My short bio: After showing my parents just how many people requested that I have them do an AMA, they were just as excited as I was! We didn't realize how little people knew about local farming and we are really hoping for a lot of questions!

I'm here with my mom and dad helping them with this AMA! My dad has been a dairy farmer for 32 years, and my mom started working with him more than 15 years ago! We own a farm that spans across 115 acres. We milk 125 cows twice a day, and when we're not milking we're fixing equipment, feeding the animals, and preparing for the next milking!

I'm so thankful for all of the questions I've received on my other post, but I'm sure it can be difficult to find them! Post here and we will be more than happy to answer your questions :D

My Proof: Here's my dad on the farm! This is called "scraping the lot" which means scraping all the manure into the manure pit so we can spread it all over the crops later on!

And here they are getting ready for your questions! I'll answer as soon as I get back from picking up medicine from the vet!

Thank you guys! Ask us anything! :)

I'll try to answer more questions tomorrow, but my mom has to teach Sunday School in the morning so we're headed to bed for the night! Thank you all for the sincere comments and questions! We've really enjoyed doing this AMA :) g'night!

Comments: 1367 • Responses: 75  • Date: 

ROKandHARDPLACE314 karma

How much income (gross and net) does your dairy farm.generate each year?

Silvertrumpet16582 karma

Good question!! Umm, every year depends on feed prices, milk prices, and crop production. This year was around $100,000...but $80,000 goes right back into the farm for repairs and overhead costs! So we only get about $20,000 on a good year! (Which really sucks when filling out the FAFSA! Lol :)

Octavia9501 karma

Dairy farm girl here. Couldn't get any college aid and my folks were broke. So much gross income so little net. It's a good life though. Hard work but nice way to grow up. My sibs and I try to give my parents days off when we can.

Silvertrumpet16304 karma

You go girl!!

jrd5497258 karma

Son of an independent coal miner here. We make $150 a ton and get about 8 ton a day out (less now. 8 ton was when we had a lot more help). We work 6 days a week. Most of that money goes towards the company (equipment, certifications, you know it all). FAFSA is merciless.

Silvertrumpet16253 karma

My mom wanted to specifically say thank you to your comment. My sister (her daughter) lives in coal mining country, so we are very thankful for the hard work you do!

epiiplus1is0248 karma

Okay... I don't know how your farm is set up, but you should probably set it up as company/LLC. Assuming your total revenue is $100,000, the $80,000 should not be taxed since it's business expenses. The net $20,000 can be given as wages, giving the company $0 net income and putting you somewhere below the poverty line.

Silvertrumpet16111 karma

Thanks! We'll definitely look into that one!

chrisinthemorning84 karma

I read this comment before this one, and I'm really surprised by your profit numbers. Milk goes for three or four dollars a gallon where I'm at, so your numbers for 4,000 to 5,000 gallons would be almost $16,000 a day (4,500 x 3.5). Obviously there are other costs involved: manufacturing, advertising, seasonal variations, product loss, etc, but it still seems like an enormous disparity. Does all the milk go through a middle man that takes an enormous cut after selling it under a "name brand" ? edit: she meant pounds not gallons. Which would bring the number down to a much more reasonable amout

Silvertrumpet16267 karma

Exactly! A lotttttttt of the money is going to the middle man. Which is a big issue for us actually. The local farmers keep getting poorer, and the gallons of milk in the store keep going's all staying with the middle man! :( lol

XMT3208 karma

What does milk taste like straight out of a cow? How dangerous is it to drink like this?

Silvertrumpet16328 karma

I've tried it lol :) And it just tastes like warm milk really lol when I was little we never kept milk in the house, so I would take my bowl of cereal up to the barn and pour some out of the tank! As far as how dangerous it is? If you're raised drinking it like that, then your body is used to it so you'll be okay! Also, our farm keeps a low somatic cell count (how much bacteria is in the milk before it pasteurized)

devilchamp451 karma

thought you were gonna say you brought your bowl of cereal out and squeezed some out of the cow... ahaha.. Yea I'm dumb..

doyou_booboo216 karma

No way man you're not dumb, that's what I thought too. And I'm definitely not dumb.

DC_Forza90 karma

"I totally thought /u/Silvertrumpet16 was talking about milking her cereal straight from the tap."


Silvertrumpet1661 karma

Lololol :D

Nah, I would take a tea pitcher up there and fill it up with milk from the bulk tank! Lol

B_crunk73 karma

I've been getting fresh raw milk from a local dairy for years. It's only been filtered and cooled. It tastes so damn good. "Store bought" milk tastes so bad and like it's fake after drinking fresh milk.

Silvertrumpet1661 karma

Amen brother! (or sister!) lol :)

groznij24 karma

How do you ensure a low somatic cell count before pasteurization?

Silvertrumpet166 karma

We've been trained to use the best milking practices and cow care! We try our best to take care of our cows like family :)

noshell201 karma

I know nothing about farming, Is 125 cows considered a big number in dairy farming? also, how much milk your farm produce daily and how do you market it? thanks for doing this AMA.

Silvertrumpet16216 karma

For local dairy farming, that's a pretty big number!! There are big corporation-type farms that have thousands of cows and hundreds of workers! :)

senorpapagiorgio121 karma

How many gallons do yall pull each day?

And do the seasons affect milk output?

Silvertrumpet16154 karma

It ranges from 4,000 to 5,000 pounds of milk each day, which is two milkings! :)

edit: Almost forgot about the seasons! Spring and Fall are the best seasons for milk production! The cooler weather really helps :)

edit edit: lol She meant pounds, not gallons! Haha sorry for the confusion!

breezymcgz50 karma

Holy shit. You have 125 cows that produce 4-5 thousand gallons per day in 2 milkings? Each cow can put out 16 gallons per milking? That's incredible. I'm incredulous.

virnovus175 karma

OP probably meant pounds, not gallons. That's what milk is usually measured in. 1 gallon is about 8.3 pounds. Also, milk prices are usually given in dollars per 100 pounds. A typical price is around $15 per hundred, which would fit with the income figure OP gave earlier. A good milking cow can give about 100 pounds a day, which is about 12 gallons, but most cows will give below that, and there's always going to be heifers and dry cows that aren't giving any milk.

Silvertrumpet169 karma


Silvertrumpet1629 karma

Oops!! She meant 4,000 to 5,000 pounds each day! Sorry, thanks for the comment!

I_smell_awesome119 karma

What's your favorite kind of soup?

Silvertrumpet16175 karma

This is my favorite question :)

Mine is vegetable soup! My Momma's is broccoli cheddar and my dad's is vegetable soup, too!! :)

c_for105 karma

Broccoli Cheddar Soup!?! Why have I never been introduced to this ambrosia.

Silvertrumpet1697 karma

Either that or Loaded Potato soup!

IMaDeerbra26 karma

Try a cheesy potato soup with bits of ham and broccoli thrown in! Best in a bread bowl, its like heaven!

Silvertrumpet1612 karma

That actually sounds really yummy!

MrBighead78113 karma

What is the most disturbing or gross thing thats happened on the farm?

Silvertrumpet16279 karma

Since you asked, my mom has lost her wedding ring...twice...pulling a calf out of the mom cow! Lol :)

But in all seriousness, my mom said that it would have to be pulling a dead calf. When an animal dies it swells up and makes it very difficult to get it out.

A weird story is one time we had a calf with two faces! That one scarred my 8 year old self!

ladykohl88 karma

Was the one with two faces born alive or dead? What did you do with it? I find this really interesting.

Silvertrumpet16168 karma

It was born dead :( but we had something called the dead wagon come pick it up. Now that would be another interesting AMA!! A dead wagon truck driver!

Im_just_sayin_103 karma


Silvertrumpet16140 karma

We have to stick our hand up the cow's....well, we help the cow give birth :) and then we let the mommy cow take care of the baby for a couple days, then take it to the other barn so we can train them to drink out of a bottle, then a bucket! :)

Im_just_sayin_68 karma


Silvertrumpet16180 karma

We sell the bulls most of the time, which makes my mom sad lol she's bad about getting really attached lol she and my dad compromised and she gets to keep the red and white ones haha! :)

naaahhman34 karma

At what point between calf and bull, does the bull become aggressive and need to be kept separate?

Silvertrumpet169 karma

Our bulls stay in with the milk cows, and we're just careful about watching them.

khturner93 karma

How much of that 115 acres is crop land? Is the manure from your 125 cows enough to fertilize the whole thing? What do you guys grow?

Silvertrumpet16137 karma

Probably 75 acres are for crops. Yeah, we have lots of fertilizer (one cow poops about 125 pounds a day!!) We grow corn, and wheat...then we use that to make feed for the cows to last through the winter :)

angelofrawr95 karma

Wait what, 125pounds/day? How in the hell? How much does a cow eat per day?!

Silvertrumpet16106 karma

They feed 24 pounds of grains plus 25 pounds of alfalfa and silage per cow!!!

SmolderingDesigns75 karma

.... am I missing something? That doesn't quite add up..

Silvertrumpet1649 karma

The cow eats about 50 lbs a day, at least :)

Barbara_Booey86 karma

Do you have a cow that is like a pet to you that would never be used for food later on?

Silvertrumpet16270 karma

Ahh yes!!!!!! I once had a cow name Tippy Toe!! She had a bad foot, so she couldn't run away from me when I would go to pet her!! I remember sitting on the concrete slab on my new phone texting away. She came up next to me and licked my face from chin to my hair! Cows have tongues like a cat, but their tongues are the size of a small cat! Haha! Man I love that cow, I really miss her :)

seabassett60 karma

Does your family produce certified organic products? If not, is that something you are interested in doing? If you do, is it more profitable than not being organic?

Silvertrumpet16106 karma

We were interested in it, but unfortunately we can't afford it!! We would have to let the land "rest" for three years for it to be considered "organic" again :) As far as being more profitable? It's more successful, as long as you have a good market for it!

LaUnika23 karma

You can still farm the land during the three years, you just can't sell the milk as organic. Continue selling with the "traditional" route until you can be certified as you transition to organicly certifiable methods.

Source: my step-father has been certified organic dairy for about 15 yrs. PM if you'd like contact info. He LOVES trying to convert people.

Edit: spelling

Silvertrumpet1627 karma

They are interested in learning more about converting! Would you mind PMing me with a little more info :) thank you!

mrentropy58 karma

Do you keep a daily dairy diary?

Silvertrumpet1639 karma

This is too cute :D

My mom posts on her facebook about her day on the dairy farm all the time. And she does take time to write down her stories about her cows :)

wambrita9 karma

So, does your dairy farm have a Facebook page? I'd love to see the going ons of you and your cows!

Silvertrumpet168 karma

We don't have one right now, but my mom is interested in making one soon! Thanks for the idea :)

mrentropy8 karma

That's good enough for me :) Thank you and your folks.

Silvertrumpet166 karma

Thank you :)

Scrapple66657 karma

Do they play music in the barns to help the cows give more milk?

Silvertrumpet1680 karma

We play country music sometimes and listen to UK or UofL ballgames, but the machines in the parlor are pretty loud, so you can't really hear much anyway lol :D

nicholesavana4 karma


Silvertrumpet1613 karma


angelofdeaf52 karma

To OP - what was your favourite part about growing up on a farm?

I'm from New Zealand and I grew up on a farm (initially dairy, converted to beef) - it was such a fun childhood. My brother and I spent all our free time playing in the yards, hay shed, making BMX tracks, climbing trees and chilling in our tree house, making huts... Heaps of fun! I think my favourite thing was raising a lamb (and a couple of calves) each year for our schools lamb and calf day.

Silvertrumpet1660 karma

What a cool thing for your school to do!! My favorite part was playing after school every day with my step-brother (he's five days older than me!) so we would play in the creek and make forts and swords out of old tobacco sticks! I also loved ice skating with Muck boots on lol

I_will_eat_your_life45 karma

How do you feel about the abuse in the dairy industry and what steps do you take to prevent cruelty? Is your milk organic/free range? (Not a shot at you, I'm generally interested as I've taken more of a keen interest in animal rights recently)

EDIT: also, you mentioned you raised the cows from calfs to be milking cows, what do you do with the males?

Silvertrumpet1645 karma

I appreciate this sincerity in this question a lot. We are completely against any form of animal abuse. Our cows are our family, and we treat them with the same respect we would give to our family kitty :)

We sell the males to my dad's cousin. He has a farm, too!

SaucyFingers44 karma

Is it true that chocolate milk comes from brown cows?

Silvertrumpet1632 karma

I wish! :)

mmacpuguy39 karma

My son worked on a dairy farm for a few weeks, he said that cows will eat anything metal and that it's often fatal. Can you confirm this?

Silvertrumpet1650 karma

They eat it on accident, they just don't realize what they're doing! But it is fatal if they eat it! :) I bet that would hurt! Ouch!

shaktown22 karma

Do you use the magnets to prevent this?

Silvertrumpet1641 karma

Yes, we have use them before! It works quite well :)

bblasnalus38 karma

How often do you need to purchase new cows?

Silvertrumpet1646 karma

We raise our babies to be milking cows usually. But we usually purchase a couple every two or three months :)

Im_just_sayin_37 karma


Silvertrumpet1662 karma

Yes it is! I would say which, but could someone tell me if I'm allowed to say? I'm on mobile and can't find it but I don't want to break the rules! :)

Barbara_Booey26 karma

How intelligent are cows?

I heard that they have "clicks" (they like to hang out with specific friends).

Silvertrumpet1641 karma

Cows are very smart!! They're very social, and sometimes too curious for their own good! :) but yea, they're super smart! :)

dougnjackie25 karma

How many people it take to milk that many cows?

Silvertrumpet1634 karma

It takes two people per milking, and each milking (one in the morning and one at night) takes around 4 hours!!

Silvertrumpet1623 karma

Usually two. Our parlor is small so three people would be too crowded! But it would be to much for just one person

spetoja22 karma

How long does it take to milk one or a batch of cows? Do you have races? Is there an app to record your time and battle others online? If not why not!?

Silvertrumpet1637 karma

Nope, we can't race since we have to make sure that each cow is taken care of and milked properly. Obviously, there's a lot of poop on the farm and on the rear of a cow! If too much of it get into the milker, it can make the milk dangerous to drink, that's why we take 4 hours to milk each time!

nefkay16 karma

What amount of poop typically enters the milker? What amount is considered safe? EDIT: a letter

Silvertrumpet1637 karma

We clean the cows teats every time right before we put on the milker, that way no dirt or anything gets into the tank! If the milker falls off, then we throw out that jug of milk so it doesn't have the chance to contaminate any other jugs :)

duodan20 karma


I dream of someday having a small homestead, maybe being one of those guys who supplies local restaurants or grocers with meat/milk. On the milk side, I know there's an investment with milking many animals is your break even point? Like...obviously if I have one cow, a whole industrial milking set-up probably isn't worth it...

Silvertrumpet1621 karma

Good question! My step-brother owns a few cows but he's in the beef business, he doesn't milk them or anything lol :) my mom said that without any days off, no help, and working on their own, they would have to milk 90 cows all year!

mgltraveler9 karma

I'm from New England and a lot of folks here do dairy and beef. Usually have about 20 head of dairy, and I'm not sure how many beef.

Most of these small places are family or couple run, have CSA programs, and also grow some crops. If you want to see multiple models for this, just come visit Vermont, New Hampshire or Massachusetts.

Silvertrumpet1610 karma

Thank you! Mom says, "I always like to learn more!" What does CSA stand for? :)

NorbitGorbit19 karma

tastewise which are the best milks you can get at the grocery?

Silvertrumpet1630 karma

We've sold to Dean's and to Kroger Brand's all about the same! (My mom likes Dean's the most though) lol :)

HenryHenderson16 karma

How much did you miss your daughter when she went to Germany to study?

Silvertrumpet1621 karma

She says "I missed her a whole whole lotttt!!!" Lol I also sell fireworks during the summer so it was unfortunate that I wasn't there to help!

KennyVspenny16 karma

What is your opinion on pasteurization? Many claim that it destroys useful enzymes.

Silvertrumpet1629 karma

It does destroy enzymes, but they do that so it's safer. Pasteurization required by law for food safety. So yeah, it destroys enzymes, but we do it because we have to :)

dvusrhapsody14 karma

Do you name all of your cows? If so, which cow has the most unique personality?

Silvertrumpet1625 karma

I love this one!! Mom names most of them, Dad knows them by their faces and numbers lol :)

The cow with the most unique personality was probably my cow Tippy-Toe :) I remember when she use to sneak up beside me and lick my face! Cows' tongues are like a cat's but much bigger! Lol

illimitable113 karma

How do you feel about laws that prohibit the sale of unpasteurized directly to consumers?

Silvertrumpet1627 karma

My mom says that she thinks it's safer for consumer protection, but those who know the dairy farmer well and are aware that it's a safe environment, she wishes that they could sell some like that. But unfortunately, anyone will sue at the drop of a hat! :(

Loriyyy13 karma

We purchase our milk through local small dairy here in Colorado. Several months ago, there was flooding along the front range that effected the dairy and their herd. The dairy was quick to get their cows to high ground and reported that their supply line was safe. My question is: "Does stress on the cow affect quality, taste or quantity of the milk produced?"

Silvertrumpet166 karma

Stress like that probably wouldn't affect the quality or taste, but it would have an effect on the quantity of milk produced!

Beetlebomb7 karma

How big is/was your largest adult milking cow? What about smallest?

Silvertrumpet1612 karma

Well over a thousand pounds! Her name was Grandma! The smallest one we had was named Lil' Bit, and she probably weighed about 800 pounds!

cutecottage7 karma

Can you tell us about your favorite cow?

Silvertrumpet1618 karma

My mom also wants to list a few of her favorites!

Tippy-Toe, Nosy Rosy, Popeye, and Waterbaby.

Her all-time favorite cow has to be Velvet. My dad actually gave her that cow as an engagement present (she got a ring, too lol) but she loved that cow. It was all black and silky smooth :D

oreesama7 karma

Can i marry your daughter ?

Silvertrumpet167 karma

Lol how sweet!

Kountrified6 karma

More than anything, I wanted to thank you both. Small, family-owned farms helped build this country. It is an honest, hard living. My was the date? Cheers!

Silvertrumpet168 karma

Mom, "We had a very nice meal! We were so hungry, and really appreciated having such awesome daughter that took the time to make our night so special!"

Thank you for your comment :)

RobDeerdick6 karma

If I said "You fight like a dairy farmer!", what would your response be?

Silvertrumpet1610 karma

How's that black eye? Lol jkjk! :)

Josh-ooo-as6 karma

My daughter is 18 months old. What are the top three things you suggest on raising a good kid?

Silvertrumpet1629 karma

My mom is certified in Early Childhood Education :) She suggests that you "read lots of books, limit technology time, and let them help you as often as you can. Just spending time with them is the most important. The toys will break, but they'll always have those memories!" :)

UpdateYourselfAdobe2 karma

What did your parents, parents, do for a living?

Silvertrumpet163 karma

My dad is a full-time dairy farmer, and my mom is a full-time preschool teacher and a dairy farmer in the evening lol :)