Zurcher Dairy, owned by Ed & Heather Zurcher, is a local dairy farm located just north of Basin City. They have 3 daughters…Olivia, Alena, and Abby. The Zurchers came from the Enumclaw area to start their dairy farm in November of 1997, however, they still have the farm in Enumclaw to pasture their unbred heifers.
The Zurcher Dairy employs about 9 workers who work shifts to span the 20 hours a day that it takes to milk approximately 1,000 cows twice a day, to clean-up, and to feed. It takes about 10 minutes per rotation to move cows through their 36 cow parlor. An average cow produces 7-8 gallons of milk per day….or over 2,750 gallons per year. An average cow can produce for 2-10 years but a good milker could be as old as 15 years. From the body temperature of the cow, the milk is cooled to 39° within 30 seconds of leaving the cow’s udder. Zurchers have 3 tanks on the farm with a storage capacity of up to 15,000 gallons of milk, which is less than 2 days’ supply. They belong to the Northwest Dairy Association Co-op. The milk is sold under the Darigoldbrand, however, other brands use Darigold milk, including Costco.
Zurchers grow about 70% of their feed demands including corn silage and triticale (a plant cross of wheat and rye). They purchase haylage from area farmers and sometime supplement with leftovers from other industries such as cottonseed and canola meal. They utilize the manure from the dairy as fertilizer for their 450 acre farm.
Milk is Washington state’s second highest valued agriculture commodity. In the nation, Washington state ranks 10th in milk production.
Currently, Ed serves as the President of the Washington State Dairy Federation and Heather is President of both the Mid-Columbia Dairy Women and the Washington State Dairy Women. Two of their daughters, Olivia and Abby, have had the unique opportunity to serve as Dairy Ambassadors. As Dairy Ambassadors, they promote the dairy industry and the health benefits of having milk in a diet. Olivia served as the Mid-Columbia Dairy Ambassador from 2012-2013 and as an alternate for the Washington State Dairy Ambassador in 2013-2014. She attended University of Idaho where she graduated with a degree in Agriculture Education. She currently is an Ag teacher at Prosser High School. Abby served as the Mid-Columbia Dairy Ambassador in 2017-2018 and is the current Washington State Dairy Ambassador for 2018-2019. After completing her term, she will attend the University of Idaho to study Elementary Education. Alena just started her senior year at the University of Washington and will graduate with a degree in Corporate Tax Accounting in the spring of 2019.
Zurcher Dairy has been a member of the Greater Connell Area Chamber of Commerce since 2016. Their support of school and local events, however, has been generously evident since coming to the area in 1997….from elementary to high school programs and sport teams, community events, county fairs and so much more. They have always been committed to supporting our community. In closing, Heather stated, “We just like to help the kids in our community.”