The opportunity to own their own farm led longtime dairy farmers James, LaVaun, and Ayla Janney to move their dairy from Virginia to Clarkson in 2015.
The Janneys closed on the Higdon farm on Jesse Skaggs Road in Clarkson in April 2015 and made the move in October, bringing with them about 170 total animals—about 160 of which were cows.
Originally from Virginia, the Janneys’ had previously rented a property on which they operated their dairy enterprise, but they began looking in several states across the country for a place to call their own.
They settled on Grayson County for numerous reasons, primarily the good condition of the farm, as well as the geography of the land.
“It was just the right match of farm to people looking for a farm,” said LaVaun Janney.
LaVaun Janney explained that it is easier on cows to move them east or west, rather than north or south, and, latitudinally, where their farm is now is very similar to where they were previously, leading the cows to acclimate well to their new surroundings.
This is vital because, as James Janney said, “The cows come first.”
Running a dairy is a full-time job. On their 84-acre farm, the Janneys milk their cows twice a day, every day, first around 5:30 a.m. and second around 4:30 p.m., in addition to various other chores.
Each milking takes about three hours, but the Janneys employ an automated milking machine that can milk 12 cows at a time, for an average of about 75 pounds per head per day, James Janney said.
The work is hard, and there are no sick days, weekends, or holidays, but, LaVaun Janney said, owning and working on a farm has afforded her family both the opportunity to be together more often and to work from home.
The Janneys also home-school their daughter, Ayla, whom helps with the calves, milking, and goats every day, among other chores.
Currently, the Janneys do not have plans to expand their enterprise; rather, they’d prefer to improve and earn more money per cow.
The government-set price of dairy has recently dropped $2.50 in the last month to about $16.71 per hundred pounds of product, which is about a dollar under the Janneys’ production cost, James Janney said.
However, in addition to raising cows for their dairy, the Janneys also raise registered, pure-bred cows in an effort to develop pedigrees to sell, as well as grow corn for feed and double crop wheat and barley (small grain).
LaVaun Janney said they have a few heifers for sale currently, and previously sold in Virginia where they could handle more livestock in their facilities.
For more information on the Janneys’ dairy farm and to stay up to date with their activities and production, visit Facebook (Janney Holsteins) and Instagram (@janneyholsteins).
Reach Matt Lasley at 270-259-9622, ext. 2015.