McCarty Family Farms

McCarty Family Farms is one of the organizations planting habitat for bees through the Feed a Bee initiative, through which Bayer has already planted 2 billion flowers and has committed to spreading seeds with partners in all 50 states by the end of 2018!

McCarty Family

The McCarty family: Tom and Judy (center) pictured with their four sons' families

What makes a Feed a Bee partner? Well, for starters, a focus on pollinators and ensuring they’re well-fed and healthy with adequate forage sources for habitat and nutrition. Beyond that, our Feed a Bee partners hail from a wide range of industries – colleges and universities, government and nonprofit organizations, community groups and more! McCarty Family Farms is one partner in particular with a longstanding history of helping us feed the bees. Here’s why we think this century-old family farm is so special.

Farm History

With roots in the dairy business dating to 1914, Tom and Judy McCarty moved their family from Pennsylvania to western Kansas in 1999 and established McCarty Family Farms there, turning over day-to-day operations to their four sons: Clay, David, Ken and Mike.

The current operation has grown to four dairy farms, where they milk approximately 8,200 cows. Three farms are located in Western Kansas, Rexford and Scott City, Kansas, and a fourth is located in Beaver City, Nebraska. The Rexford dairy includes a milk processing plant, processing condensed pasteurized skim milk and pasteurized heavy cream.

All four McCarty brothers work in various parts of the business, and the dairy farms employ about 125 workers.

Current Operation

McCarty Family Farms is an innovative dairy operation, using technology such as rotary or “carousel” parlors to milk its cows, keeping the cows comfortable and making their business more labor-efficient and better focused on sanitation. Cows at the dairy farms are well-cared-for with comfortable surroundings, such as deep sand to lie in and to ensure sanitation.

The business has also won an award for its sustainability. Reuse of water from its operations – which recycle 14 million gallons of water per year – is an important part of the business’ sustainability efforts.

Supporting the surrounding communities is one other key part of McCarty Family Farms’ mission, and the business has incorporated a pollinator habitat at its primary facility, the dairy farm in Rexford, Kansas, planting multiple acres of habitat to benefit bees, as a Feed a Bee partner. Over time, the business plans to phase in additional acres, up to 65-plus acres, with similar plots at or near its three other farms.

Whats the best thing about being in the dairy business?

"Being able to work with my family – my brothers, my parents and I, and now our children coming into the business too."

Ken McCarty, owner and manager, McCarty Farms

"We get to wake up and go to a job that we enjoy and that challenges us every day. My dad always said that the best thing about the dairy industry was there was always something to be improved upon. Whether it’s animal welfare, efficiency, productivity, employee satisfaction, community involvement or environmental sustainability, there is always something that can be made better.”

What's Ahead?

The bee-attractant flowers planted at McCarty Family Farm will support local pollinator populations, providing nutrition and habitat for them as they buzz from plant to plant pollinating crops and bringing many of our favorite landscapes to life. The best part is, through the Feed a Bee forage initiative, there’s also a place for everyone to join in planting blooms for bees, from creating a pollinator garden (or even planting several acres like the McCartys) to simply placing a flower pot on your front porch.

Ken handles the award-winning sustainability initiatives for the family’s business, and after reading about the issues facing pollinators, he felt it was an area where McCarty Family Farms could make a positive contribution.

“As dairymen and people involved in the ag industry, pollinator health is a serious issue that can impact how our business operates and our ability to provide an affordable product to consumers,” Ken said.

Working long hours already, the appeal of a pollinator habitat was the return on investment.

"For relatively little cost and a small amount of day-to-day management, we could have a large impact on benefiting pollinators."

Ken McCarty, owner and manager, McCarty Farms

Check out more great videos and additional content on the McCarty Family Farms website.