Ag Talk 5-31-10 | TheFencePost.com

Ag Talk 5-31-10

Bill Jackson
Greeley, Colo.

It was opened as the largest dairy in Colorado, if not the region, in 1970.

The Carroll Dairy, now the Galeton Dairy, was opened by Dr. Robert E. Carroll, a veterinarian who probably was the first of the what was to become an influx of California dairy operators moving to Weld County and northern Colorado. And now his son, Bob, has returned to the area and was overwhelmed by the size and scope of dairy operations in this part of the state when he drove out to the dairy.

“I just couldn’t believe all the mega-dairies out there,” he said in a telephone conversation.

He said his dad had a dairy in La Salle, Colo., and another in Longmont, Colo., in 1969 while he built his new dairy near Galeton, Colo., that, when opened, milked 800 cows and was then increased to 1,000. Those cows were milked twice a day; now, most dairies milk three times a day.

“It was the first big dairy in Weld County, if not the state and the region,” Carroll said, who went to school in Eaton while his dad and mother lived here.

The dairy is now owned by Mike Faulkner, who said his dad and brother bought it out of bankruptcy in 1979 and remodeled it. Both he and Bill Wailes, dairy specialist at Colorado State University and head of the animal sciences department, said Carroll built the dairy on southern California standards, which didn’t work real well in the winter months of northern Colorado.

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“But I’m still using some of the original stuff that Carroll had put in when he built it,” Faulkner said, who added he’s now milking 3,000 cows at the facility. He offered to host the younger Carroll for a tour of the dairy, which he said his dad and brother remodeled soon after they took it over. Mike bought his brother out in 1981, and he remodeled the dairy again soon after.

“So I guess I’ve had it for 29 years, which is a little hard to believe,” Faulkner said with a laugh.

Carroll said dairy cattle and dairy research were a part of his father all his life. A native of Illinois, he said his dad earned his veterinary medicine degree at the University of California-Davis. He said he was among the first to artificial inseminate dairy cattle and worked with several large dairy cattle breeders in southern California before coming to Colorado to start his own operation.

During his short stint in Colorado, Carroll said his dad became involved with the Mountain Empire Dairymen’s Association and, soon after opening the Carroll Dairy, milk prices took a dive into the bottom of the barrel. That sounds very similar to what dairymen are currently experiencing.

“I remember dad spent about a year in a Denver court on behalf of MEDA testifying for dairymen to try to improve their milk prices,” Carroll said. That time spent away from the dairy, and economic strains on the industry resulted in Carroll going into bankruptcy. He moved his family back to California.

Carroll said his father went back into dairy research at a laboratory at UCLA and worked on diseases that attacked dairy cattle. While there, his name was given to the Iranian government. The Shah of Iran, who was still in control of that Mideast country, was looking for American technological help to improve various industries in that country.

So Carroll went to Iran, his son said, and ended up at a university outside of Tehran teaching veterinary medicine. One morning, in 1977, Carroll said his mom came to him and told him his father had died.

The official word, Carroll said, was that his father had contracted pneumonia which led to a heart attack, but some of his veterinary students said he had succumbed to scarlet fever. He was 49. He was cremated in Iran and his remains were returned to his home state of Illinois.

The younger Carroll remained in southern California where he was a musician and worked in the mental health field. He said he was living in Palm Springs, where “I got tired of the hot summers,” and decided to move. He first looked at northern California and decided against that. While searching on the web, he said Loveland, Colo., popped up as one of the best cities in the nation to live.

“I said to myself, ‘I know Loveland,’ so I decided to move here,” Carroll said.