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Moo-ving on: Family's dairy farming legacy advanced by technology

AV Farms uses robotic agricultural practices that assist in milking and feeding, while creating hygienic environment
AV Farms — which is named for the first initials of the husband and wife team, Andrew Eisses and Victoria Seip Eissesis — is a dairy farm in Oro-Medonte.

AV Farms is bringing a new twist to one of dairy farming's most well-established practices. 

It has incorporated agricultural equipment from Grand River Robotics to assist in milking, feeding and creating a hygienic environment that “prevents health issues and promotes cow comfort.” Utilized equipment includes three Lely Astronaut RobotsJuno Flex, the Grazeway Sort Gate, the Automatic Calf Feeder with Hygienic Boxes, and three Hoofcount Automatic Footbaths.

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AV Farms, named for the first initials of the husband-and-wife team, Andrew Eisses and Victoria Seip Eisses, is a family-owned and operated dairy farm in Oro-Medonte. It is transitioning the dairy part of the business from its parent company, Hewitt Creek Farms.

The new location opened on May 21.

Andrew — whose father, a farmer and member of Innisfil town council, Kevin Eisses, calls his son and daughter-in-law “the next generation of the farm” — is a fourth-generation farmer, as his great-grandfather purchased land on Innisfil Beach Road in 1961.

Andrew told Village Media that he always wanted to be a farmer. Today, he and his wife run the business with his father, his grandfather John, and their employees.

When asked which piece of equipment is his favourite, and how it has revolutionized the way he works, he explained, “When my grandfather and great-grandfather would have started milking cows it would have been (a lot) of manual work where they would milk each cow individually twice per day in what is called a tie stall barn, where individual milking units are brought to the cow where they are standing."

“I do really like the milking robots,” he added. “(They) do a really good job of giving the cows a relaxing environment where they can go and get milked voluntarily while at the same time giving us as farmers flexibility in our schedule since we don’t have to be in the barn at a set time to do the milking.”

Victoria works full-time in the agricultural sector where she deals with ingredients for livestock feed. She assists with chores on weekends and organizes vaccinations.

“She also gives a fresh set of eyes for places we can improve,” Andrew said. “She has a very keen eye for animals and will often pick up things faster than I will, whereas I have a better sense of the big picture which helps with planning and solving problems.”

When asked about animal welfare, Andrew said, “We have always strived to give our livestock the best quality of care we can. Our new facility is going to give us more tools to do that job with better ventilation, more space, and more comfortable bedding, as well as having the newest equipment to monitor a lot of different data points about our animals' health.”

“Innisfil has been a great home for our farm and we are very proud of (having) been a part of the community for the past 60(-plus) years,” Andrew said. “It has been incredible to watch it grow into what it has become today.”

To learn more about Hewitt Creek Farms, check out its Facebook page.

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Amber Green

About the Author: Amber Green

Amber is a freelance journalist with InnisfilToday. Dedicated to the craft of writing, she is a storyteller at heart who writes novels, poetry, and short stories. She lives in Innisfil.
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