Branched Oak Farm
Krista Dittman with Shaylee Truax of Waverly High School
About: Branched Oak Farm is a certified organic and grass fed dairy operation--involved in the entire process from raising cattle to making cheese. Based in Raymond, Nebraska, Branched Oak Farm is owned and operated by Doug and Krista Dittman. While Doug manages their herd of Jersey cows on their 230 acres of land, Krista is in charge of the milking and cheese making process. Using management intensive rotational grazing across 30 different paddocks, the Dittman's mimic the grazing patterns of the bison. Their cows were chosen with cheese-making in mind, as Jersey cows are known for having milk with higher protein and fat contents favorable to making high-quality cheeses.
- To examine a smaller, diversified dairy
- To consider various operations in the cheese making industry
- To think critically about dairies and specialty cheese markets
- What are some of the regulations required with operating a dairy?
- What are the pros and cons of operating a dairy combined with a cheese-making enterprise?
- What conflicts are faced by new cheese producers? (such as infrastructure, markets, supplies, etc.) What are some other models for cheese processing plants?
- Discuss the concepts of "quality vs. quantity" and "taste of place." Which markets are best suited to these attributes?
- Design your own dairy and/or cheese making operation.
- How would you measure the sustainability of Branched Oak Farm? What could be improved?