Investing in the Next Generation of Farming
While the VanDellens are constantly focused on the health and comfort of their cows, they are also dedicated to their employees,
knowing that the farm would not be able to operate without their hard work.
For example, one employee, Enrique Mendoza, has worked with Jerry for approximately 15 years, and with Jerry’s help is starting
his own dairy farm, Mendoza Dairy. After immigrating to the U.S. from Guatemala, Enrique began working
at VanDellen Farm in 2003 as a milker. Throughout his tenure on the farm, Enrique also worked as a feeder
and eventually became the manager in 2008.
His steadfast interest in farming and loyal dedication to the business was apparent. Jerry often refers to him as a sponge,
soaking up all the knowledge he can. In fact, Enrique was so interested in learning more about new topics,
that he found a week-long program at a school in Colorado focused on pregnancy and ultrasounds for dairy
cows. Though the VanDellens don’t have this particular equipment at their farm and typically outsource
this work, they knew it was something Enrique was interested in pursuing. They paid for him to attend
the course which enabled him to continue broadening his expertise.
The VanDellens recognized the importance of providing Enrique with an opportunity to experience how other farms work. To
further reinforce Enrique’s drive to learn more, he dedicated his days off and his early morning hours
as a relief breeder for All West Select Sires and others in the area to gain a better understanding of
the genetics industry.
After Enrique had spent nearly a decade working at VanDellen Farm, Jerry asked Enrique what his personal goals were, and
Enrique shared with Jerry that he wanted to be a dairy farm owner.
When reflecting on this moment, Jerry said, “Because Enrique was here, pouring himself into my farm, I wanted to help make
his goals and dreams happen. I wouldn’t have been successful without Enrique’s dedication and drive,
so I wanted to do anything I could to make him successful in achieving his goal.”