Central New Mexico dairy farmers named 2014 Farm Family of the Year

NMDA recognizes Woelber family of H.A.W. Farms

A family in central New Mexico has been recognized as New Mexico’s Farm Family of the Year.

The Woelber family – Luke and his wife Rebecca, as well as Luke’s parents, John and Holly – own and operate H.A.W. Farms, a dairy farm located east of Belen.  They were recognized last Friday by New Mexico Secretary of Agriculture Jeff Witte during the New Mexico State Fair.  More than 100 members of the state’s agricultural community were in attendance.

“A big reason the Woelbers have been so successful in the dairy business is because they take great care of their animals,” Witte said.  “Their dairy is a great example of other family-owned, family-involved dairies.”

Family is important at H.A.W. Farms.  Luke and Rebecca and their three kids – Dani is 8, James is 3, and Patrick is 2 – are very involved in the dairy, as they live just a stone’s throw away from it.

H.A.W. Farms is so named because those are Holly’s initials.  H.A.W. Farms traces its roots to a dairy and milk-handling operation John once operated in El Paso, where Luke and his sister Katie grew up.  John retired from the dairy business in 2000, but quickly became restless to start again, just in time for Luke to graduate from Texas A&M University. 

Together, they started their dairy business in New Mexico with a leased barn and 100 cows, growing the dairy to become what is today.  The Woelbers also farm in the Estancia Valley.  

Luke recently served as president of Dairy Producers of New Mexico (DPNM), a grassroots organization of dairy farmers in New Mexico and West Texas; John previously served on DPNM’s board of directors.  The Woelber family is active within the agricultural community in other ways.  They recently welcomed future farmers and ranchers from across New Mexico to tour the dairy and ask questions during the 2014 New Mexico AgriFuture Institute, which was held in Albuquerque in May.

In addition to family, education is important to the Woelbers.  In fact, Holly is a current graduate student at NMSU in the Plant and Environmental Sciences department.

New Mexico has approximately 140 family-owned dairies.  The state is consistently ranked among the top 10 milk-producing states in the nation and in the top five for cheese production.