"Be careful that you do not forget the Lord your God, failing to observe His commands, His laws and His decrees that I am giving you this day." Deuteronomy 8: 11.
Where We Started...
"We're a faith-based, family-oriented dairy," said Ted Boersma. Boersma and his wife, Nancy, operate Forget-Me-Not Farms with their daughters and their husbands, Naci and Josh Littlejohn and Aundi and T.J. Curtis, as well as Ted's parents, Andy and Grace Boersma.
The Boersmas have been dairying since 1984, when Boersma and his Dad bought their first 140 head of dairy cows and transitioned from a family background in the floor covering business to dairy. "I looked around and there weren't that many old men in floor covering," Boersma said with a smile. Dairy, he said, offered his family an opportunity back then in Belen, N.M.
Building a family business
They slowly built the herd to a point where it would be beneficial to move to a larger facility near Clovis, N.M. In 1993, the Boersmas built a new dairy designed to hold 1,400 cows in the emerging dairy region of Clovis.
"That was more cows than we ever dreamed of owning," Boersma said. In 2000 the Boersmas built a second dairy in the Clovis area and bought a 5,000-head feedlot to grow their replacement heifers.
"When I started out, I always dreamed of growing the business," Boersma said. "Now, we strive to be the best we can be, and it's not just about size. We have been tremendously blessed with the opportunities we've had."
Eventually, though, the Clovis dairy market started to get crowded. If there was ever a time for expansion to accommodate a growing family and a growing dairy business, 2008 was it.
"Clovis and the west Texas area is a hotbed of dairies, and everyone wanted to expand," Boersma said. "We just thought we'd start looking as far north and east as we could to build a bigger drylot dairy." They wanted to move north for more available feed supplies, and east for closer milk processing facilities.
But, the Boersmas weren't just looking to move across the state this time.
Turning an idea into reality
Boersma and a friend from Idaho decided to travel to Kansas to look at some land "on a lark."
"There was a lot of wide open spaces and available feed," Boersma said. Pretty soon, the lark turned into a full-blown business plan to move the family and the dairy to Kansas. Kansas offered land, water, feed, labor and milk processing facilities. More importantly, the state boasted ag-friendly communities and regulations.
So, Boersma came home and discussed his idea of relocating the dairy with his family and his spiritual and business advisors. Besides Naci and Aundi, the Boersmas have seven other children and many grandchildren spread from Clovis to Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kan. With a couple of grown children and extended family ties in Clovis, it wasn't a decision to be made on a whim. The family rallied around the idea, though, and plans were made for the big move.
"Ted's always had a business vision of growth and opportunities for our family and all involved in the dairy," said son-in-law Curtis. "It was exciting to see this idea come to life," he added.
"When this whole thing started, I sought a lot of counsel," Boersma said. "I talked to guys I trusted in the dairy business, and every one of them thought it was a good idea." And so, in 2008, the Boersmas began building their new drylot dairy facility in Cimarron.