Parsons, Kansas —
Following their graduations in 1977, the couple returned to the farm to milk cows. “We actually calved out 100 heifers and started milking, January 1978, in an old stanchion barn. That just wasn’t adequate, so we had a new double-six herringbone barn built and in operation a year later,” she said.
The grade-A dairy features commercial Holsteins with complete lineage and detailed Dairy Herd Improvement Association records. Presently 150 cows, both milking and dry, are in the herd.
The Fosters’ sons David and Adam grew up involved in the dairy operation, and both have now graduated from K-State. “Adam taught ag a few years, but now works near Kansas City, while David is a partner on the farm,” Foster added.
“There are four in our work force. Rachel Sutterby is the most loyal employee, helping with milking all of the time. She does a wonderful job,” credited Foster. David’s wife, Addi, and their three daughters, six and under, are a major asset, too.
“Thirty-six years ago, our top cow gave 75 pounds of milk, and we thought ‘wow,’ how can we beat that? Today, we have had a cow produce 158 pounds in a day, and the herd average is 73 pounds.
“Feed quality, weather conditions and other limiting factors affect milk production, but the future will continue to be bright. With our sons and grandchildren, I expect this dairy operation to go into the fifth generation,” she concluded. £