“Once I’m gone, this dairy will be gone. No one else to take my place.”
Art Courville runs one of the two remaining dairies in Grimes county, but his neighbors in Washington county still have three generations working on their family’s dairy.
“We got our first permit in April of 1949. My dad started this dairy, and I’m the second generation, Douglas is 3rd, and Matthew, his is the 4th in it now.”
We asked Douglas Kettler what he liked about the dairy business.
“Twice a day you milk cows. That’s the same old thing you get a little tired of but between milkings it’s something different almost every day.”
“We grow our grain, and our forage and we buy our protein.”
“Cutting brush, spraying weeds, or spraying fields, combining oats, combining milo or something.”
“This time of year we work ‘til dark pretty well.”
Raymond Kettler says dairying isn’t quite as tough as it was in the old days.
“Breeding is much better than it was and feed has been improved, how to make more milk from a cow, and the labor part is not quite as difficult as it was. I mean, we’ve got bulk tanks to handle the milk. You don’t have to lift those hundred pound milk cans.”
You have to like to work to like dairying.
“I get to work with my father and my son, and I guess that’s important to me.”
“You’ll never get rich at it.”
“Never short of work, it’s there every day. Every once and a while you get a little rest.”
And without his son and grandson could Raymond still be at it after almost 60 years?
“No, definitely not.”
The Kettler dairy, one of four remaining family dairies in Washington County. I’m Joe Brown, looking at Brazos Valley agriculture, From the Ground Up.