If cleanliness is next to godliness, then the Holsteins at Hillcrest Farms definitely are "holy cows."
The floor of their barn stays cleaner than the floor in my house. There are 350 cows in that barn, compared to only two teenagers in my house.
This says a lot for dairy farmers Billy, Mark, Andy, Caitlin and Joshua Rodgers. The Rodgers held a tour of their operation last week, as requested by the Natural Resources Conservation Service.
During the tour, one of the speakers said the bedding is changed and the barn is hosed down on a daily basis. From the looks of it, the cleaning takes place more often. The 350 cows in the barn eat 36,000 pounds of food every day. Needless to say, what goes in must come out. So, somebody is doing a lot of cleaning.
Actually, profound engineering created a flushing process that makes cleanup simple.
At least it seemed simple to me, standing on the outside looking in. And the Rodgers all seemed really happy. The cows seemed just as content.
And I toured the barn wearing cute, strappy little sandals on my feet and didn't need a scrub brush afterwards. (It wasn't my original plan, my day just worked that way. There I was, driving to the barn, mentally preparing myself to be stepping in it and having my toes squishing with it. But as it turned out, it never happened.)
The farm tour was one of three happy events last week in which almost 100 people were touring/celebrating/listening to speeches.
Thomson Plastics had a lunch celebrating their expansion, and Advanced Primary Minerals had a ribbon cutting and unveiling of its processing plant.
The Thomson Plastics event was in the parking lot under a huge canopy tent, with white cloth-covered tables and beautiful floral centerpieces. The food looked really good, too. Betty Hall managed to put on a real classy affair on an asphalt parking lot.
The kaolin plant, APM, also had a reception under a tent, but their parking lot wasn't paved. The APM guys, who hail from Canada and have impressive numbers under their stock listing, had Chinaberry's Tommy Samuels serving wine, cheese straws and shrimp.
When I saw Andy Rodgers at the APM reception, I jokingly asked how come he didn't serve shrimp at his barn tour. He said if Wal-Mart sold milk for $5 a gallon, then he would have.
OK, I asked for that one.
After hearing the reason, I was glad he didn't serve shrimp. Actually, I don't even like shrimp. Even if I did, I can't afford $5 milk -- not with two teenagers.
I'd have to get a cow.
Which would mean I'd need some "profound engineering." Which means I'd have to be a kaolin mine owner to afford it.