The Last Milking

This – THIS is what it looks like when a 4th generation family farm milks their cows in the barn for the VERY last time.  A very gut-wrenching and heartbreaking moment.  Tonight, the last cow on Patnode Lane was milked.  Tomorrow morning, the alarm will go off early – 4:30 a.m., to board our dairy cows on trucks and trailers for them to live on other farms.  The end of an era, 4 generations of cows milking in this little red barn, has come to an end.

Weston was 8 years old when he knew he wanted to grow up to be a farmer.  He bought his first dairy cow at a sale when he was 13 years old.  Proud of that cow and the cow family she came from, being a dairy farmer ran through his veins at an early age.  His great-grandpa milked cows, his grandpa, his Dad, and he knew he wanted to continue in their footsteps.  It was fitting of course that we met when we were 15 and 17 years old, showing dairy cattle at the local county fair.  Two teenagers who fell fast in love.  He taught me how to milk cows, and we rocked out in the crosswalk of the barn during chore time to the latest and greatest 90s hits on the radio.  Every once in a while a slow song would come on, and I would convince him to slow dance with me in the barn, swaying to the music and the beats of the cows milking next to us.

We envisioned this life.  A small dairy farming family here on Patnode Lane.  Our kids growing up, playing in the hay mound, bottle feeding the calves, and rocking out to their favorite songs as the cows milked.  We pictured our memories in this little red barn.

But then, it all changed.  Every year, milk prices fell faster and faster.  We tried to ride out the tide.  Some years were good, others were hard.  Very hard.  There were years milk prices dropped below what his Dad had been getting paid for milk in the 80s, and we wondered how much longer we could hold on.  Coming to a fork in the road.  Do we go bigger, or do we sell out of this vision of being a small dairy farm in Western Wisconsin.  Trust me, this decision isn’t one we took lightly.  In fact, making this decision felt like a tug of war between what our hearts said, and what the bank account said.  This decision was a gut-wrenching feeling knowing we would be giving up on the only dream Weston had envisioned his entire life.

My husband, he is a smart dairy guy.  He went to UW-Madison Short Course for Ag Business.  He had bull contracts from AI companies, a classified and registered herd, cows milking on average 85+ pounds per day in an old tie-stall barn, and he knew how to play the genetics game.  He did everything.  Tried everything, studied everything, and learned everything.  He did every single thing right.  But yet, we have come to this conclusion —– small dairy farms just don’t work anymore.

Truth is, we don’t have the means or man power to grow either.  And we can’t compete with 5,000 cow dairies.  Our kids are only 8 and 4 – and not ready to make a life commitment to be farmers.  Expanding our farm meant going farther in debt then what we could make cash flow.  It meant making financial decisions that would affect our kids and future generations without them having a say in it.  And, not having a 100% guarantee that it would work.  So, here we sat, this fork in the road.

I have a feeling a lot of small family owned dairies have sat at this same fork in the road.  I have a feeling there are a lot of conversations around the kitchen table, while starring at piles of bills, about what the next move is.  I have a feeling there are a lot of sleepless nights, pits in their stomachs, and never ending tears trying to decide which path to choose.  To expand the family farm for another generation, or to sell the cows and walk away.  It’s a hard decision.  As much as we want to push and shove on something that isn’t working, we know that God is telling us that the door on this chapter is closed.  I have a feeling we aren’t the only ones that have had this chapter closed and wondered, what next…..

There isn’t a book for this.  There probably should be, but no one wrote about what to do next when you sell your 4th generation family dairy farm.  No one wrote a book about how to get through that last milking, tears never seeming to end, as you hold each other tight with no words to be spoken.  No one wrote a book about where to go from here, or how to get over the emotions of the loss you feel in the pit of your stomach.  The heartbreak.  No one wrote a book that tells you how to get over that feeling of failure, even though you know you gave it your best fight to the bitter end.  No one wrote a book about what to do the morning following your cows being gone, when you realize you don’t have to wake up at the crack of dawn to milk them.

Farming isn’t just WHAT Weston DID….. it is WHO he IS.  To the very core, and the blood that ran through his veins.  He is a farmer.  I know the farm created him into the man he is, and I am forever thankful for that.  His patience, his compassion, his willingness to problem solve, or adjust to situations, and his hard work ethic.  All things he learned from the farm that overflow into his life and made him into the man he is.  And for that I am grateful.

I’m grateful for the years we had together in the barn.  The early years when I learned how to milk cows.  I’m grateful for the slow dances in the walkway as the cows milked.  I’m grateful for our dates to cattle auctions where some of our best and funniest memories were made.  I’m grateful for the memories our two boys had in the barn- feeding baby calves, chasing the barn cats, seeing baby calves being born late at night, and seeing their Dad give it his all into something he loved.  I’m grateful that God allowed us to add this piece of life to our memory box.  I’m grateful that in this time, we learned to draw closer into him and lean on him when it wasn’t our own understanding.  I’m grateful that he held us close when we felt it all slip away, and I’m grateful that I know he has other plans for us.  Even if we don’t understand what they are yet.

The last cow has been milked.  I never imagined saying, or typing those words.  They make the tears well up in my eyes as I write them.  The door on Patnode Lane Holsteins is closed for ever, but the next chapter is just beginning…..

  • Our cows will be sold tomorrow.
  • Next step- serving in Honduras

 

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169 Comments Add yours

  1. Deborah Rock says:

    We too were a 4th generations working on the 5th DAIRY FARM family! My husband was the son & grandson of Dairy farmers!ALWAYS working & trying to do just as his Dad & Granddad taught him, from the age of 9 he was on the tractor & helping milk! When wemet we were in 9th grade & friends until our Senior year! Then we dated & got married I. OCTOBER OF 74! AS IF FEBRUARY 28,2016 WE ARE OUT OF milking DAIRY cows! I miss it so! The weekend after the girls left we visited several Dairy Farms my heart just melted hard to see him without the girls surrounding him with their tails all swishing the same way! Your story made my eyes water up & yet again i look out the window and no one is @ the barn! Hope your memories will stay fresh on your mind and be a comfort to you & yours! I still have pictures of them on the last day of milking & our youngest grandson asking why r the cows leaving?

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  2. rosepyron says:

    I am so sorry… my brother is facing this same decision very soon…. prayers for peace

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This brought me to tears … I can’t imagine the hardship of making this choice less choice … As a Holstein mad dairy farmers daughter I just feel so much for you I think it would kill my dad to give up his cows despite working so hard for peanuts so in a way admire you for doing what you need to do for your family , looking forward to hearing of your new adventures and from the bottom of my heart wish you so much luck for the future xxx Laura , cork Ireland

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  4. Peter Hoh says:

    This post tugs at my heart. I grew up a city kid, but trips to a family friend’s small dairy farm were an annual highlight. A 5,000 head herd boggles my mind. Sorry that you had to let go of what you worked so hard for.

    Like

  5. Kat says:

    Man this broke me. I don’t have a single clue what it’s like to have a dairy farm, but I know what it’s like to have dreams crushed and have your whole world fall around you. This made me cry a bit while at work. Although, I have my tribulations with God, I know that this will not be all for nothing. This is just the beginning and deep in my hear I know this will all be for the better. My heart goes out to you and your family. Don’t give up ❤ Sending all my love.

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  6. Wendy says:

    I am so sorry to read this blog post and to learn of your girl’s being sold. I cried with you as I was reading. I cannot imagine the heartbreak you are feeling right now. My great uncle sold his herd in the 1990’s and it is something I will never forget – they were not my cows, not my farm and not my livelihood, yet I felt the pain of them leaving. It was the end of a long era of dairy farming on that farm. Our family farm has been in the family for over 200 years and those first few years without cows was so hard. I missed the smell and warmth of the barn, calves sucking on my fingers, kittens nestled in the hay mound and most importantly the love shared between my aunt and uncle when working in the barn together. It shaped who I am as a person today. May God bless your family and bring you peace in this decision.

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  7. Kati C. says:

    I am so sorry your small family farm could not continue. You have a beautiful family. May God bless you.

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  8. Yvonne Whitehill-Lapar Dairy Kansas says:

    I had to wipe tears because in 2012 we share your same experience! I read your story to my husband who sounds just like yours & told him “I guess all dairy families are the same!” God opened doors for us & he will take care of you! God bless your family & the wonderful dairy cow!

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  9. 2sdaysgirl says:

    I wish there were words for this. But there aren’t. Just know in your heart that God will provide a way for you all to get through this. Life has a funny way of teaching us that we are resilient~ even when we think we can’t possibly bounce. Our lives as ag-vocators, wives, farmers, ranchers, or whatever title you have involve highs and lows, and no one can prepare for the lows like this…but we can help you through this with our shared tears for you and yours, our prayers and our never ending support. Know that we will say a prayer for all of you to help ease you thru the transition…hugs….

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  10. Kim Lamoreaux says:

    Please tell me I’m missing something, but who wrote this? How do you put something out on Facebook without attribution. Its amateurishly written, but that doesn’t lessen the poignancy or importance of the message. I hope I just couldn’t locate a byline because of viewing a mobile version. How does the reader know this is legitimate and not made up? Just asking.

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    1. Jenni says:

      This is the story of my own family. It is very real. The heartache and pain- that’s real. Thank you for reading.

      Like

      1. Tammy says:

        I thought this was beautifully and thoughtfully written. My own family went through this a few decades ago. Be strong!

        Like

    2. Bailey says:

      Yes, you’re missing ALOT. You’ve posted your comment ON a blog post. The blog belongs to Jenni…she’s the author of all posts. Minimal scrolling and you can easily find this out. It’s written from her heart – full of honesty and raw emotion. This is why it’s been shared numerous times, has been received and appreciated internationally, and is why you likely found it on Facebook.

      Like

    3. Ed says:

      Someone’s dreams, livelihood, fears and hopes are displayed and sharedand ALL you get out of it, was that it was written amateurish and didn’t leave a byline? Nice… NICE…

      And to the family losing their world, I hope you find your new path, and a Wondrous Life ahead very soon. It’s already pretty well started with a wonderful, loving family by your side…

      Like

    4. Dairy girl says:

      If you were ever a dairy farmer you would read it and just know. BTW, not everyone is a full time writer so sorry it seemed amateurish to you.

      Like

    5. Shirl says:

      Kim Lamoreaux, this wasn’t authored on Facebook. It’s a blog that was simply referenced on Facebook along with a link. The original blogroll most certainly was attributed to the author, if you took the time to check it. The only legitimacy I call into question is the intent of your commentary. If you truly felt the message was poignant and important, you could have left out the dig about it being “amateurishly written”.

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  11. Joel Gramm says:

    I still miss my beloved cows. I was a 5th generation and came to the very same cross road 13 years ago. I feel every bit of pain as I read your article. God be with you in your transition. He has a plan for you.

    Like

  12. Sally says:

    May your lives be filled with love ❤️ and what your hearts desire.

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  13. Amber says:

    My Godparents are also missionaries in Honduras for over 30 years. Christ Cares World Ministries ❤️

    Like

  14. Annette Thomas says:

    I am sorry for your loss and Americas. The family farms are being lost and no one even knows or cares. They sure will buy “organic” but not know that the huge farms are not the ones that operate like that. God bless your family in your next chapter. I’m sure you will take the work ethic and dedication that your farm has grown and flourish in what ever you do.

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    1. Kerri says:

      I am so sorry for the choice your beautiful family had to make. God bless you on the transition you make into this next chapter in your life. In our area, we are considered a “huge” farm, and we do operate like this Miss/Mrs. Thomas. My husband and I both shed tears while reading this. My husband and his brother are 3rd generation dairy farmers, we have 4 small children, and as a family we all work together every day on this farm. Even though we have a large farm, the love for each animal here is present just as on a wonderful small farm. If we would make this same decision it would be absolutely heartbreaking. I say this not to be mean or smart, but just to educate the public that “large” farms are family owned as well, and we all farmers, and strive to feed a growing population the best way we can. Best of luck to you and your family Jenni. God Bless.

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  15. sabra schmidt says:

    Thank you for sharing your family, your story and your heart. We live on a farm and raise Hereford cows and sell All natural meat and are struggling also. With the price of processing going up and feed we are struggling to keep our bills paid. It is only husband and I and we are 60 and doing everything ourselves. Have no idea how long we can hold on. Blessings to you and yours and a future of pure happiness.

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  16. Natasha says:

    We had the same experience with our dairy goat farm. Reading about your husband is like reading about mine. The year after was so hard for him, but God opened new doors for us and he has found joy again. Each spring and fall he helps out other farmers and that helps. I will pray for your family tonight that you find a new joy in the path God will lead you down.

    The Lord’s blessings to you all
    Natasha

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  17. Jodi says:

    Oh…Tears are running rolling down my cheeks…I am so very sorry that you are having to go through this. I can personally relate to your great loss. I was the kid who saved and saved, picked out and purchased my own heifers, picked out the bull that would best suit each of them for my herd. Then as a teenager in the mid80s, things went south, and it meant nothing that these were my animals nor did it matter that I had every intention to take over the farm as an adult. It took decades to heal the wound that was left and at times still hurts. For some farming is exactly who you are verses what you do! God will see you and your family through this difficult time and help you heal from the heartache. Be patient and focus on who you are in Christ and how He sees you. That means so much more than how you see yourself. He has plans for your next chapter! Lifting you up!

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  18. Becky says:

    We are a very small family farm and raise pigs.It is never easy and it is a constant struggle to stay a float because it’s not easy competing with a commercial size farm. I’ve seen way too many beautiful family farms go under in our own area,I pray for you and your family. Those just weRe not cows , those were years of hard work and dedication, those cows were part of your heritage and family. My heart goes out to you and your family. I broke into tears reading this. I pray you and your family find the next chapter as meaningful and full filling as the last. God bless you all and please know, we small family farms all over this country stand with you and your family and wish you all the best.

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  19. Marty Essary, says:

    My wife and I went through the same thing 5 years ago,we no exactly how you all are going through. I am so sorry to hear this dad news. But like you all we had to lean on the Lord for strength to get us through. I will pray for peace,comfort and strength for you all. God Bless ..

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  20. Kathy says:

    What a wonderful post…..wonderful because we all felt your loss, your heartbreak……My grandparents had a farm in Rio Wisc. So remember the sweet smell in the early morning during milking. So happy you have a plan….and look forward to post from Hondurus … when one door shuts another door opens. The universe awaits….

    Like

  21. Judy says:

    I am so sorry. I have good friends in PA who have had this struggle for years on end. I pray you will find a way to do what you love, and that which uses all your talents and knowledge. And, I hope it includes some kind of farming.

    Like

  22. valarie Quick says:

    I know He has your best in mind, but my heart is still breaking for all of you. shalom

    Like

  23. Brian says:

    When my dad sold the cows, our dog was depressed for a long time after. There is just something about the life/activity on the farm. But, Honduras sounds like a great next step. God bless you richly. Do you know this song. Farmer Tan by Sawyer Brown. It kind of speaks to where you are at. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArD4Jm9h-GY

    Like

  24. Ken Vanderkooi. says:

    Thanks for sharing your story it touched me deeply. I am also a farmer it we live in Canada where we have a supply manage system witch gives us a fair return for our milk, it’s based on a cost of producing it. The last few months have not been easy with the President of the US blaming the Canadian farmers for the US farmers troubles. Nobody can produce milk at world prices, it should be produce at a cost plus a fair return just like any other business. Again thank you for sharing and our prayer is that God will show you what he wants you to do.
    Ken.

    Like

  25. Dean Neniska says:

    Socoety is changing anyways….milk demand slowly dropping…ask “The Mad Cowboy” from Cowspiricy. He was a rancher for 35 yrs(?) and finally realized growing food is the way to go. It will be hard to find a good living going from dairy to something else- but look into non-dairy crops/production. The future is headed there…so that’s where the money will be more and more. Best of luck!

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  26. Jackie Buhr says:

    I am so sorry. I have been on farms and around cattle all my life. Only God is big enough to get you through this. Lean on him. I pray for you and your children that God will show you a way through and a way home. Home to something that you can love as much as you have loved this life. God be with you.

    Like

  27. jaccola9j says:

    Westin and Jenni, we, your neighbors, wish you the best in your years to come. Keep on blogging Jenni.

    Like

  28. Stacy says:

    As a small town gal from Wisconsin, my heart breaks for you all. God will provide, which is what, I’m certain, is getting you through this time right now. Adventures and good work await in Honduras. All the best in your next adventure!

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  29. RL says:

    I am a fourth generation Kansas farmer who grew up during the 80’s farm crisis. A few years ago, the decision needed to be made to expand or downsize. Learning the lessons, or yielding to the fears, from the 80’s we downsized. Many blessings and hardships have followed as we keep moving forward, all the while knowing that I will most likely be the last of my family to till what was passed on to my care. You mentioned God’s saving graces and I can agree. All that I can offer is that every spring and fall, if it be my final honor, I thank Him for the opportunity to have been able to experience one more planting season and harvest. Be grateful that your children, as I am with mine, had the opportunity to at least dip their toe in and live the life. Even with the hardships and toils, no childhood upbringing could be more blessed. That is something that can never be taken away from them and something to which you should be proud of and thankful for. They have already learned invaluable lessons which could have never been taught anywhere else. Keep hopeful that your children, as I am for mine, will one day, in some form or fashion, follow in your footsteps.

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  30. Judy says:

    Who says how much it costs to produce it. It would be different for everyone. Many businesses go out of business because they don’t get enough return. It all depends on if people want your product.

    Like

  31. Mike says:

    I do hope that you will keep the the land and your home and find another purpose for them and your talents. God bless.

    Like

  32. Julie gale says:

    I can so relate to your blog! I grew up a farmers daughter with grandparents living just down the road. My parents were tenent farmers, we didn’t own the land. In the late 80s, our landlord decided to sell the farm. They simply couldn’t afford it. My dad was born on the farm, at age 58 he was forced off the land into early retirement. This was a very dark time in our families lives. We survived by the grace of God, but never forget our real roots, the love of natuof nature, the land, and God. I will pray for peace for your family.

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  33. Ziegler says:

    God Will provide. But it stinks change OUR plan. As a small producer we have asked the same question. So far we are still in but each day a new curve is thrown at you.you wonder why and then a new calf is born or the kids see life or plants grow. May God bless you and your family

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  34. As a daughter of a dairy farmer, I feel your pain. I truly do. My dad sold off the herd first, then sold the farm 3 years later. This happened in the early 2000’s, so it’s been a while, but the pain of losing the farm which I loved and was my anchor is just as raw today as it was when it happened. I still cannot drive past my childhood home because it just hurts too damned much and crying and driving don’t mix too well. I have two pictures of the farm taken by airplane that hang in my living room so that when I need some grounding I stare at to remember what an awesome childhood I had! I wouldn’t trade that upbringing for the world as I learned so much from my parents that have stood me in good stead throughout my life, work ethic and honesty at the top. Good luck to you and I will pray that with God’s help, you will find your way forward. God Bless You All

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  35. Julie Burch says:

    My husband was a cattleman when I met him and we owned and operated a Trading Post on the border of the Navajo Reservation in North West New Mexico. Ranching was in his blood, he was a 5th generation Rancher. The Trading Post was also in both our backgrounds, me being a 5th generation in the Old Trading Post. My husband was tragically killed in a trucking accident three day before christmas in 1995, he was moving one of our ranching tractors. We had four boys at the time, the youngest was 4 and the oldest 17. We did our best to keep everything running and operating after my husband passed, but so much of what made our businesses work was what he did, he was the cattle guy, he was the horse trainer, he was the one who knew how to buy and trade with the Navajo people, so it became to hard and overwhelming for us to keep our Trading Posts and our Ranching lease. Closing the doors on the place where we had raised our boys, rode our horses, where all our firsts had happened, where our love had grown, where we worked everday side by side was the hardest, most heartbreaking day. I felt I was letting my husband down, that I was giving up on our dream life, but I also knew that he was telling me , ” It’s ok” Me and God, we’ve got this, we will take it from here. My boys are all raised now and are all successful in their chosen careers. I met and married a wonderful man who works in the oil and gas industry. life definitely had its ups and downs after losing our sweet Bruce, but God and Bruce did see us through and they continue to do so everyday of my life. I pray for your family that the comforter will be with you during this difficult time. My old Navajo great uncle once told me a story about a man who had come to a fork in the road in his life and he asked my uncle what he should do. My uncle simply said, “just take it,” meaning which ever road you choose God has a plan, we just have to have faith and trust in our choice, that the road we take will bring something new, something good. God bless you.
    Sincerely
    Julie Burch

    Like

    1. Jenni says:

      Oh Julie- thank you so much for sharing your story and heart!! I’m so sorry you had to go through all of that and I’m glad you felt that God was with you through those difficult times as well. Love the fork in the road saying from your uncle! Thank you!

      Like

  36. My heart aches for you. We went through the same thing in 1988 when the drought was so severe. We had no choice but to quit and sell. Our kids were the 4th generation on the family farm by New Glarus, WI. Sending you wishes as you start the next chapter in your lives.

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  37. Matt says:

    I’m grateful for this post it helps me to know how my parents felt in the mid-80’s, when they had to make the same decision. I was about your oldest son’s age then.

    It may help to know that I had already spent enough time watching my parents work on that 100 head dairy farm to learn some of the very important lesson that life can teach.

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  38. Caroline Hurry says:

    This is just heartbreaking … i have no words.

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  39. Unreal. I just don’t have words. I’ll lift you all up in prayer. It stinks on ice and it’s remarkably unfair.

    Like

  40. Dawna Smith says:

    I remember that “last day” (farm auction) for my dad, for our family, as we said good bye to our small family wheat farm in ND. I know those tears, they burn more than most. So sorry this is happening to you, may God bless you in your next adventure.

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  41. Marilyn says:

    I know how you feel. My brother and I own a small dairy farm in south eastern Wisconsin and we are so close to making the same decision you just had to make. Our farm is in its sixth generation of family farming. The little guy just can’t compete with the mega dairies. You can’t do all the work yourself and you can’t afford or find good reliable help.

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  42. Dee says:

    AMPI -that sign hung on the barn of our family farm when I was growing up. It has since been replaced by another. My parents never saw a way out and my brother (5th gen) is now working the farm, making nothing since it is ‘grade B’. (same expenses, same health/quality inspections, but paid significantly less) There is definitely ‘something about a farmer’ that only a farmer can relate to and it goes beyond having your own ‘business’ because it is NOT just ‘a business’. The only thing that we had that was new was food and our Christmas presents. Though it hurts now and there may always be an ache, it is good that you are able to make a change while you are young enough. It is sad that your kids won’t have the same lifestyle as their paternal grandparents. But, just like in other industries, big business pushes their weight around and squashes the little guy. I guess why should farming be any different? Stand proud, lift your head high, you lived your dream -it just was shorter than you had thought. Keep the memories alive and tell your kids everything you remember about life on your dairy farm. (or write books like Jerry Apps)

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  43. Shirley says:

    I was about 10 years old, crying my heart out, when I watched from my upstairs bedroom window as my grandparents’ cows (about 10 of them!) walk out of the barn to load onto a truck – that was about 1958 and it was a choice they made, not because they had to. Hubby and I chose not to take over his family farm because of the total commitment we knew it would take, one we understood from our families’ choices to farm. We have always respected farmers for that commitment they make. It does make me angry when I read of those herds of 5,000 (and more). That isn’t farming, that’s greed and that’s not in a real farmer’s vocabulary. My heart cries for your family and the all- too-many others in the same boat. One day, the public will realize the mistake this was. Do people realize that when our ancestors come from Europe where they worked under serfdom, they come to realize their own dreams and not work for others and when we don’t know our history, we are sadly going to repeat it and that is what this is. We now work for the “big guys” again instead of ourselves. This is not “progress”, of course, as some would argue. How sad! But as the others have written, God does have a plan for you (Jeremiah 29:11) and it sounds like you are listening to Him already. God bless you in your mission and may He be with all those remaining family farms who continue on.

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  44. Tina Haddenham says:

    I don’t know if the family will read this but if they do … there is a farm in Northfield MN that possibly went through a similar experience. They turned their farm into a very lucrative pizza business and event venue. The Red Barn Pizza is probably one of the coolest places my husband and I have visited. We go there every time we are back in MN visiting family. People that live in big cities want places they can take their families that are wholesome fun. There are couples who want to get married in a country setting. Turn the barn into a place where people can play music, dance and have a good time. Grow your own fresh produce, keep some of the farm animals. People like stuff like that in today’s world.

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    1. Jenni says:

      Thank you Tina for the suggestion. 🙂 We have a place like that in our area too and love it! Right now we are going to focus on our family and new adventures together- but maybe someday! We never know that the future holds! 🙂

      Like

    2. Dee says:

      We have one doing pizza in NC Wis too along with veggies.

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  45. Jenni says:

    Thank you all SO much for your prayers and sharing your own stories. Sorry it has taken me a little bit to respond- I’m currently on a mission trip in Honduras teaching women how to sew, but please know I read every single comment and it warmed my heart to see how many people are praying for our family. We feel incredibly blessed to know so many were moved by our story and support us through this hard time in our life. Thank you for your love! The support has been incredible. Thank you for sharing your own struggles and hurts and taking the time to reach out. There are so many wonderful people in the world. We feel blessed!

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  46. This makes me weep. I can imagine what you’re going through and wish I could make it better. We have a small beef herd and I know how I will feel when we have to put our moms on the bus. It’s not the same though, you have young children who are thriving among the cows, a husband who expresses who he is every day doing what he loves. It’s a huge loss, don’t bury the grief, keep crying until the pain subsides. All I can say is what you already know, that all of those qualities he has aren’t going anywhere and he will be an asset to whatever he decides to do. You have one or two things going for you too (understatement of the year) so life will be good again once you’re past this struggle. I worry about the future for farming generally, wonder about the cold hearts making policy, wonder where people will get nourishing food to sustain them. These are sad times but there have been sad times before and eventually the tide turns. More than ever many people are realizing that ordinary folks are going to have to do extraordinary things to put the heart back into government, hold politicians and business people to account and put a stop to the destruction. Hold on, you’ll be alright. Give your boys a hug for me.

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