Farmer finds his determination in dairy

· September 6, 2016

Blend the hard life of dairy farming with the challenging landscape of West Virginia’s mountains and hills, and it’s easy to see why some people would balk at running a milking operation.

Joe Shockey’s parents farmed this land for 30 years, so there was opportunity — despite the hesitation.

“When I was younger, I didn’t want to do this,” Shockey said in a video created by the American Dairy Association Mideast. “It was too much work, too difficult. My friends were doing other things.”

School changed that, however, for both Shockey and his wife, Rachel.

“All of my friends I met at Ohio State, they came from agricultural backgrounds. It was that sense of purpose, seeing their upbringing, it was seeing what quality people they became. And then we just decided, my wife and I, that we would come back here and give this a go.”

There was meaning in the work, and a sense of pride not found in other professions. And, with Shockey’s parents getting older and less mobile, he tapped into his determination to keep the land and the cows contributing productively to the community, the state, and the nation.

“If I’m not here, this is another example of a farm that’s not actively producing food.”

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