Dad’s Creation

Dad was a man of many talents and some he developed later in life. His computer skills were amazing. Most would be surprised at what he learned and mastered. I found another “Dad’s Creation” tonight. Almost nightly, he would send out emails and photos. He started in about 1997 and until January 11, 2011 , 5:30 AM he sent his last…..

One to Cherish!http://

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What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up, Lesa?

 

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 What Do You Want To Be When You Grow Up, Lesa?

 There has been much attention given to women in agriculture lately. For the past fifty years, I have been a woman in agriculture and my paternal grandmother was a dairy farmer too. Dad often referred to her, and I reminded him of her. Not until the later in life, did I understand her role on the farm. Being a “farmer” started at a very early age for me. I never thought what I did was unusual. Looking back now, I am not sure how many knew what I did after school or during the summer. There was the occasional comment about my great suntan. While girls worked hard to get a tan, mine was from working. (This was before sunscreen and awareness of skin cancer.) Few knew that the young lady who played basketball, piano, and crowned Homecoming Queen was a dairy farmer.

 I have had only one employer for my entire life, my Dad. He never put restrictions or limits on what I could do on the farm except in one area. He trusted me to drive tractors and equipment, the family car, and trucks at a very early age. Dad believed a young girl could drive a tractor with a haybine or haybaler on U.S. 62 (a local highway). I was responsible for working ground and applying chemicals to fields in preparation for planting. There was no distinction between me being a female or male. No, I was not expected to lift more than I could. However, I did a lot of physical manual labor on the farm. Shoveling, carrying heavy buckets of milk to feed calves, lifting bales of hay, were all a part of daily life. After college, I was the primary milker early in the morning and in the afternoons. I continued to do field work too.

The one area my Dad treated me differently was significant. Farm management was to left to my brother and him. Why, I do not know, and he could never answer this question. We had many discussions about this over the years. However, after some rather unpleasant family events happened, I became the farm manager in 2007. This is where I first faced, you are a woman farmer? I do not know how many times I have been asked to speak to the owner or my husband. In others words where is the man. Then in 2010, I was farm owner and operator along with Ellie. Dad was eager to teach, share and engaged in farming again. Sadly, he suddenly died in 2011 and took with him a lifetime of knowledge. We are now learning the part that I was sheltered from during my life.

Neither Ellie or I majored in agriculture in college or participated in ag-related organizations. Today, I would encourage young ladies to consider agriculture as a field of study or occupation. There will be an increasing demand for those working in agriculture. I am not just talking about farmers. Careers in agriculture will be needed as the population increases. 

Hoard’s Dairyman

Have you heard of “Hoard’s Dairyman” magazine? Probably not unless you are in a dairy related industry. “Hoard’s Dairyman” is a national dairy farm magazine with an international circulation. It is one of the dairy industry’s top publications. Recently, we were honored to appear in the October issue.

For me, this magazine holds a lot of very special memories. Someday, I will find the photo of Dad in his lazy boy chair smoking his cigar reading Hoard’s Dairyman, but until then it is etched in my heart. He was a regular reader of Hoard’s since he was always looking for ways to improve and better the farm. One of the first ways, was to increase the cow herd. Not only did he want the herd to grow, he was seeking cows with the best genetics. Where did Dad find the cows? In the classified ads of the Hoard’s Dairyman with the traits he desired. Dad and a neighbor dairy farmer made many trips to Wisconsin to buy and haul the cows home. I was about 11 or 12 when Dad started buying cows from Wisconsin. This was not an easy task in the early 1970’s. They hauled eight or nine cows in the back of a two-ton flatbed truck over 700 miles. As a child, I still remember the cows walking down the unloading chute. They were beautiful! Each cow was huge and her tail combed. Even their neck and ear tags were different. I still remember my first trip to Wisconsin, WOW! This would be comparable to a horse owner visiting a thoroughbred farm in Lexington, Kentucky.

Our dairy farm changed in the 1970’s thanks to Hoard’s. Today’s article is about how Ellie, Dustin, Dan and I are trying to save and improve Dad’s dream.

 

A businessman in muck boots

 

From the Beginning

Growing up Dairy Happy is not just a lifestyle choice in my family, but it is a way of life that has been passed down through the generations.

It all started from my Dad’s side; Dad, Louis Elliott, was born with the love for Kentucky land and cattle in his blood. Both his paternal and maternal grandparents were dairy farmers and he grew up farming with his father, four uncles and grandparents.

As a young man of many talents, dad received a full scholarship to Western Kentucky University to play basketball. Although he tried campus life for a few days, the love for his family and the farm echoed in the back of his mind and he chose to move back to his dairy happy life. Not for long though, as he was called away again but this time to serve his land and country in the Korean War. As he travelled throughout Europe, that same echo taunted him and he ached for the day to return to his dairy happy life.

The war ended and Dad returned home to the farm. He married my Mom, Sara Jane Buchanan, and they moved into the house with his parents and his brother. My grandmother died from colon cancer at the age of fifty and family dynamics began to change. Dad and Mom had a dream for a family farm and they decided it was time to make that a reality.

Finally, in 1964, Dad and Mom started to fulfill that dream. They bought a 120-acre farm just a few miles away with 17 cows, two lime trucks, a tractor, a hay baler and a two ton flat bed truck. Dad was a very determined man and he began running his farm like a well-oiled machine. His love for his land and cows was evident by working 20 hour days by custom lime hauling and custom hay baling. He ran between trucks, tractors and cows determined to pay off the loan for his farm.

The result of that hard work is what you see today; a 900-acre dairy farm that now goes by the name of LeCows.

 

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