Thursday, May 18, 2023

You Can Take the People Away from the Farm ...

You can take the people away from the farm. But you can't take the farm out of the people.

When we were looking for a place to eat supper in Bowling Green, Chaney's Dairy Barn caught my eye. It seemed to be fairly close to Bowling Green, and it gave us an opportunity to make a "Sunday drive" in the country on a Wednesday evening and get off the interstate. Plus, we'd be eating "local," something we try to do as we travel.

While we waited for our food to arrive, I wandered around the dining room to learn more about their history. Just like our Kansas ancestors, the Chaney family settled in Kentucky through the land grant program. The Chaney Dairy is on land that was granted in 1811 to Asa Kerby, an ancestor that dates back eight generations. A farm house stood on the property from 1850 until 1989, when it was destroyed by fire. 

In 2001, current owners Carl and Debra Chaney had a decision to make. They didn't want to give up the dairy business, which had been part of the farm since 1940. But with labor and economic challenges, they needed to make a change. They pivoted and now supplement their dairy operation with an agritourism attraction and informal restaurant. They've added a children's playground with a jumping pillow and playground. They offer both guided and self-guided farm tours to visitors, who can view the 60 Jersey cows and the robotic milkers which help the family produce milk, cheese, ice cream and other dairy staples. 

I had the Dairy-Aire, a pimento cheese sandwich made with Mema's recipe and fried pickles, another specialty, served with homemade ranch. (I'm always in search of pimento cheese that can rival the recipe made by a Stafford UMC church lady way back when. I'm still a bit bitter she went to her grave with that recipe. It wasn't because people didn't ask her for it!)

After supper, we walked down a dirt lane to the dairy facility to tour their barn. 

The cows are housed in a barn with fans and 24-hour access to food and water.

They use a Lely A4 robotic milking system. 

This cow was next in line to be milked. It reminded me of the photos I took of our cows and calves in the lane, waiting to be worked each spring.

Cows choose the time to get in line to be milked.  As full as this cow's udder was, it looked to us that she'd waited plenty long to get in line. But she did join her friends as we were standing there. Most cows go in for milking three times a day and produce 65 to 75 pounds of milk daily.

A robotic arm does everything from clean the cow's udder to hook up the milker. Data on how much milk the cow is producing goes into the computer. 

This cow data was from Abby, No. 1801, whose milking process we watched.

The milk is collected in the milk tank room.

In 2018, the Chaney family added the equipment needed to pasteurize the milk on their farm. 

This led to the Chaney's selling their own fluid milk and dairy products. '

 It's the only place in Kentucky making ice cream that comes from their own milk. 

This photo is blurry, but it shows one of the cows coming out of milker (and more cows in line to be milked in the background.) Another one appears just to be hanging out with her friends.

They even had a robotic manure scrapper.

Like all good farms, they had a barn cat. This one reminded us of a younger version of Big Cat.

The sun was setting, so we left the farmyard to return to the tourist part of Chaney's. 


Our tour gave us enough time for our supper to settle. So, of course, we had to partake in the Chaney's Ice Cream.

We also had Chaney's Ice Cream in a food trailer after our Mammoth Cave tour. Next time, we arrive in Lexington.


  1. I would love to visit Chaney's and their Jersey Cows. I'm very impressed by the manure robot. It brings back memories of the 60's on the farm in a particularly wet summer. The holdiing yard for the cows prior to milking was deep mud and manure. The gum boots regularly go stuck!

    1. We definitely enjoyed our evening on the farm. It was also great to get off the interstate and see some of the countryside.