Long ago, when Erick was still in corporate America as an Electrical Engineer, when the idea of us owning a meat processing facility would have made us laugh, and when we still raised and processed chickens in our backyard (without a thought of even trying to financially break even) we bought a Dairy Cow named Vicki. After numerous somewhat comical remarks or daydreams in which Erick thought of purchasing a cow and naming it Jessica (the severity of such a statement I have only recently come to truly understand), we decided the dairy goats we then had were not enough, and bought Vicki from Apple Family Farm. Luckily for Erick, the cow was already named and so the thought of naming it Jessica was quickly abandoned.
She was a mature cow, old enough to be calm and docile so that us kids could hop up on her and sit (I would say ride, but she hardly found the desire to actually move), but still young enough for us to get several years of good milk out of her. From there, our herd grew! Our first addition to the herd was Vicki’s calf, Tiny. Born on a rainy night while the neighbors blared Tiny Dancer by Elton John (hence Tiny’s name). We quickly added several cows to the herd. Dot was the second cow we bought, followed by Tracy and Kara, and then all of their several calves!
Unfortunately, all great things must come to an end, as will our Dairy herd on October 31st. As we’ve moved from being a small hobby farm, to a real business, we’ve experienced a wealth of growth. Now that the bottom line is what sustains us fully, we must work to make everything on the farm profitable. It is often the part of sustainability that we most ignore. All things on a farm have a purpose and a lifespan. The dairy has been an important part of our lives but we have decided that the girls have to go. They will be sorely missed, but we’ll be sure to find them a good home to move to.
By Conner Smith