Kyle Stockwell has been out of high school for less than four years. Yet he already knows what he wants to do — continue the family farm and milk cows. So far he deserves an “A” for his effort.
His grandfather, Lynn, started the family business near Hudson by milking 12 cows in 1958. At that time Lynn’s goal was a lofty one — to milk 60 cows a day and farm 250 acres.
You’ve got to remember, this was 1958. Dwight Eisenhower was still president, and putting a man on the moon was still a pipe dream.
• The Stockwell family farm has remained in dairy business for three generations.
• All three generations of Stockwells still work on the farm.
• The newest generation — Kyle Stockwell — hopes to grow the operation.
Lynn not only met his goals, but also quickly surpassed them. He earned recognition as an Indiana Master Farmer in 2001. Today that award is sponsored by Indiana Prairie Farmer and the Purdue University College of Agriculture.
Lynn’s son, Kevin, continued growing the farm. The milking herd went from 60 to 200 cows by the time Kyle returned home after taking a special dairy course and interning at a large dairy.
Now Kyle has a goal in mind — to expand to 800 milking cows someday. “It’s so different for me than it was for Grandpa,” Kyle realizes. “Everything was way more labor-intensive back then. But each of us has had a goal in mind to expand and grow.”
The Stockwells have come a long way in two generations. While Lynn still participates in farming and feeding calves, he thinks it’s good to see his son and grandson have expanded the operation.
If you pull into their farm, you’ll quickly notice that the calf hutch area has a roof over it. While not enclosed, it offers extra protection. “It’s not really as much for the calves as for Grandpa,” Kyle quips. “If he was going to continue feeding calves for us, he wanted to stay out of the elements.”
Both Lynn and Kevin are confident that Kyle can keep the place going. Kyle doesn’t want to disappoint either of them. He’s extremely thankful that he has had the opportunity to join the family farm.“I had no startup costs, and I don’t take that for granted,” he adds.
An old saying in farm country says the first generation starts the farm, the second generation grows it and the third generation loses it. “I don’t want to lose it,” Kyle says. “I want to continue to work hard and grow it.”
McClain writes from Greenwood.
Cow man: Kyle Stockwell knew he wanted farming and cows to be a big part of his life when he graduated from high school.
This article published in the September, 2011 edition of INDIANA PRAIRIE FARMER.
All rights reserved. Copyright Farm Progress Cos. 2011.