500th Facebook fan is proud in Pennsylvania

Last fall, we started a contest on our Facebook page to gain some more followers. We offered a free Proud to Dairy hat to the 500th person to become a fan. That lucky Facebooker was Joel Krall of Lebanon, Pennsylvania.

Joel has been in the dairy industry his entire life, growing up on the dairy that he now operates with his business partner, Tim Crouse. Both Joel and Tim graduated from Penn State University in 2006 with degrees in animal science. At Furnace Hill Holsteins, Joel and Tim milk 150 Holsteins and focus on genetic investments in their herd. They rely on the help of Joel's parents and siblings as well as a local high school student for milking and daily chores.

Joel has served as a speaker at numerous Pennsylvania dairy meetings because of his willingness to embrace new technologies and ideas and to share those findings with other dairy producers. He's a great example of what it means to be a young, progressive and resilient dairy farmer, especially in today's economy.

Read this recent question and answer session with Joel to learn a little more about his background and what makes him proud to dairy.

Q. What were some of your activities at Penn State?

Joel: I enjoyed Dairy Science Club and participated in most of the club's activities, including the Cheesebox Sale, Nittany Lion Fall Classic Sale, OsteoChallenge, Dairy Expo, quiz bowl contests and attended spring trips to Argentina, Texas and Washington. I was also active in Campus Crusade for Christ, Dairy Judging and Dairy Challenge as well as completed summer internships at Frey Dairy and at Genex.

Q. How do you think those activities and courses helped to prepare you for life after graduation?

Joel: The academic aspect helped me to understand concepts and procedures while the application classes and dairy challenge took the book knowledge and put it into real world situations. The extra curricular activities and internships were both rewarding from seeing many dairy farms in all areas of the world to creating a network of friends and agribusiness contacts. Every part served as a piece that matured and grew me to the individual that I am today.

Q. Why did you and Tim decide to form a partnership?

Joel: Before Tim we were at a point on our dairy where we wanted to expand to increase cow comfort as well as we needed more flexibility to our schedule. I felt it would be better to have Tim as a partner vs. employee because it would help him gain equity and I like when full-time people are financially invested in the operation because there is more incentive to work hard and do well. Overall it was a win-win situation for everyone.

Q. What makes you proud to dairy?

Joel: I am proud to dairy because I love working with dairy cows, especially from a genetic and production standpoint. There are few other occupations that offer a better lifestyle for raising a family, working with God's creation and that create an opportunity for so many great friendships.

Q. Even in this economic climate of low milk prices, what gives you hope for the future of the dairy industry?

Joel: I try to look at the big picture as well as long term when it comes to the viability of the dairy industry. The product we produce is healthy, nutritious, and safe. I think all these qualities will help it stand the test of time and it will always be a crucial part of our diets.

Demand will continue to increase in correlation with an increasing world population. By maximizing production and efficiency through cow comfort, consistent forages, genetics and attention to detail as well as utilize available safe and approved practices is the best method I feel to be competitive in a world dairy market. PTD

PHOTO: Tim Crouse (left) and Joel Krall (right) stand in front of their herd at Furnace Hill Holsteins. If you look closely, you'll see both men are sporting their Proud to Dairy hats. Photo provided by Joel Krall.

If you liked Joel's story, you might also enjoy learning about Erin Jones, who was the 300th member to join the Proud to Dairy network. Click the link below to read her feature, written by Kelsey Holter.

"I Support Dairy Farmers" -- Facebook Style

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