Trey Yates is following his dream of becoming a dairyman. Greenbrier Dairy has been in the Yates family for 4 generations. Looking to revitalize and eventually expand the hibernating business, Trey & his father contacted VC2 for help in devising a plan.
“My father attended an agri-business meeting and heard about the technical assistance programs VC2 offers. I knew I wanted a farm-to-table creamery – selling milk, butter, ice cream, and cheese, throughout the state and mid-Atlantic region – and my father thought VC2 could help.”
Trey Yates is taking the long view when it comes to his dairy business. A student at Meadow Bridge High School, he is also studying Agriculture at New River Community College as a provisional student, and will attend West Virginia University in the fall of 2015. Planning to grow his herd and build his facilities over the next 4 years, Trey talks of the importance of this effort:
“I want to continue the tradition of dairy farming in my family dating back to my great-grandfather. I know I can’t make it in this business, in today’s times, by farming in the same way that my granddad did. This is why I am pursuing my idea to produce value-added products. I want to be happy with what I do for the rest of my life, and owning and running a profitable dairy and creamery is that solution.”
Trey purchased his first cows with the help of a student loan from FSA. After Trey graduates from Meadow Bridge High School this summer, Greenbrier Dairy will start processing some of their milk into valued-added products to test recipes and processes. Phase 2 of the plant design continues, identifying electric, plumbing and ventilation needs. Trey’s business plan supports growth in small steps that align with his commitment to attend and graduate from WVU as soon as possible, so that he can pursue his dream.
In discussing the project, VC2 Business Coach, Joy Marr, asked Yates what his connection with VC2 brought to him that he could not access on his own. The student answered,
“I received help with the business plan, branding and marketing assistance, as well as access to technical assistance for planning and facility design, from consultants and providers that I personally could not afford. Learning to work with three different kinds of consultants was an interesting process – it made me stretch out of my comfort zone. I had to speak my dreams so that others would take me seriously and stand up for myself when I was not being heard. My business has grown stronger as a result.”
Trey Yates is an impressive young man; not only does he have a dream, but he also has a business plan, the designs for a milk creamery, and a marketing brand that will help launch his business to become a reality. Watch for news of Trey and Greenbrier Dairy in our VC2 newsletter and website.