“You’ve got your planned things, but then you’ve got to fix broken pipes. Motors go out. Equipment breaks. Cows get sick.”
Stanley Kettler says a dairy is no place for a slacker.
“Everybody says, well that’s almost as bad as the dairy business. That’s the truth.”
“Yes we have Christmas and the 4th of July, but we milk cows twice a day along with it.”
There are regularly scheduled tasks besides milking.
“We get through milking, Dad’s chore is to wash up the barn and get it cleaned back up, where my chore is to feed the cows. We feed ruffage, we feed corn silage to them, we feed protein concentrate, and we feed corn.”
“You’ve got to feed that cow right, you just don’t feed her a bucket full of feed and hay. You’ve got to feed her the protein she needs.”
Holstein cows were bred for volume production.
“50 pounds per day, which is approximately 6 gallons.”
“We don’t push ‘em quite as hard as the big dairies do.”
The Kettler Dairy is smaller than average, milking 115 cows.
“That’s tops for us. We can’t get no bigger because we got no more facilities and no more room to do it. We’re maxed out.”
“Our roots are here, so we’re going to stay here ‘til we quit.”
“With what you get paid for milk, and stuff like that, you can’t pick up and go buy a larger place, brand new equipment, and all kind of new stuff. There’s no way you’re going to pay for it and get out of debt.”
“I tell my grandson all the time. He wants to have a big ranch and he’s got big plans. I say well you need to go be a good lawyer, something like that, first. (You’ve gotta be an occupation somewhere) make your money, and then go out and spend it in agriculture.”
When you think of urban sprawl Navasota doesn’t usually come to mind, but as you travel down highway 6, you can see the Kettler Dairy being surrounded by town. Grimes county was once heralded as the land of milk and honey, boasting 125 dairies. Today 3 remain.