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The Pride and Joy Farm

Born to dairy producers in South Dakota, Pride and Joy owner Allen Voortman has always loved farm life. When he was 10, the culmination of three years of drought put his family's farm out of business, and they lost everything. To Allen's dismay, the family moved west to Southern California. When he turned 21 in 1971, Allen was ready to see the country, and he traveled with a friend all over the United States. At the end of his travels, he ended up in Eastern Washington where he promptly found work on a dairy.

Allen started raising baby calves on his own and taking care of other people's dairies while they went on vacation. He took his farm-sitting pay in heifers—raising them until they were cows. This enabled him to build his own dairy herd without borrowing money. He partnered with another farmer in the area, pooling resources to work one dairy operation. Eventually, they sold that farm, which today is the only other organic dairy in Yakima Valley area. In 1978, Allen purchased the land where he and his wife Cheryl would raise their own family and build the farm they now call Pride and Joy.

Looking back on his earlier farming days, Allen recalls a time the enjoyment he derived from farming was slowly draining out of him. "I came from high production farming—a high-input, high-output operation, and it wasn't any fun anymore," he says. "All I was doing was servicing short-term debt, and not really getting anywhere.  But, not anymore!"

"I feel really good about what we are doing now," Allen says. "It's a low-stress lifestyle. I am lucky to work with cows every day and produce the best products we can put out there."