Driving along Highway 38, you will find beautiful scenery. It contains rolling hills, open plains, beautiful woods, and barns. One barn, two barns, red barns, blue barns, no two looking quite the same. Out of those structures is a little black and white milk barn surrounded by beautiful green or golden fields, depending on the season. This little barn has windows facing the highway and belongs to Ronald Blankenship. The milk barn has been with the Blankenship family since its construction in 1969.
Back then, things were very different, gas was mere cents and there were not as many cars or buildings.
“Years ago, everything out here was just farms,” commented Ronald.
A number of those farm’s included dairy farms. Ronald reflected on how he would go around to the surrounding neighbors gathering their milk cans filled to the top.
“I would go all the way to Wright County back to High Prairie, then up to Springfield. It was at least 100 miles a day. Then go back home and do it every day for 30 years.”
Besides the lengthy milk run, Ronald would have his cows to tend. The milk barn had everything needed for a dairy farmer and more.
Upon entering, visitors would notice that the milking stations are at waist level, which makes it easier to milk cows. Also, at one time, the doors were powered by vacuums, both features which were uncommon when Ronald was growing up.
Ronald was joined by other family members who remembered other stories around the barn. Those stories included chasing cows, playing games, and even drivers passing by the barn, just to turn around and ask to participate in the milking process or even pet the cows. The family shared so many fond memories.
Not everything is meant to last forever; times change. Prices continued to rise and when the costs started to outweigh the profits, Ronald and the family decided to give up the family business. Many others have done the same. According to US Farm Data, only 142 dairy farms are active in Webster County. So if you ever decide to travel out highway 38, take some time and check out the scenery and history that continues to shape us.
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