Green Point Dairy

Marlette, Michigan

Green Point Dairy

Marlette, Michigan

Pursuing Greener Pastures

Geert Van den Goor has been measuring in acres instead of miles for as long as he can remember. Growing up on a farm in the Netherlands, agriculture has always been in his blood. When he graduated from school in 1983, he pursued that passion and began farming with his brother.

Eighteen years later, Geert and his wife Gertie were looking for more opportunities to expand their farming operation, and when local regulations got in the way, they decided to move to the United States. There, Goma Dairy Farms was born in Marlette, Michigan. 

“We started in 1999 with 250 cows and 350 acres,” Geert said. “By the second year, we built a new barn for 600 cows.”

Geert and Gertie have worked with GreenStone Farm Credit Services since they came to the United States almost 25 years ago.

Farm Credit has helped their family with many projects and expansions over the years, and the couple is thankful for the rural focus of the cooperative.

“In 2005, when we did a big expansion, we got the best package for what we needed with GreenStone,” said Geert. “We have a lot of qualified people around us at GreenStone.”

A New Direction
Knowing their three children were not taking over the farm upon their eventual retirement, in 2015 Geert and Gertie began evaluating Goma Dairy Farms' future.

Brent Robinson, a dairy farmer in a neighboring town, worked as a nutritionist on Goma Dairy Farms in the past, and formed a friendship with Geert and Gertie. When he found that they were searching for the future operator of their farm, he threw out the idea for him and his business partner to eventually take over the farm.

By 2019, Brent's farm, Paramount Enterprises Dairy, merged with Goma Dairy to become Green Point Dairy. 

Going Green

One of the biggest decisions made by Green Point Dairy was the addition of an anaerobic digester on the farm’s Marlette property. Energy companies installed and run the digester that turns cow manure into methane gas.

The addition of the digester comes after the farm previously installed a machine that separates manure from the sand used for the cow’s bedding. It also cleans the sand to be continually reused for the cows. This machine paved the way for the digester – because manure cannot be turned into gas unless the sand is first removed. 

Geert and Gertie, along with Brent and Brent, believe that a step toward sustainable farm practices is beneficial for everyone.

“The future of agriculture is going to revolve and evolve around sustainability,” Brent said. “Creating a new system that functions with business models and biological models working together to create an ecosystem that can work long-term for the planet and people are the first steps toward this.”

This article was originally published in GreenStone Farm Credit Services’ Partners Magazine.