Double W Dairy co-owner Marc Wailes, intern dairy herdsman Jonas Stocker and co-owner Gregg Wailes are pictured from left, alongside cattle on the dairy’s Holyoke lot. — The Holyoke Enterprise | Johnson Publications
Double W shares dairy acumen with international intern
Double W Dairy of Holyoke is preparing to say goodbye to Jonas Stocker, 20, a native of Switzerland and their intern dairy herdsman since November.
Holyoke is Stocker’s third and final stop on an internship that has included positions in Iowa and British Columbia, Canada.
Stocker said American farms are huge compared to his home farm near the Swiss city of Lucerne, and Double W Dairy is the largest lot he’s worked on so far.
In spite of this, he said he’s been impressed with how American dairies balance efficiency with the humane treatment of their livestock.
“Even when they’re this big, they know almost every cow,” he said. “A cow is still an animal, and they still treat them well.”
Marc Wailes — who co-owns and operates Double W Dairy with his wife Janel, Marc’s brother Gregg and Glenn Huwa — said the lot milks 1,300 cows, while Stocker’s home farm milks about 70, and the average Swiss farm owns around 25.
Also, while in Switzerland cattle spend most of their time indoors, Double W Dairy incorporates outside lots. American farms also have digital record keeping systems, which they need to keep track of the high volume of livestock.
Still, Stocker said one of his favorite parts of Double W Dairy was providing hands-on care for the lot’s Brown Swiss cattle. Stocker’s family raises the same breed.
He said he also enjoyed picking up Spanish and getting to meet the dairy’s herdsman team.
Stocker lived with Marc and Janel during his time in Holyoke, which Marc said gave him the chance to know the intern personally.
“He’s just like one of us, and he’s been a hard worker,” Marc said. Stocker typically works from sunup to sundown, filling in wherever he’s needed, including helping with breeding, taking cows to market and caring for sick animals.
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