Local Dairy Farmers Calling It Quits
by Chris Conte
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. – Jeff Dismukes hasn't had a vacation in over four decades, he is 65-years-old and twice a day, every day he is out milking his dairy cows on 250 acres of land near the Blackman Community.
"I've done it long enough that I won't miss it," he said looking around at his 50 or so cattle on Monday afternoon.
Jeff's grandfather bought this farm back in 1951, it was passed down to Jeff's father who eventually gave the farm to him but that will be the end of the line for this family run dairy operation.
"I didn't want to go through another winter like the one we had, it's too hard," he added.
So that is it, Jeff has decided that come April he will auction off all of his cattle and call it quits -- a trend playing out all across Middle Tennessee.
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Rutherford County had close to 10,000 dairy cows during the 1970's but that number is now hovering below 1,000.
"I think you're gonna see less and less of the family owned smaller farms," said auctioneer Lynn Lee who will oversee the sale of Jeff's cattle.
Lynn says younger generations, like Jeff's kids, don't want to inherit this kind of job.
"It's more work than people really want to dedicate to do," he adds.
Jeff's dairy cows will go up for auction on April 12.