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Slowing Down Not an Option for This Dairy Farmer Mom of Four

There is never a shortage of work to be done on a dairy farm.

For Rachel Shockey, however, the work always stops when it’s time for soccer or baseball practice for one of her four children.

Rachel and her husband, Joe, are second-generation West Virginia dairy farmers who met while attending The Ohio State University. Rachel’s work on the couple’s 250-cow dairy farm is a major priority and enough to fill her days, but she’s found a way to strike a balance between farming and motherhood.

The two roles mesh quite often. Daughters Riley, 12, and Regan, 10, and sons Russell, 7, and Ryan, 5, come by their love of dairy farming naturally. 

 

“The kids love growing up on a farm and will even ask us a lot if they can stay home from school and help us out here,” Rachel said. 

The girls play soccer and basketball and usually practice two to three times a week with games on the weekends. Russell is busy with baseball and soccer, and Ryan will soon find his way into activities. 

“Our youngest isn’t doing any sports yet because we just don’t know what we’re going to do about being in four places at once,” Rachel said with a laugh.

Rachel is up by 5 a.m. each day getting breakfast ready and the kids out the door for school. It’s then back to the farm, where she works with the calves and oversees the farm’s record keeping. Then, she’s off to school to pick up the kids and get them ready for their practices.

Dinner will be served along the way with homework help and other farm duties before Rachel is ready to call it a night, usually somewhere around 11:30 p.m.

Rachel’s life is fast-paced and often includes going to local schools to talk about life as a dairy farmer and caring for their cows. The days can be long, but Rachel said she wouldn’t change a thing. Even on Mother’s Day there won’t be much rest. Rachel said the family will focus on projects around the house, such as weed-eating, planting flowers and mulching the flower beds. But there will be one difference.

“The kids will do the work and I get to be the supervisor,” she said. “And I don’t have to cook! They usually bring me breakfast in bed.”