Producing the :30 Spot and Mini Doc
James R Chaney bought his first two Jersey cows in 1940. The farm, just north of the L&N Railroad about halfway between Bowling Green and Franklin, Kentucky, had been in the family since 1888 and was about to change. The small dairy farm grew as the family grew in size and by the time his son Carl joined the family business, the herd had grown from two head of jersey’s to 100s. Years of growth and falling milk prices took the farm to a breaking point, sell the herd and call it quits or find another way to support the family farm. They, thankfully, chose the latter.
The plan was to downsize the herd to 60 jersey cows and try their hand at making ice cream. In 2003, Chaney’s Dairy Barn opened for business, and they’re still milking cows and making ice cream today.
I haven’t met every practicing Dairyman in the country, but in my estimation Dore has more care and knowledge for her herd than any of them. The niece of Carl and Debra Chaney moved across the country a few years ago to care for the herd when the opportunity was presented. Dore grew up on a dairy farm where she acquired her care and attentiveness to dairy cattle.
Born and raised on the farm, Elizabeth has been milking this herd of Jerseys since she can remember. The daughter of Carl and Debra is back home with a plan to bring Chaney’s milk to the region by bottle.
Son of J.R. Chaney, Carl, and his wife Debra, have taken the dairy farm through trial and tumult to new heights in south central Kentucky. Having twice faced the potential of having to sell off the herd, the herd is healthier than ever and the dairy barn continues to thrive.
Chaney's Dairy Barn in Bowling Green, Kentucky has been in operation for 3 generations. This short documentary tells the journey of the family from a small family diary to a large one and back again to a small dairy, only this time with a slight change in how they milk cows.
My grandparents lived on a grain and hog farm in central Illinois and the time I spent there gave me an interest and appreciation for the work they did on the farm. Dairy cows were something new to me. As it turns out, they’re sort of like puppies: loyal, affectionate, curious, and surprisingly fleet of foot. They’re gentle, delicate and need a lot of care for their size. The Chaney family treats their herd of Jersey cows like they are the most important creatures on the earth. And to them, they are.
They’re still milking the same genetic line of cows that James R Chaney brought to the farm years a go, only now robots have changed the way they milk and care for the herd. You could say that these animals are treated like royalty. Now, instead of milking twice a day, 365 days a year at 4:30am and 4:30 pm, each individual cow decides when it wants to be milked. Which in turn, raises the health, comfort, and productivity of each cow. It’s incredible to think that a change like this to the farm is good both for the herd, and the herdsmen.
In the fall of 2016, the family asked me to produce a short documentary about the history and future of the family farm that could be used on farm tours.
Two years later, and 16 years after the Dairy Barn opened, the next milestone will be met. This spring Chaney’s will finally be able to process and bottle their own milk on site and sell it in the barn. To announce and celebrate the realization of this dream, I’ve been asked to produce a 30 second spot for J.R. Chaney Bottling Company.
Behind the Scenes Images: