Rilara Holsteins operates an 80 cow registered Holstein dairy and row crop operation managed by Riley, Barbara, their son Kirk and hired hands, Cody and Carlos. With over 55 years in the dairy business, the Wagner family has bred and raised over 130 'Excellent' cows, a prestigious rating that the Holstein Association, USA considers to be the top ranking genetic score. In addition, for the 100th anniversary of the Virginia Holstein Association, the Wagners were honored in the 'Cows of the Century Contest'. Twenty-six registered Holsteins bred by Virginia breeders were nominated, only seven were honored. 'Rilara Mars Las Ravena' was one of the seven.
The Wagners were also recognized as a Dairy Farmers of America (DFA) Gold Standard Dairy in 2012. DFA's Gold Standard Dairy Program, one of the first in the industry, is an on-farm best practices evaluation program that assesses operations in the areas of animal care and wellness, environmental stewardship, employee training and milk safety and quality. The program assesses, analyzes and provides feedback regarding on-farm practices, encourages continuous improvement and recognizes achievements.
On the farm, the Wagner family continues to implement traditional technologies in their operation. Outstanding genetics, superior rations, cow comfort and feed efficiency remain at the forefront for the dairy and their success. They have worked to perfect these principles with their collaboration over the years.
Off the farm, the family is active with many community events and trade industry associations, such as the Virginia Holstein Association. Barbara currently is the chair for this year's 100th Virginia Holstein Association Anniversary Committee. The Wagners are honored to be part of the association and have an active role in the festivities this year.
"The Wagners are a testament to the success of traditional dairying. Proving that the basics of excellent nutrition, cow comfort and proper management not only leads to profitability but overall stability of a dairy operation. Not only successful farmers and conservationists, they are also dedicated to investing in people, trade associations and the agricultural community," said Daniel Phillips, Assistant General Manager of Augusta Cooperative Farm Bureau, Inc. "Rilara Holsteins is a provider of milk to one of the nation's largest milk cooperatives, the Dairy Farmers of America. Augusta Cooperative is proud to service Rilara Holsteins. On behalf of Augusta Cooperative, in celebration of June Dairy Month, we want to extend a special thank you to the Wagner family for their dedication to the dairy industry and for providing our country with quality milk each and every day."