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.
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.