Jennifer Mapes is teaching the next generation about dairy farming. She herself has had an infatuation with Brown Swiss dairy cows and dairy farming since she can remember. Mapes was born and raised on Mapes Farm Fresh, the dairy farm belonging to her parents, Sue and Mark Mapes.
“I wrote an essay for school with my vision for the dairy, which would be for it to milk all Brown Swiss cows and bottle and sell our own milk,” says Jennifer, who was always very active in FFA in school. Her vision is becoming reality.
Mapes Farm Fresh is milking 80 cows, mostly Brown Swiss, and raising young stock on site. Jennifer’s job is caring for the farm’s 150 animals. She handles the milking, animal registrations, breeding, and making sure the calves and cows are comfortable. Jennifer’s mother handles all the farm’s bookkeeping and paperwork. “Mom is amazing at keeping it all organized,” says Jennifer. Her father covers all the field work and feeding the animals.
The Mapes’ cows can often be spotted grazing on a hillside near a main road. The Mapes love sharing the beauty and truth of dairy farming with passersby by having the cows outside. Plus, it is a more efficient use of the land. Imagine trying to grow row crops on a steep hill! Besides, the breed comes from the hills of Switzerland and is naturally designed for hills and pasture. By grazing their cows and focusing on good pasture management, the Mapes can reduce the purchased feed cost on the farm while still providing a balanced, nutrient rich diet.
With the Brown Swiss cows on track with Jennifer’s vision, Mapes Farm Fresh recently built a processing center on their farm. They are now working to bottle their milk and hope to open a storefront within the next couple of months!
Read more about this mother-daughter team in the dairy farming business.