Arecibo, Puerto Rico
Ada Vélez and her sister Aida have continued with the dairy farm their father started when they were very young. The farm is located in 240 acres and currently produces 45,000 milk liters from 356 cows.
Puerto Rico Farm Credit has been an active partner of this agribusiness project including the provision of financial solutions for improvements in the quality of the pasture, its irrigation systems, dairy processes and other operational improvements.
As an agribusiness entrepreneur, Ada Vélez has excelled in a world of male-dominated farmers, but most importantly due to her innovations in the quality of the pasture and food provided to her dairy cows. These nutritional innovations, including “maralfalfa” have yielded substantial savings of up to 25%, while improving the quality of the food. This has resulted in receiving accolades from local and international academia, as well as the local Agriculture Department and US Department of Agriculture, among others. Among the noteworthy innovation processes achieved by this family of agricultural entrepreneurs, is the design and production of feed based on the growth stage of the animals, which ensures optimal nutrition for its growth and development, yielding better production, an unsurmountable milk quality and production longevity in its cows.
This farm was selected as “model farm” in Puerto Rico and the United States, and experts from the US Department of Agriculture as well as other international guests from Spain, Mexico, Colombia, Panamá and Costa Rica visited this Arecibo agribusiness project to learn about its unique processes.
The project is now in its third generation of family members joining the dairy farm, as Ada’s son, Ramón Rosas Vélez, graduated from Agricultural Sciences at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus, and is working full time in the daily operational aspects of the farm. In his spare time, he researches for new technologies they can integrate to increase production efficiencies and operational profitability of their dairy farm.
An additional percentage of the cattle at the farm are sold for beef to Ganaderos Alvarado, a beef cattle farm and processing company that distributes to the local consumer market.
“Since we took over this project in 2001, Puerto Rico Farm Credit has been a great supporter in all of our operational phases”, Ada Vélez mentioned while adding, “the milk industry has suffered a big crisis because of the long drought. Farm Credit has always been there with a lending hand and its role is essential in guaranteeing the sustainability of our agriculture. Other banks turn their backs to farmers, but Puerto Rico Farm Credit is genuinely committed to helping entrepreneurs who believe in agriculture. Puerto Rico Farm Credit is a true friend of our country’s agriculture."