Thomas and Margaret Tester and Jessica Lawrence,
Tester Dairy Farm
Hydroponic Fodder System
Grant Award: $6,000
Tester Dairy Farm in Watauga County is creating a hydroponic fodder system, which grows barley, rye and wheat from seed to sprouts in eight days so that the farmers can feed their cattle high-protein grasses daily. The fresh palatable feed is proven to enhance animals’ milk production, improve fertility and decrease respiratory issues.
The Testers said they are renovating the farm so that their granddaughter Jessica can take it over without the worries of weather, lease agreements and costs associated with row crops. The system is an example for livestock farmers with acreage limitations, especially on the steep slopes of Watauga County. It can be operated without pesticides.
The Testers sell to Dairy Farmers of America, a milk marketing cooperative.