Fueling Missouri Dairy — Sean Cornelius

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Sean Cornelius in his barn.

Sean Cornelius Fuels Missouri Dairy

All dairy farmers are passionate about the dairy industry, but not all dairy farmers are excited about the dairy industry. Sean Cornelius is both. He is the third generation of his family to milk cows on the same land in #AgriReady Caldwell County. The dairy farm family lifestyle is extraordinarily important to the Cornelius family. Sean and his wife Rachel, along with his parents Barrie and Kathie, and his brother Chris daily contributions to the farm help keep it sustainable and successful.

Sean's parents, Barrie and Kathie.

Sean's brother, Chris.
Sean's parents, Barrie and Kathie. Sean's brother, Chris.

Thirty years ago, the milking parlor and barns were updated to keep the cows “fed, bred, and comfortable.” Sean is a dairy nutritionist and operates Best Axis, a dairy consulting firm. He formulates feed rations for his dairy herd and others with nearly exact nutritional components to help cows be full, satisfied and maintain production and health. Sean says the secret to having productive cows is to have happy cows. His dairy herd can go out to pasture at any time but also have full access to covered barns where shade, fans and sprinklers in the summer and protection in the winter help reduce stress for his animals.

“I don’t think there is a better sustainability story in agriculture than the one told by dairy farming. We recycle nutrients from animals by applying them to feed crops, the crops feed the animals, then the animals feed us,” Sean said.

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Sean spreads manure from the dairy and a local hog farm to provide the nutrients needed by his pastures and crops. Reducing the farm’s dependence on commercial fertilizers also helps by keeping the costs of business lower. As a result of leveraging these natural resources, Sean has seen organic matter and yields increase in his fields.

Sean’s overflowing love for the dairy industry is apparent in all parts of his life. He hesitates not even the slightest when asked about his favorite dairy product – “chocolate milk!” Sean says the secret to the best chocolate milk is to add Nestle Quick powder to milk with an optimal amount of butterfat (4.2%).

Sean has just one simple request for consumers.

“Anytime you have a question about dairy, please ask a dairy farmer,” Sean requested.

Sean and Rachel enjoy watching their daughter play collegiate golf and are excited to welcome their son’s firstborn to the farm this fall. Off the farm, Sean has been the secretary for Missouri Dairy and serves as a Central Area council member for Dairy Farmers of America. He is also involved on the Caldwell County board of Missouri Farm Bureau. All these organizations partner with Missouri Farmers Care to stand for the men and women who provide the food and job upon which our communities depend.

Sean's daughter, Sam, helping milk.
Sean's daughter, Sam, helping milk.