Day on a Local Dairy Farm

By: Anna Armstrong and Sarah Mosier, Purdue Dietetic Interns

            Last week we had the opportunity to visit Kelsay and Sons Dairy Farm in Whiteland, Indiana. This local dairy farm is just outside Indianapolis off of I-65 South. They work hard to not only run an efficient operation but make the public feel welcome on their farm, as well. They love teaching consumers about agriculture, food production, and what farmers do to care for their animals. It was a neat experience to learn about how a dairy farm actually operates and is managed. Liz Woodruff was our tour guide for the day. She showed us the barns where the cows live as well as where the baby cows (e.g. calves) are born, the milking parlor, and the milk holding tank.

            Kelsay Farms is a unique dairy operation because they grow all of their own feed. They plant crops in the Spring, grow them all Summer, and then harvest them in the Fall. All of which are then used to feed their cows for the rest of the year. This takes special coordination to manage growing crops and taking care of 500 cows. Each lactating cow is milked three times a day around the clock. When the cows aren’t in the milking parlor they live a pampered lifestyle in three different barns with automatic misters, all the food they can eat, sawdust beds, and a constant supply of water. Cows don’t like to be hot in the summer or cold in the winter so they are kept in a temperature-regulated barn throughout the year. It was evident that this keeps them happy and healthy as we watched the cows resting and socializing with one another.

            We also learned that cows are very habitual creatures, and when their routine is disrupted their milk production decreases. Therefore, the barns are monitored and regulated so that the cows are always comfortable. The milk that is produced at the Kelsay and Sons Dairy Farm is sent down to Dean’s Dairy in Louisville, Kentucky. Throughout the year they open up their facilities to group tours. Then, in the fall, they have a corn maze, pumpkin patch, hay rides, and other fun activities for all age groups. These Fall activities begin October 2nd at noon. So, gather up your family and head out to Kelsay Farms, just like we did! More information, an event schedule, and pictures of this LOCAL dairy farm are found at www.KelsayFarms.com.