The Start of the Next Chapter
Updated: Sep 12, 2019
By: Matt Nuckols
March 8 marks 20 years since my mom, the greatest influence of my life, was called to be with God for eternity. Though I can be selfish, she certainly never was. My mom was an inspiration to many and would always drop everything for others, especially her sons and her husband. From cooking to cleaning to sewing to feeding calves to registering calves to washing and clipping cows to playing piano at church and leading the choir to driving to endless little league events to holding a 20 lb. video camera for an entire 11 year old basketball game where her boy shot 18 free throws (I assure you I hit the floor on every single foul). And she did it all without Amazon!
This year means that I have now spent 20 years with my mom here and 20 without her here to share the highs and lows of life. Seeming mysteriously symmetrical, 2019 will mark the next biggest change of my life. In June of this year, we here at Eastview Farm will milk our last cow. It’s a story all too familiar for my wide-reaching family of dairy farmers. One I’ve heard or read others tell many times, knowing in my stomach our time was coming too. It’s not the decision we want to make, but the decision we must make. We love our cows.
My great grandfather purchased our land in 1938 for my grandparents, and my dad F.C. and uncle Wayne started the dairy business in 1959. Those who have known them through the years, know they can be quite different in their personalities on the outside. But on the inside, these two men, who shared a bedroom growing up, share a dedication and commitment to believing in each other. A shared and collaborative vision that led to one of the most elite genetic herds in the world. Taylor and I — along with our brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, wives, cousins, nieces and nephews — are blessed to witness and play a role in what they accomplished.
Beaverdam will still be home for my family and hopefully the home base for family gatherings for many generations to come. Whatever comes of this next phase of my life, I’m blessed to go through it with my greatest accomplishment by my side. Yes, I consider getting Jesse to marry me an accomplishment. Those who know me and know her understand. Our son, Abner James, is living in the same house where his grandfather grew up. My brother and best friend have both built their houses on the farm and are raising their families on this same land.
I’ve thought and prayed about what to do next and it hasn’t come to me yet. Some of you may get a call from me asking for your help. I don’t think I’ll manage another herd of cows because it just wouldn’t be the same for me. I know this: I believe in the American farmer! I believe it with all my heart. Family farms come in all shapes and sizes. 98% of dairy farms in the U.S. are family-owned and operated. Every family must find what works for them. Think about this, wars are fought over resources. After the men and women of the military, and those that keep us safe at home, farmers are our next line of defense. A safe, healthy, affordable food supply keeps our country safe.
Whatever path I take, I will always be a dairy farmer.