Carl and Delene Schmitz can't see the Ohio River from their home south of Wadesville, but you don't have to drive very far to find it. They farm in the heart of Posey County. Carl and his brother, Albert, developed an impressive purebred dairy operation there and also do a good job raising crops on tricky soils. Yet Carl also found time to leave the farm, always in good hands, and represent the dairy industry at the state and national level.
Their efforts earned Carl and Delene the Master Farmer award which was presented last week during the Indiana Farm Management Tour.
"My story begins when I decided to milk cows but didn't have a lot of money to get started," he explains. "So I bought some five-way crosses that were cheap, even though they had some beef blood in them.
"They didn't milk very well, but I was able to sell them for a profit and buy my first Holsteins. That's how ti all started," he says.
At one point one of the cows produced by the Schmitzes ranked amongst the best in the breed. They sold breeding stock all over the country.
Then three years ago they had to make another decision. A tornado ripped through not one, but several of their farmsteads, including the home farmstead with the dairy. One of the silos was damaged, and remains as a sign of that horrific event. They decided it was time to sell the herd, and continued raising heifers.
Today, Carl and Albert have a few beef cows to graze on rough ground, and still have a few heifers left. Carl has found a new way to serve the community as a county Commissioner.
"I try to use common sense and remind people this is a rural county and we need to keep that in mind as we plan," he says.