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The 3-year-old who insists on helping dad with the cows

Published on 21 December 2017
Lance Brown and daughter Baler

Baler Brown, age 3, seems destined to become a fourth-generation dairy farmer.

Every evening after her bath, when she’s in her pajamas, Baler runs to the front door and flaps her arms in excitement. She’s ready to help prep the milking parlor.

She climbs on the four-wheeler with her dad, Lance, and drives out to the barn, where she turns the light switches on and off (Dad has to lift her up to reach them), turns the knob to start the vacuum pump and opens the gate for the cows to graze.

Lance’s grandfather started the dairy in Blanchard, Oklahoma. Now Lance and his wife, Jamie, milk about 250 Holsteins twice a day in a double-15 parallel milking parlor. They also farm corn silage, alfalfa and wheat to feed the cows, and usually have 50 to 60 calves on the bottle – which Jamie takes care of.

Jamie wasn’t born on a farm, and Lance jokes she’s probably rethinking her decision to move to one.

Baler and Kemper help milk cows

“I think I’m probably a little past rethinking that,” Jamie laughs, then adds, “I love doing something besides being stuck behind a desk. I couldn’t do that. Dairy farming is so family oriented. That’s one of my very favorite things. The girls and I get to go see Dad any time of the day we want to.”

The Browns named both their daughters, Baler and Kemper, after the farm equipment they use most often – a hay baler and a Kemper header on a silage cutter.

While Kemper, age 1, prefers the warm indoors, Baler is a daddy’s girl, who wants to be outside 24/7 and isn’t bothered by cold weather. When she doesn’t get to help her dad, she gets very upset in what her parents jokingly call a “nervous breakdown.”

“She cries, hides her face and hunkers down and stands by the door,” Lance says. “If I do it without her now, I have to take her to the barn and pretend to do it just to wind her down.”

Baler pushes buttons in the milking parlor

Kids in jammies is a very different picture of a dairy farm than what most people probably imagine.

“Everybody thinks you’re corporate,” Jamie says. “It’s not all corporate stuff; it’s family farms. If it was corporate, it would be easy. There’s a lot more work that goes on than what people think.”

Fortunately, it’s work that at least one little member of the next generation can’t wait to get into.  end mark

—Contributed to Progressive Dairyman on behalf of Dairy Max

PHOTO 1: Lance Brown takes a break from farmwork to cuddle up with his daughter Baler.

PHOTO 2: Sisters Baler and Kemper don’t want to miss a moment helping their daddy milk cows.

PHOTO 3: The 3-year-old pushes buttons in the milking parlor. Photos provided by the Brown family.

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