hay field. By age 15, his herd had grown to about four milking cows. After Jack graduated high school, unsure of his next steps, he made the decision to keep milking to have the ability to buy land. This was when the official partnership began in 1979. About a year later, when Jack was 18, Jack and his brothers each bought one-third of an 84-acre farm. A couple of years later, the brothers were able to buy another plot of land that connected to their farm. Today, the farm is about 980 acres, and Jack uses some of this land as rental farmland. On the farm, they have about 120 milking cows and 45 head of beef cattle.
Jack believes what sets the Alva Dill and Sons dairy farm apart is that his dairy herd is mostly fed through grazing. The dairy farm does not utilize row crops, only grazing. Because of this, the family focuses heavily on maintaining high-quality pasture by analyzing growth. The cows’ pasture is mainly a mix of clover and grasses, and the family uses fertilizer sparingly on the pasture ground. Another unique aspect of Alva Dill and Sons dairy farm is that they are able to support four families with 125 milking cows and their beef herd.
Jack is a passionate, outgoing, and dedicated farmer. Despite the challenges the farm has faced throughout the years, Jack has remained optimistic and strong in his faith, knowing that no matter what he faces, he will be able to overcome any trials.
As Jack discussed his most impactful moment as a dairy farmer, he reflected on numerous events and has always seen them as an opportunity to learn and grow. Jack also provides the advice that he believes is needed to remain positive and look at the glass as half full. “Position yourself to take opportunities and make good judgment decisions. If you can see what you are capable of, you can do whatever you want to do. Do not do it just because it is easy.”
Jack’s favorite part of the farm is his “girls,” he loves spending time and working with his cattle. He looks at his cattle as his coworkers and thinks their health and well-being are the most important thing. Jack also spends time helping with different events, board meetings, and other activities. His involvement is driven by his passion for dairy and his love for the industry. He enjoys being around people and encouraging the younger generations to take the next step forward. Jack loves being outgoing because it gives him the opportunity to encourage others to be more involved and interact with those around them.
Jack has learned the importance of telling their story to consumers about how they treat their cows, how they work with their cattle, and how they got started. Jack also indicated the importance of transparency with the consumers about his cattle, the good and bad, to show his care for his cattle.
He wants future generations to know you should not give up on your dream of becoming a dairy farmer; he encourages the younger generations to keep pushing and working towards their dreams. Jack also wants future generations and consumers to know dairy farmers make a choice to farm as a lifestyle, not to make money. Jack says, “You join the dairy industry because you love the lifestyle, the land, the cattle, and to raise your family.”