DEARING, Ga. (WJBF) – Hillcrest Farms, Georgia’s first robotic dairy farm has been doing tours, and they get visitors from all around the world.
For this episode of “Your Hometown Road Trip” we stopped in to speak with owner, Mark Rodgers about what the fourth generation, family-operated dairy farm was all about.
What is Hillcrest Farms?
Hillcrest Farms is your local dairy. We’re right here in the CSRA in Dearing, Georgia. We’ve been here since 1941. We’re real proud. This business was started by a woman. My grandmother started the business, and today it’s run by a woman. My daughter runs the day-to-day operations. So we’re kind of unique, got a really young staff, and we’re the first dairy in Georgia
to milk cows voluntarily with robotics.
Explain how that process works.
We’ve got five stationary robots. So a cow, when she feels the pressure, feels the urge,
and she gets a little treat while she’s in there, she leaves her bed, gets up, walks over to a robot,
walks in. It identifies her, says, “Hey, you’ve got permission to be here.” and as soon as it allows, she’s got permission, it goes to cleaning the cow, but we start out with a little bit of GermX, a little disinfectant, with a little lotion, make them feel good, and then it cleans the cow, and when it gets through, it actually attaches the milkers, milks the cow, and when her flow starts slowing down, it detaches. It goes back and puts a little disinfectant, a little lotion on the cow. Turns her loose so she can go back with her friends.
Where do you get visitors from?
We’ve had such a diverse crowd, from all over the world. We’ve had 34 different countries stop by so far and 41 different states have been represented that we know of, and so we’re doing tours. We’re showing all of STEM. Schools are big in STEM. They’re getting a little bit of science,
a little bit of technology with the robotics. We’re talking about how we built the thing, the engineering and the math that goes into it.