Since 1939, June has served as a month to celebrate all things dairy. Rising from tough times in the industry – The Great Depression and the subsequent milk strikes of 1933 — dairy month was a way to stabilize the industry and generate demand while production was at a surplus. The campaign was a success, and for more than 80 years the nation has celebrated June Dairy month alongside farmers everywhere.
This June, in addition to celebrating all things dairy, we are celebrating how Lely, as the industry-leader in dairy robotics, showcases its commitment to dairy innovation with a brand-new campus in Pella, Iowa. To commemorate the occasion, we will be highlighting Lely, its rich history of innovation and its focus on sustainability in farming all month long.
Less than a decade after the world celebrated the first June Dairy Month, brothers Cornelis and Arij van der Lely introduced the finger wheel rake to market. The Lely fertilizer spreader came shortly after and the ideas then followed in quick succession.
While the brothers used a Meccano set to give form to their ideas and alleviate the hard physical labor of farmers, it was the development of the Lely terra power harrow in 1968 that truly signified Lely’s global breakthrough in agricultural innovation.
In 1992, Lely introduced the Lely Astronaut, the first commercial-scale milking robot in the world. This introduction cemented Lely’s place as the foremost expert in robotic milking technology.
Since its inception, Lely has been about innovating and progressing the dairy industry to better equip farmers to handle the challenges of the day — feeding a growing population, managing labor costs, providing time back to the farmer.
“The whole idea behind Lely is to establish better, more sustainable ways to farm,” said Alexander van der Lely, Chairman of the Board and Owner, Lely International. “Life on a dairy farm can be challenging and the imbalance can be difficult to sustain. All our innovations in the industry have a common purpose – making life on the farm easier worldwide.”
Sustainability is also a key pillar in Lely’s belief system. Business continuity and succession are also issues that plague today’s farmers. Most of the world’s farms are still family owned and operated, often passed down from generation to generation. Farmers are proud of what they do and want to be able to pass the operation off to their children while leaving it in a better position than they received it.
However, increasing urbanization, regulation, costs and labor are all reasons families are getting out of the business. Farms must grow and adapt to continue. It is this reason Lely exists. To be able to help family farmers grow and change with the times fits in line with the company’s value proposition.
“As we use technology to make dairy farming more efficient and sustainable, we can also make it more enjoyable and appealing for younger generations,” Alexander said. “This not only safeguards the future of agriculture, but keeps farming in the family, and family values are a big part of Lely.”
More than 70 years have passed, and Lely’s vision remains the same — to provide a sustainable, profitable and enjoyable future in farming.
Follow along with us this June as we not only celebrate dairy but commemorate Lely’s efforts to advance the industry. We’ll be featuring facts about the industry and the company, trivia questions with prizes, more stories on how Lely has helped farmers manage challenges and pass down their farm to the next generation, and more.
We can’t wait to take you on this journey with us!