Down on the Hickory Corner Farm; pettin’ the cows, runnin’ the milk

Published 3:50 pm Saturday, July 16, 2022

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 Dairy Month has come and gone, but members of the Claiborne 4-H Club will not soon forget being up close and personal with the beasts that produce that cold, delicious glass of milk.

Farm owner Dr. Ann Shipley and her family welcomed the Club to their enterprise, located in Speedwell where cattle just naturally grow strong and happy.

Dairy Month chairperson Addie Brooks participated in the farm tour along with friends who, if they didn’t know already, learned just how important a cow can be.

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“Danielle Shipley gave us an extensive tour showing us from the beginning to the end of a typical day in the dairy industry farm operation,” said Brooks. “She explained how the cows are fed, kept cool, the chip tracking and that it never closes down – it’s a 365 day operation.

“The band system on their hind feet allows them to pull up digital information on each cow that has been milked from about 600 head. We saw firsthand the process of the electric automatic milking machines and the process of how it actually goes from farm to table. This experience of visiting the dairy farm cannot be taught in a classroom.”

Brooks and her 4H Club members learned during the tour that all the milk produced from that day’s milking would be processed the same night and shipped to the area Weigels’ Stores, ready for purchase the very next day.

The Dairy Farm is a multi-generational business. Ann, her husband Jim and their children William and Beth are the 6th generation to oversee the farm. The couple took over the business in 1986. William oversees forages, equipment and the day-to-day operation while Beth looks after the baby calves.

The family recently added a 7th generation – two month old Ruby Anne, the daughter of William and Danielle Shipley.

“Hickory Corner Dairy Farm is not just a farm or a business. It’s a legacy,” said Brooks. “Dr. Ann, proud grandmother, anticipates that one day Ruby Anne will continue the dairy farm legacy.”