2014 Lycoming Winter Magazine - page 9

generation who wanted to join the
family farm.
Mike and Clay both played football
for the Lycoming Warriors. Mike was
a biology major and earned a teaching
certificate. “After one year of student
teaching, I realized I would much rather
work outside,” Mike said. “I think it’s
natural to gravitate toward the family
business.”
Clay studied criminal justice and
political science at Lycoming. After
graduation, he took a break from school
and returned to the family farm before
enrolling in the state police academy. At
about the same time, his parents asked
if he had any interest in farming and
that’s when plans for the family dairy
began shifting west. The McCartys
looked for more land but could not find
any locally.
“We searched for land in New York,
Nebraska and Texas and finally met
people in Kansas in 1996,” said Clay,
who manages the Rexford farm. “Our
parents purchased land, finalized plans
and took a huge leap of faith by moving
to western Kansas in 1999.
“I give my wife, Kristy, a lot of credit.
This was a really big move for us, and we
knew no one. It took a lot of work and
long hours to start the new dairy, but we
believed in our dream.” He and Kristy
have three children, ages 13, 9 and 6, and
live in Colby.
Mike and his wife, Amy, live in Bird
City with their three children, ages 10, 8
and 5. He feels after 12 years, everything
has finally come together. “We were so
focused on the potential and opportunity
of moving our farm,” Mike said. “We
worked hard and overcame many
obstacles, and learned from our mistakes
to get to this point. I really appreciate
my wife and kids for being patient and
sacrificing while I put in long days with
little time off to follow my dream.”
Both Clay and Mike credit their
parents for teaching all of the brothers
about hard work and determination. They
recalled putting in 16-18 hour days to get
the dairies started. Now, a larger team of
105 employees care for the 7,200 cows
daily.
“Our employees work by the
philosophy that we need to be inspection-
ready every day,” Clay said. “Our
facilities are clean, well-maintained, and
we spend a lot to time on safe animal
handling.”
Using best management practices for
dairy production, McCarty Family Farms
works to achieve the utmost in animal
welfare, environmental stewardship,
sustainable communities, and the creation
of a safe, rewarding work environment.
Mike manages the Bird City dairy and
believes communication is critical for all
the dairy employees. He begins each day
at 6 a.m. by reviewing production records
from the previous day. The rest of his time
is invested in directing and coordinating
the day’s, week’s or month’s activities,
which include everything from herd health
care to promoting new Dannon products.
“I have learned that listening is the
best approach to management,” Mike
said. “I’m not always the one talking.
By listening, I can find out what makes
people tick and how to put them in a
position where they can succeed. My
biology education at Lycoming College
influenced my analytical and problem-
solving mentality in dealing with issues
and people.
“Much of my time is spent with
people, either coaching them or listening.
Studying at Lycoming, I learned how
people very different from myself can
come together and build a team. We
played football with guys from several
different states, each with different
backgrounds, and eventually built a strong
team. The same thing happens at our
dairies. We have 105 employees, and we
promote teamwork and unity.
“We live in a thinly populated area.
Bird City has a population of 450. We
live and work beside our neighbors, and
we feel it’s important to be part of our
community. We buy much of our farm
needs locally when we can.”
The McCartys farm 1,000 acres, but
that is not enough land to produce feed
for the cows, so they buy feed from
The McCarty family began dairy farming in 1914.
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