Douwe and Maaike Plantinga purchased a working dairy operation south of Mount Vernon, Texas in 1986 after moving from their native Friesland in northern Holland. They began here with an established Holstein milking herd of just under a hundred cows.
The Holstein breed has its origins in the northern region of Holstein (Germany) /Friesland (Holland).
Over the years, Pleasant Hill Dairy's milking operation has expanded to close to a thousand head. In 1990, a new milk barn and free stall barns where added to improve productivity and allow for growth. Typical of dairy facilities in this part of the country, there are fans and water-sprayers for cooling and the barns are fitted with curtains for weather protection from colder temperatures.
In 2006, Pleasant Hill Dairy acquired a small dairy across the road from the main facilities and the decision was made to establish a Jersey operation at that location. The Jersey operation milks approximately 250 head.
Pleasant Hill Farms, a separate entity, maintains a small commercial cow-calf operation of black cattle.
Dairy cows and heifers, both Holstein and Jersey, are all bred through artificial insemination. The dairy breeds and raises its own replacement stock. A small percentage of bull calves are kept and raised to be sold as breeding bulls or utilized on the farm as necessary to pasture breed heifers.
Pleasant Hill Dairy produces soybeans, corn, and oats mainly for silage, coastal and alfalfa grass silage, and coastal grass hay. Custom hire operations are utilized during silage harvest. Planting and haying are handled with our equipment and staff. The dairy management is primarily handled by our sons Sjouke, Equipment and Land Supervisor and Auke, Chief Herdsman and Dairy Supervisor.
Along with Pleasant Hill Dairy, L.P. is Pleasant Hill Farms, L.L.C. This company is trading alfalfa, grass hay, and straw, silage plastic from Up North Plastics, and dairy minerals from Van Beek Nutrition. Pleasant Hill Transportation brokers freight in conjunction with the operations of Pleasant Hill Farms. The Farms runs stepdecks and also a walking floor.
Besides all the work, the Plantinga family finds fun in maintaining their Friesland roots and traditions in enjoying the Friesian horses. Pleasanthill breeds and competes in riding and driving. Douwe himself grew up with the Friesian breed, using the horses to work on their Dairy Farm. Now, the Friesian brings him pleasure in driving competitions. His horses are known for their stamina and keen physical ability to compete at the upper levels in Combined Driving events. More recently, a pair of his driving Friesians were featured in the Hunger Games – Catching Fire movie. They are registered with the FHANA studbook. We also keep a few Holsteiner horses for breeding and riding.
To this day, Douwe loves his Warmbloods as well and has a variety of Jumpers that he schools each day. He grew up with Trakehners, Warmbloods, and Holsteiners. You can still here a lilt in his voice when talking about some of these earlier horses he trained that fired his passion in the equine industry.
Pleasant Hill Farms is dedicated to preserving their Dutch heritage while building a lasting legacy at their farm in Texas.