Thursday, March 2, 2017

25 Years of Dairy Farming

Last week we passed the 25 year mark for number of years we've been milking. Arthur did milk cows in high school and early in our marriage but they were sold when we went to college. It's been 25 years since we bought them again after settling back here in Warroad, after college.

This picture shows the milk truck that comes every other day to our place to pick up milk. Arthur found a man who had 29 milk cows for sale, and since we had 29 stalls at the time, Arthur bought them by trading off some beef cows.

The kids have always been super helpful and pretty much grew up in the barn. (Yes, that's a bull in the stantion!) This is Silas.

Here's Hosanna giving the cows feed. The kids not only learned how to work in the barn, they had so much fun playing, except the time the boys turned the lights off on the Miriam and Hosanna in the haymow and they got scared:) I'm sure that happened a lot! They had lots of forts and tunnels in the haymow as well. I remember catching Naomi taste testing out dog food when she was four or so. One time on of the kids thought they would hide the kittens from the others by putting them in a five gallon bucket, and they all died :(  Arthur did a lot of math teaching in the barn. We put up Bible verses on the walls, still do, and use them to memorize while milking. Miriam remembers Arthur telling them stories while milking like the "House That Made Too Much Noise".  One year when we first started out milking we had our church's first Christmas program in the barn. The kids would eat crabapples in the haymow and throw the cores outside down the roof. If there was lots of snow they would even go sledding down the roof. So many good memories!

Silas and Miriam putting a milker on a cow.

Here's the farmer himself and the milkhouse before we got the big tank.

One thing we did when we first started milking was to set some goals for the farm.
 #1 - To use farming to teach our family and others important lessons like hard work, sowing and reaping, diligence and planning ahead. 
#2 - To provide financially for the family.
#3 - To honor the Lord by operating debt-free.
#4 - To help out other believers by providing meat and milk at free or reduced prices.
#5 - To be a witness to salesmen, truck drivers, and others visiting the farm.
#6 - To do a good job with what God has blessed us with.
#7 - To use the farm as a means for the children to earn money, learn an occupation, and business skills.

Arthur once said, "While most farm magazines, producers, and businessmen promote goals like more cows or more production or better facilities, I feel money is not the end. I don't need to be successful in the worlds terms."    To this day that's been true.  We will never have a 1,000 cow dairy, get really high production or have a state-of-the-art barn. We will never be successful in the world's eyes for dairy farmers, but that's okay. There are more important things in life.

We aren't sure how many more years we will dairy farm. There is a reason farmers quit when their children leave home! It's hard work. It's time consuming. It's expensive with not so much profit.  But that's okay too, because Arthur is enjoying milking with nieces and nephews now. He's enjoying having the grandsons show up to help milk.  He has friends and other boys come over to help out.  Our sons and daughters still head out to the barn to help as needed. It's a good life and a good place to be!

God is good!


  1. Thank you for this post. It really gave a lift to my spirit.
    Barb in Pennsylvania.

  2. Good! I'm glad it was a blessing to you, Barb!

  3. Love this post...thank you especially for sharing your goals. What a blessing. Forster Family

  4. Glad you enjoyed the post, Forester family!


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