October 30, 2014

Farmer’s innovation earns award

Hip Lift Swivel being used on a cow on the Victor Miller and Sons Farm in Sterling.
By John Fischer
Staff writer
Posted

CLAYTON TOWNSHIP — Victor Daniels, Jr. has been a farmer his entire life and has worked alongside his brother, Carl, as owners and operators of Victor Daniels and Sons Farm for about 25 years and he says one thing that has always given a farmer trouble is a fallen cow which is why he invented the Hip Lift Swivel – the Michigan Farm Bureau’s Farmer Idea Exchange Award Winner.

According to Daniels, when cows fall, a lot of times they injure themselves and other times they’re just weak from calving, says the Clayton Township native whose farm is located north of Sterling on Melita Road.

“Before, you used to just grab a couple of guys and try to roll the thing back onto its feet,” Daniels said. “Cows weigh between 1,400 and 1,700 pounds, so, as you can imagine, it wasn’t a real practical way of doing things.

“When California had a big problem with fallen cows and I saw farmers lifting them back up and moving them around with skid-steer loaders, I thought that wasn’t a real humane way of moving cows around on those big metal forks. It was actually pretty controversial.”

So he decided to make his own device that would be more humane for the cows by attaching a cow hip-lift to the forks of a skid-steer loader. Hence his award-winning invention, the Hip Lift Swivel.

“It allows you to lift the cows in a humane matter,” Daniels said. “Skid-steers are very small and compact so you can maneuver them quite easily.”

He also says during the past two years he has used the Hip Lift Swivel on seven cows and within a couple days, five of the cows returned to the herd.

“The Hip Lift Swivel doesn’t affect your skid-steer either,” Daniels said. “It’s completely removable so you can still use the skid-steer for other stuff.”

According to Daniels, every year the Michigan Farm Bureau (MFB), Michigan’s largest farming organization, holds an annual meeting and this year his invention was recognized as the Farmer Idea Exchange Award.

“It’s always an honor to be recognized by people in your business,” Daniels said, adding this isn’t the first time he’s submitted an idea. “This is actually my third entry into the contest.

“I won the Farmer Idea Exchange Award before for my alfalfa seed broadcaster and was also honorable mention once too.”

He says he doesn’t attend the annual meeting in Grand Rapids every year but does attend the annual county meeting.

“We select delegates at our county-level meeting each year,” Daniels said. “We always try to select different people.”

Daniels, whose Hip Lift Swivel invention can be constructed in only three hours, says by winning the state Farmer Idea Exchange Award you are automatically entered into the national contest but says he’s already received notification that he wasn’t as lucky on the national level.

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