Dairy farming is a way of life

| June 20, 2013

COSHOCTON – June is National Dairy Month, but for Kevin Lowe and Maureen Pritchard, every day is a celebration of working in the industry.

“I’ve been a dairy farmer all my life,” Lowe said.

He farms in Clark and Monroe townships and has 500 acres, 55 dairy cows, raises sheep and hogs and grows corn, hay and oats to feed to his livestock.

“The day starts with milking the cows, eating breakfast and then doing the feeding and field work,” Lowe said. “It can be something different every day. You do a lot of the same jobs, but things change every so often.”

Right now Lowe is averaging about 50 pounds of milk that is marketed by the Dairy Farmers of America.

“It’s a hard seven days a week job,” he said. “You can’t really plan things like going away. You have to be flexible and work around the cows.”

The price of milk and the weather also can weigh heavily on a dairy farmer’s mind, but even those stresses don’t make Lowe want to change professions.

“The most rewarding part of farming is being my own boss,” he said. “I also really enjoy getting a new calf. That’s one thing that always makes me happy.”

Pritchard was forced to scale back on her farm work after surgery, but she still does what she can.

“I just have a few animals now and don’t milk and feed like I did,” she said. “I just have three dairy cows, but my brother next door to me has more cows. I still get up there and mess around.”

Pritchard got started with farm work when she was 5-years-old.

“It’s in my blood,” she said. “I’ve always enjoyed it and working with cows. When I was young I joined 4-H and showed at the fair.”

Like Lowe, Pritchard and her family are dedicated to the job of dairy farming.

“You have to milk two times a day and my brother never goes on vacation,” she said. “He goes to the barn and milks the cows.”

Pritchard said some people start their days around 5 a.m. or 5:30 a.m. and try to milk every 12 hours.

“Sometimes it could take four to five hours to get your work done,” she said. “If you don’t milk as many cows it could be less.”

Pritchard said her brother, David Tumblin, has 300 head of cattle and milks 100 of them at Tumblin Dairy Farm in Franklin Township.

“Modern technology and the big milking parlors have helped with the milking process,” she said. “We can put eight in our parlor and are going to put in more stalls to speed up the process.”

The job is time consuming and rough at times, but Pritchard has always enjoyed that it was a family affair.

“It was nice that it was all family – mom, dad and the four of us kids,” she said. “Everybody worked together and then we’d sit down at the supper table together.”

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About the Author ()

I started my journalism career in 2002 with a daily newspaper chain. After various stops with them, I am happy to be back home! I graduated from Coshocton High School in 1998 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2002 from Walsh University. I also earned several awards while working for daily papers, including being honored by Coshocton County’s veterans for the stories I wrote about them. I am honored and ready to once again shine a positive light on Coshocton County. I also am the proud mother of a little girl named Sophia!

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