My new normal: A day of a dairy farmer
By Tierney Lawlor
Apprentice Tierney Lawlor is nearly a year into our organic dairy apprenticeship program and takes each day with stride. Read what a day of farming is like from her perspective, and why it keeps her coming back.
Our cows are milked twice, every day at Wolfe’s Neck Center. The first milking starts around 5:30 AM, so we have to get to the barn early to set up and prepare. Getting up early is sometimes challenging, but when you know you are going to work with some amazing animals and doing something you truly love, the time of day does not bother you.
I get in to work at 4:45 AM and walk into the barn to greet all my cow friends. Another apprentice and I feed the cows breakfast, set up the milking parlor, clean the manure on the pack and in the yard, and then get the milk herd in position to
get milked. One worker will milk the cows and another worker will do other chores to take care of the other animals on the farm. It takes about 2.5 hours to get the herd milked and all the other animals on the farm fed.
After completing the morning chores, the next part of the day is spent doing various jobs that need to be done around the farm. At around 3 PM, my coworker and I start doing afternoon chores to prepare for afternoon milking. We feed the cows dinner, clean the pack and yard, feed the other animals, and get the milk herd into the parlor. Afternoon milking takes about another two hours.
After the cows are milked and the parlor is cleaned, we check on the herd one more time to make sure everyone is happy. Then we head home for the night to get ready to do it again the next day.
The joy and happiness I get from going to work each day and working with cows, pigs, chickens and so on is well worth the early mornings and late nights. Working with these creatures everyday puts a smile on my face and makes me feel good knowing that I am helping them live a happy life while being able to sustainably supply quality products to customers. I’ve come to learn that each animal has its own unique personality and it is awesome to see them grow and develop over the years. I love working with animals and I love being a farmer. It is an amazing, challenging, yet rewarding career.