4 Things Everyone Should Know About Dairy Farming

Shelby Barnhart

Jun 27, 2024  |  Today's News |  ICGA |  ICMB

June is Dairy month so IL Corn touched base with some dairy farmers in Illinois. Here’s what they shared. 

  1. It’s a day in-day out job

Dairy Farming is a commitment unlike most 9-5 jobs. Matt, a local dairy farmer from Kilgus Farmstead located in Fairbury, IL, talks about the needs of dairy cattle on a day-to-day basis. “We milk twice a day every day, some farmers do three times a day just depending on preference or demand of the cattle,” he told us as he explained that most people do not realize the constant 24-hour effort it takes when you are living at the beck and call of livestock.  

  1. Most Dairy Farms in IL are Family owned

A common misconception in the agriculture industry is that most farms are corporately owned whereas the reality is that a lot of farms, especially dairy farms, are family owned, passed down from generation to generation. They’re comprised of fathers and sons working alongside uncles and cousins to produce the needs for our world to operate. Nowadays, most farms are onto their 2nd, 3rd, and even 4th generation of farmers. As the world continues to evolve so does the need for agriculture with it. Families work together and dedicate their time to care for their livestock to produce the best product for their consumers. 

  1.  Test before committing type of career

With most farms in Illinois being family owned, it can be a tricky business to get involved in. The easiest way to get involved is to find yourself as a hand, which would likely lead to being a manager of a farm. In today’s economy, it’s “near impossible” to fund the start-up of a dairy cattle farm. Starting as hand is the best way to test your toe in the water before jumping in, as this type of laboring career isn’t for everyone.  

  1. Safety of Cattle

Along with the misconception of farms being corporately owned, there’s a large misunderstanding as to the treatment of livestock. Dairy farmers take pride and great care in the comfort of their cattle, making it their highest priority. Philip, a 4th generation dairy farmer in the area, explained, “a lot of people don’t understand how we care for our cattle. We want them properly taken care of, healthy, and comfortable.” A healthy cow produces the best milk.