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Living on a farm

By Staff | May 20, 2014

DR. TIM FAKLER, a dairy nutritionist with Kerber Milling Co., based in Emmetsburg, holds 124 school milk cartons to show how much milk an average Holstein cow produces in a day. He is speaking with Gilmore City-Bradgate Elementary School pupils during the May 9 Davis Dairy’s annual farm tour.

GILMORE CITY – A 110-year old dairy, owned and operated by Lawrence and Lois Davis, and their son, Glenn Davis, became a classroom on May 9 during the farm’s annual Dairy Day.

“I started the dairy many years ago,” said Lawrence Davis, “and we want these children to know what goes on on a regular dairy.

“It’s not the biggest and best, just a family dairy farm.”

Lois Davis kidded her husband saying, “He only married me because I knew how to milk cows.

Married in 1951, Lois Davis said she stepped into the family operation that included milking by hand.

CHLOE DICKEY, a kindergartner at Gilmore City-Bradgate Elementary School, gets a peek into the bulk milk tank at Davis Dairy.

Now the operation milks about 60 to 70 head, she said.

“It’s just me and Lawrence,” Davis said, “but we’re old. He’s 87, and I’m not too far behind. So we don’t do much.”

The bulk of the work is handled by their son, Glenn, and his wife, Trac,y and, generally, one hired hand.

“But they don’t usually stay long,” Lois Davis said. “The work is too hard.”

Glenn Davis said he’s been milking cattle on his family’s Gilmore City-area farm for 34 years and feels honored to help keep his family’s dairy heritage alive.

SANDI LEE, of Dakota City, holds a 5-day-old miniature Palomino colt for pupils of Mease Elementary School, in Humboldt, to pet.

“We are the last dairy in Humboldt County, and I am proud of that,” he said.

Davis Dairy markets milk to AMPI in Sanborn, where it’s eventually made into cheese that, Davis said, is sold worldwide.

Dairy Day was expected to see upward to 400 pupils that day. They stood transfixed as an AMPI bulk milk truck pulled into the farm drive and backed up to the milk house.

The main focus of Dairy Day is to feature the dairy, but also bring in other animals for the children to experience.

That included sheep, goats, chickens, rabbits, pigs, miniature horses and a miniature donkey. A magician, and horse and carriage rides entertained the youths. A treat of cookies and string cheese greeted them at the end of the tour.

UNIDENTIFIED FRIENDS of the Davis family hold feed pellets for a pair of Boer goats while pupils from Gilmore City Elementary School watch. The pupils are, from left, Emma Weydert, Neliegh Almond and Dakohta Marchant.

They also had the opportunity to learn about feed from Tim Fakler, director of nutrition at Kerber Milling Co., in Emmetsburg.

Fakler told touring classes that dairy cattle require different vitamins and minerals along with their feed and taught the children that a dairy cow can drink an entire bath tub of water every day in order to produce milk.

Sandi Lee, with Lee’s Mini-Whinnies of Dakota City, showed a miniature Palomino and its 5-day-colt, which were furnished by Denise Johnson, of Humboldt.

You can’t tour a dairy without watching cows being milked.

Cows are milked twice a day. Ten cattle can be milked at a time with each cow producing more than 50 pounds of milk a day.

STUDENTS FROM HARVEST Baptist School, in Fort Dodge, meet a pair of sheep at Davis Dairy on Friday. Christian Burnham is petting a Hampshire; while Jillian Hanson pets a Columbia.

Lawrence Davis was busy attending to the children and making sure everyone was getting to their places and enjoying themselves.

“This is good for the kids,” he said. “A lot of the little kids haven’t seen anything like this in their lifetime.”

Glenn Davis was also enjoying watching the children adoring the animals.

He smiled after one pupil finished examining dairy rations and said, “OK, I touched everything. What’s next?”

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