Wednesday, December 3, 2014

We Are Indiana Agriculture: The Schwoeppes

By Sarah Mahan of This Farm Family's Life

Schwoeppe Dairy LLC is a small family-owned dairy farm in Southwestern Indiana, near the town of Saint Henry. Currently, the family milks 95 Holsteins with a few Brown Swiss mixed in for added color and interest.   “Our sons, Wyatt and Ethan, are the fifth generation to work and farm on this land,” Sam Schwoeppe says.  “It is my opinion that we do not own our farm, but we in fact borrow the farm from our children.  A farm is a legacy, and it is our responsibility to love and care for our land and nurture our animals so that we are able to pass our farming business on to the next generation in both a sustained and improved farm."

Sam is very excited that their son Wyatt is entering into the business operation. With an added person, they have new opportunities and challenges to face.  “Our cows are our partners in the dairy business.  We have to respect and take very good care of each other.  We provide a very comfortable and relaxing environment for our ’girls‘ living space.  I often joke and tell people we do not manage a dairy farm, we have a bovine spa for pampered ladies.  In addition to the perfectly balanced meals that are formulated by a nutritionist, we also have regular scheduled visits from our ’Bovine Manicurist,’ who comes to the farm three times a year to give each cow a pedicure.  The veterinarian makes house calls and gives well-cow exams, check-ups, vaccinations and the occasional prescription medication when one is sick, Sam says.

“We have loose, deep sand beds in our free stalls, so when our cows lay down to rest, it is like lying on a fresh beach.  For animal comfort, we believe in exercise and space.  During mild weather our girls are out on the pasture as much as possible.  They always have free access to fresh water and hay and are fed at regular meal times.  In the summer, we have fans blowing on the cows all the time they are inside the barns. We have sprinklers and fans for them to stand under when they are eating.  In the winter, we use fluffy sawdust and deep straw bedding to keep them warm and provide a comfortable place to rest.”

The Schwoeppes are proud member owners of Prairie Farms Dairy.  The milk from their cows is processed in Holland, Indiana which is only eight miles from the dairy farm.  “Within 48 hours of leaving our farm, our delicious, nutritious, fresh milk is on store shelves locally for your family to enjoy!”

Sam’s greatest enjoyment in farming is working with her sons.  “When I see my sons working as fifth generation farmers on our family farm, I am very proud to be a part of agriculture.  And what a great story of sustainability we are!”

She adds, “American farmers produce the safest, most abundant and affordable food supply on the earth.  Much of this food is being produced on farms that have been passed from generation to generation for over 100 years!”

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