The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

January 6, 2013

Jim Comp has been in the dairy farming business since 1957

By WARREN DILLAWAY - warren@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

DORSET TOWNSHIP — The same year the Statue of Liberty arrived in New York Harbor the first branch of the Comp family moved to the area to begin farming.

Jim Comp has worked the farm with his brother Jerry, and other family members, since 1957. He said he returned to the area following the Korean Conflict and worked for several area companies before he realized his future was in farming.

The changes in technology and government regulations have been extensive as the farm has grown to 1,200 head of cattle in two different operations.

“If I had to do it over again I probably wouldn’t go over 700 head of cattle,” he said of the largest dairy farm in Ashtabula County.

Technology has now made its way into the feeding process, Comp said. “We have a nutritionist,” he said of the food fed to the cattle that includes seven different composites and theoretically provides the same nutrition in each bite.

The Comp family said the winter season really isn’t that big of a problem for farming and the cattle even enjoy colder weather.

“The only thing that ever gets cold on me is my nose and my toes,” said Elisha Comp who recently graduated from the Ohio State Agriculture Technical Institute in Wooster.

“Layers are the key,” she said. “The wind is the worst part,” Elisha Comp said.

Jim Comp said cold weather isn’t a problem until temperatures get really, really cold. “For us it has to get to 0 or below to be a problem,” he said.

“Cattle can stand cold weather rather than hot weather just so you break the wind,” he said.

The Comp farm employees 30 people that work on a variety of functions ranging from milking to management. Elisha Comp, a herdswoman, works with Vicky Harper and others monitoring the cows throughout the year.

Computer chips also monitor the cows which farm workers can then use to make decisions that effect nutrition, breeding and other aspects of the cows’ lives.

Comp said one of the biggest changes in farming has been the changes in economies of scale forcing small dairy farms to move to crop farming.

“It’s a tough job,” Elisha Comp said.