Quail Ridge Dairy
Cows come first at the two dairy farms owned and operated by Chris and Mary Kraft. Chris has been known to skip dinner because he’s hanging out with the cows.
“He would totally stand me up to take care of a cow,” said Mary, which she adds is one of the reasons she married him. “That’s the guy I want.”
Although Mary’s family has been farming in Colorado since 1906, she wasn’t convinced that farming was her calling. Instead, she studied public relations at Colorado State University (CSU). Chris, also a graduate of CSU, always wanted to be a farmer, and dedicated his life to understanding farming and the cows he cared for. Two years after Chris and Mary wed in 1986, they started dairying.
They began with 120 dairy cows and have slowly built the farm into one of the most successful and efficient operations in Colorado. They’ve traveled the world – visiting Mexico, Brazil, Chile and Europe – and incorporated the best practices and technologies they’ve found. Electronic identification devices track the cows’ progress and provide instant feedback on milk production, temperature, quantity and time to ensure cows are healthy and productive. Specialized veterinarians also check the cows once a week.
Chris believes that every farm has its own philosophy and personality. The Krafts concentrate on ensuring that the cows are relaxed and that the flow of their workday is smooth. Cows often graze throughout the farm to get food and rest.
“We have a huge obligation to the community,” says Chris. Helping consumers understand that milk is a safe, wholesome product that comes from a family farm is also important to the Krafts. They help connect consumers with the modern farm by hosting elementary school student tours.