Meet a Farmer: Nevin Lemos of Lemos Jerseys
At 22, Nevin Lemos of Lemos Jerseys, one of the youngest dairy owners in California, has already been in the dairy business for two years. A fourth-generation dairy farmer, Nevin developed a passion for cows and the industry growing up on the farm and participating in 4-H.
CA GROWN: What are you doing today?
Nevin: I have a relatively small operation with four hundred dairy cows and three employees. Mornings start at about 5:30 a.m. when I feed the cows. Then I will go through my OV-sync program, and check for general herd health. After that I spend some time with my milker looking after cows that may need special attention. If treatment is needed, we’ll develop a treatment plan together. From there, we have newborn calves to feed and prep for the calf ranch. After the cows are taken care of, I’ll do the cleanup, bookwork, and herd management. That’s pretty much my morning every single day. After lunch, I check on the dairy operations, feed the cows, and take care of anything else that needs to be done.
CA GROWN: What is your favorite part of running a dairy?
Nevin: I really enjoy working with the animals. They bring life to the atmosphere with their own personalities. I showed cattle growing up and have always had a special bond with animals. I’m fairly knowledgeable about the industry so I am confident that I take of my cows properly.
CA GROWN: How do you give back to the community?
Nevin: I host school field trips to educate the next generation about the dairy industry and we take care of the animals in our care. I try to expose them to the industry as much as possible by showing them how the cows are fed and milked and how the calves are cared for.
CA GROWN: What drew you into the dairy profession?
Nevin: I’m the fourth generation in my family, so the dairy business runs pretty deep. It wasn’t all hereditary, though, as I developed a love for it on my own. Growing up showing dairy cattle in 4-H was a factor, and that’s where I gained an appreciation for the animals. I studied dairy science in junior college for two years, and after that I completed an internship milking cows in New Zealand. That experience helped me realize how similar the dairy industry is around the world and gave me a unique perspective. I eventually seized the opportunity to start my own dairy business.
CA GROWN: What are your hobbies or pastimes when you’re not working on the dairy?
Nevin: The dairy does keep a guy busy. I do enjoy music and play guitar and piano. I enjoy getting out in nature and going for hikes and spending time with family and friends.
CA GROWN: What advice would you give for someone wanting to get into the dairy business.
Nevin: Dairy is a lifestyle industry. It takes a lot of your time and you really must love what you do. I would encourage people to take an internship to get a sense of the dairy business first. On a business level, I would encourage them to create a good business plan. If possible, find a source for venture capital so you can grow to a size that’s economical and sustainable.
CA GROWN: What are one or two things you do on the dairy to be sustainable?
Nevin: I work very closely with the water board intaking water, soil and manure samples for nitrate testing. We do testing quarterly to make sure we are being responsible with our resources. Cows can create their own ecosystem. The manure feeds the ground which feeds the corn, which in turn feeds the cows. We conserve water and electricity wherever we can. We are constantly reviewing and increasing our operating outputs to operate more efficiently and conserve resources.