Images of cows We often speak to the importance of family-owned business and its vital impact to our economy. After recent visits to several of our local community branches, it occurred to me that I haven’t highlighted one such local business sector – our friends in the agricultural industry. June is National Dairy Month, so there’s no better time to celebrate all agricultural providers, both large and small.

Technological advances are occurring at such a rapid pace in all fields; agriculture is certainly no exception. One First Bank client, Reinhardt Dairy in Red Bud, IL, has experienced first-hand the impact technology has made to its day-to-day operations. In a concerted effort to maximize productivity and offer their family a better lifestyle, Reinhardt Dairy recently invested in upgrading from the labor-intensive operations of yesterday to a fully-operational robotic farm facility. “We were spending 12 hours a day milking only 135 cows,” said David Reinhardt, owner and operator of Reinhardt Dairy, now in its third generation of family ownership and involvement. Often, David was up at 2:45 a.m. and wouldn’t finish until late at night. “We were in a position that we either needed to upgrade our facilities or we’d need to quit,” he said. The family often missed vacations and children’s events because of the time needed for manual milking. He wanted to pass the business along to the next generation in a much better position. First Bank, also a multi-generational, family-owned business, recently provided the Reinhardt’s business the credit solutions they needed to upgrade their facilities. “We recognize the support and many hours Stuart Langrehr from First Bank has provided us,” he said. After spending his life doing the operations manually, this new technology would force him into a ‘new way of thinking.’ “To say there’s been an enormous amount of change to our farm is an understatement,” he said. Keeping up with industry advances are essential in any business. In this case, that means investing in a robot that milks cows. Although it sounds futuristic, that future is here.
Like Reinhardt Dairy, a successful family business uses lessons from the past to outsmart the future. Let’s be ahead of our time.