The academic visit that I enjoyed the most on the ten day study tour of Jalisco was the day we went to Proan, the livestock production facility. Seeing a farm like Proan in Mexico was a very eye-opening experience for me. One of the reasons that I enjoyed and learned the most from Proan was because this is the type of dairy that I am interested in working with after I graduate: large herds based on production, efficiency, and genetics. I had seen many farms like Proan before in the United States, specifically California, but it became more intriguing to me being able to see a farm like this, the “mega” producers, in Mexico. Proan went against all of the stereotypes that have been created toward Mexican farming. Proan demonstrates to the United States that Mexico may be able to compete in the future with the industries of its neighbors to the north.
Established in 1954 as a family owned and operated farm of 500 laying hens, today Proan is the largest livestock facility in Latin America, with twenty-four million laying hens, over one million pigs, two thousand milk producing cows, and their own grain mill. Still owned by Manuel Bromo Muñoz under his philosophy “what is good can always be better”, Proan continues to be a family business with four brothers operating each of the four different facilities. It employs thirteen to fourteen hundred employees, and plays a huge role in the employment rate of San Juan, the nearby city with a population of eighty thousand people.
Walking onto the dairy facility of just under two thousand cows felt like walking onto a high-producing California dairy. The five-year-old fifty-four stall rotary parlor was top-notch, as was the routine for milking the cows. Concerned with cleanliness and milk quality, all of the milkers wear gloves, the cows are both pre and post-dipped, and wiped with cloth towels, despite the fact that Mexico does not have regulations about somatic cell count or milk quality requirements to be able to ship your milk, unlike American dairies. All of the cows are milked into the same bulk tanks and shipped out to both Dannon and Alpura processing plants. Milking the cows three times a day, twenty-four hours a day with five different people milking, like many of the large California herds, Proan utilizes Dairy Comp 305, as well as another management program called Dairy Plan. Proan is more advanced than many American dairies in their manure management, utilizing a recycler. They never hear complaints from the neighbors because of the high employment rate that the facility offers to the town.
Proan was an amazing eye-opening experience for me, because it made real the articles that we read about in class. Seeing a farm like Proan, they type of farm that we see all over the California, was amazing in itself because it proved that Mexico is really working on rising to the challenge of milk production that is offered by other countries, especially the United States.