I don’t know anything about farms or raising kids on a farm, but neither did LuAnn when she married Tom Troxel of Troxel Dairy Farm thirty years ago. Today, she’s a plethora of knowledge and wisdom on both topics, and now she’s hanging out with her grandchildren on the farm.
A large farmhouse wrapped in beautiful landscaping of flowers and greenery set among the calves and the barns was the scene during our special visit to Troxel farm. Our family immediately fell in love with LuAnn, her grandchildren and Rudy and Jackson, two of her four sons who are currently living or working on the farm. My three year old daughter Lulu “pat” the “baby cows (calves)” and my one year old, Scout, mimicked the call of the peacock, an animal noise that we’ve never used while singing hours of Old McDonald.
Jackson Troxel, who just graduated from Purdue and is home for the summer before he takes on a fellowship in Noblesville, shared that he was one of the only kids he knew in school that actually grew up on a farm and definitely the only one on a dairy farm. Like most kids, his chores took place after school, and weren’t necessarily comprised of the morning chores us city people see on television. You know, where the kid wakes up at three in the morning and milks all 130 cows by hand and then hustles off to school? Not all chores were farm related, some were household related and a part of being in a family, just like most families. From an early age, he punched a time clock daily after school and was an employee of the family business.
It’s difficult for dairy farmers to just take off and leave for a weekend away or head out on summer vacation with the whole family. Everything must be taken care of down to the smallest detail, someone else must come and see to it that the farm runs smoothly — there are calves being born, cows to milk twice a day without missing and so much more! Our family is so thankful to have friends who care for our dog while we’re away — I’m not so sure our friendship would extend to 130 cows.
With a very serious commitment and dedication to taking care of their herd and producing the best quality milk possible, LuAnn answers my questions about milk with great passion. Troxel Farm milk is processed in Rochester, Indiana. Then it returns to stores in Indiana. Milk is one of the true “local foods”. We study a milk carton with the number 18 affront of a series of other numbers. 18 means it’s from Indiana, the other numbers tell you exactly which dairy the milk came from. Want to know more about your gallon of milk? Check out the website, Where is My Milk From. You can also see what other dairy products are made at this farm.
As our family said our goodbyes and lured our city kids to the car from the fields, there were displays of disappointment. Lulu wanted to see the horse, she wanted to “pat some more cows”, she wanted to pick flowers, she wanted to run free, not be buckled into a carseat headed for the highway. In my heart of hearts I want that for her too. I want my kids to experience everything — living on a farm like the Troxel kids, living in the heart of a big city like her cousins, the freedom of very little responsibility and being able to take off for a weekend, the dedication of hard work and productivity, the carefree life of play, the commitment to caring for life.
“Kids have to learn that the world doesn’t revolve around them,” LuAnn tells me, mom to mom, “and all parents have to teach this to their kids, it’s just easier on the farm.”
Easier it is, surrounded by pregnant cows, calves, glorious peacocks, a small horse, a schedule that creates life and sustains life and so much more. Troxel Farm is a slice of life’s lessons that displays all that makes the world go ‘round.
Troxel Dairy Farm is located in Hanna, Indiana. Our visit was a special visit for the purpose of writing this article but Troxel Farm is host to school field trips. For more information, visit their Facebook page. Interested in taking your kids to visit a farm? Kelsay Farms in Whiteland and Knollbrook Farms in Goshen have fun family harvest time activities, including dairy farm tours. Jones Robotic Dairy in Star City does tours year-round of their state-of-the-art robotic milking system and their farm. Many other dairy farms do school or group tours as requested. Visit the Indiana Dairy Website and contact them for more information about reaching out to other dairy farmers to arrange tours and visits.
“Kids have to learn that the world doesn’t revolve around them, and all parents have to teach this to their kids, it’s just easier on the farm.”
This post is sponsored by Indiana Dairy. All stories and information are true and correct to the best of my knowledge. I am proud to be the June Indiana Dairy Ambassador.