June Dairy Month farm stops continue with a visit to Bower’s Rolling Meadows near Marion, a farm owned by Jill and David Bowers. The century farm began in David’s family in 1912 and the land has grown considerably since the time David grew up on the farm.
“When I was brought up on this farm, we had 80 acres and now we’re running around 450 acres and another 150 acres of rented land,” David said of the farm’s history. “[The land] is just a couple miles away, as is some of our own land. We go as far as five miles for some of the land that we own. We make hay and corn, do the regular crop rotation. In our case, it’s corn, hay and small grain and we rotate that.”
While Bowers Rolling Meadows has increased their land that they operate over the years, the same cannot be said about the amount of milking cows, which has fluctuated over the years and posed a real threat to the farm.
“We were up to 300 cows in 2005 and then we had a copper toxicity problem where we lost a lot of cows,” David said. “The cows got poisoned with feed from the mill. Now people can identify with that. Other people have had copper problems and if you look at Flint, Michigan and their lead problems, we’re dealing with the same sort of thing, a heavy metal. We almost lost the farm at the time and basically started over and here we are.”
Farming has had its challenges, but there are plenty of positive aspects for the Bowers. For Jill, even though she didn’t necessarily grow up on a farm, she’s come to appreciate the farm life.
“I like seeing the animals,” she said. “I like being out with the cows too and seeing them grow. The kids were always in 4-H and FFA and they were showing the animals. It was kind of nice to see that and see how the kids grew up with farming as a background.”
As a retired teacher, Jill does a lot of the outside work when it comes to the farm, while the Bowers also receive a little outside assistance.
“We have some real good hired help,” said David. “I’m here at chore time, along with my son and we’ve got some hired that does most of the milking of the cows.”
David adds he and his son do most of the field work around the farm as well. Be sure to tune in all month long as we celebrate June Dairy Month with area farmers.