RICE -- This week in our "Behind the Scenes" series on WJON, we head to the barn and learn how to operate a local Dairy Farm.

Even through rain, heat and snow the work still needs to get done on the farm.

Running a dairy farm is a 24 hour, seven days a week job and Natalie Schmitt and her family begin every morning on their dairy farm the same way.


"Every day regardless on what day on the calendar it is we start milking cows about five o'clock every morning," says Schmitt.

Which means for her son Austin Schmitt, it's time to make breakfast.

"I'll feed the cow right away in the morning they get a mix of alfalfa, silage and a whole bunch of minerals and proteins," says Austin.

And for roughly 100 cows eating twice a day, 9000 pounds of food isn't easy to come by.

"So an average cow on our farm will eat about 100 pounds of feed, about 10 pounds of hay and drink about 45 gallons of water," says Natalie.

As the cows munch on their meal it's time to begin the milking process, which Natalie's son Jon Schmitt says can take several hours.

"We wash the cows with an iodine base sanitizer, after that we wait about sixty seconds wipe that iodine dip off and then attach the unit," says Jon.

And all that hard work generates valuable output.

"Our average is about 40 pounds of milk per cow, per milking and we milk twice a day so that's about 80 pound of milk per cow, per day," says Jon.

After milking it's off to other chores like cleaning the barn, fixing equipment or out in the fields cutting hay for their hungry pets.

Jon and Austin say it's not uncommon to put in a 20 hour work day dealing with the ups and downs of farm life.

"So everyday it's fun just to be at home, working with family and work with animals that you enjoy," says Austin.

Natalie says even though you're working along side your family you still need to remember to treat it like a business.

Austin Schmitt begins feeding the calves on his families dairy farm. (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON)
Austin Schmitt begins feeding the calves on his families dairy farm. (Photo: Alex Svejkovsky, WJON)