Last dairyman in Grimes County closes barn doors

KBTX News 3 at Ten(Recurring)
Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 6:28 PM CDT
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NAVASOTA, Texas (KBTX) - Grimes County was known as the Land of Milk and Honey after dairy farms began popping up following World War II. But, that statement is only half true today, as the last dairyman in Grimes County closed his barn doors.

Art Courville spent the last 49 years running the Lynn Grove Jersey Farm. In 2013, he became the last dairyman in the county. But that eventually had to come to an end, Courville said.

“Old age, needed a knee replacement. I did that 49 years, it was time to move on,” he said.

Waking up before dawn to milk up to 180 cows at their peak, the farm was a lot of work. And, that was just the first milking of the day.

“It’s not a job. It’s a way of life of the dairy,” Courville said.

The last cow was milked on June 5. The next day, retirement started.

“It was funny being outside at three or four o’clock in the afternoon when I’m usually in the barn. It was a funny feeling because I was always inside at that time. Now I’m outside,” Courville said. “That was a good feeling.”

The dairy farm responsibility was passed to Courville from his in-laws. He got his first peek into working with cows when he came to the area to attend Texas A&M. Now looking back on his time at the property and in the dairy business, he says it was a career he wasn’t prepared for but doesn’t regret a bit.

“I loved it. Great family life, great family support because this was a dairy-oriented family. I wouldn’t change a thing, you’re gonna make me cry,” Courville said.

Most of the cows have been sold and Courville says he will be enjoying retirement with the exception for artificial insemination work and possibly raising beef cattle. He also says while it’s not always a popular opinion, Jersey cows are the best for milking.