Pat Campbell, “Making a Modern Dairy”

Making a Modern Dairy

by Pat C.

Campbell 1


Cleburne Jersey Farm was originally founded due to a land grant from the governor of North Carolina. Over the years parts of the farm were passed down through my family until WWII when George W. Campbell, my grandfather, came into possession of 377 acres in northern Maury County, Tennessee.

During WWII milking was done in the wooden tie stall barn with gasoline powered vacuum pumps and vacuum operated pulsation because there was no electricity on the farm. Late in the war a new twenty stanchion flat barn was constructed, and soon after a separate “tank room” was added. This became possible because of Rural Electrification Association. Shortly after electricity came to the farm a bulk tank was added in a separate room attached to the milking parlor. Milk was carried by hand into the tank room, and poured into the tank through a filter.

In 1942 John M. Campbell, my father, was drafted into the Army Air Force. After completing his tour of duty in the European Theater he returned to The University of Tennessee to finish his B.S. in Plant and Soil Science. He then made the decision to move back to his family farm due to his father’s failing health. Upon his father’s death, he and his brother, George Jr., farmed in partnership with their sister, Flora. Because of the growing families of both George and John, it became necessary to increase the size of the herd and adopt new technology in order to support their families.

Late during the war effort, the first tractor, a Minneapolis Moline model RTU was purchased. This became necessary because so many of the farm workers had been drafted or joined the military. It was not until the late 1940’s that the electrical system and hydraulics were added to the tractor. Most of the hydraulics and electrical components were used exclusively by the military until the war was over.

The early 1960’s brought many changes to the daily operations of the farm in the form of technology. The first major upgrade was when a pipeline milking system was purchased. Shortly thereafter, an upright concrete silo was built, and a bunk type silage feeder was added. During the next decade the farm’s emphasis was on increasing production in numbers, and was made possible by the technology that was implemented.

In 1969, a Massey Ferguson 165 Tractor was added to replace an older model that had burned. This was our first diesel tractor and had the first three-point hitch system on the farm.

In the early 1970’s my father and I made the decision to buy George Jr.’s partnership out, and added a second silo in 1977 for extra feed storage to help continue increasing the herd.

In the early 1980’s an adjoining farm became available and was purchased for extra herd space and corn, hay, and pasture. In 1990 a computerized feed system was added which utilized the individualized cow identification tags that are now on display. These tags are passive radio transmitters which are activated when the cow passes within a certain distance of the reader antenna. The processor now controlling the I.D. system also controls the feeder outputs, records milk weights, and keeps records of other pertinent information. This information provides data that makes it possible to monitor each cow, and provide maximum efficiency for grain and forage production in order to increase profit margins.

Following my father’s death in 1996, a division of the estate once again was necessary. The original farm home and most of the animal feeding and housing facilities were passed to my Aunt Flora who had been a silent partner with my father. At this time facilities on the property bought during the 1980’s were renovated to become the dairy. The barn which once housed Confederate General Richard Ewell’s dairy on the famed Ewell Farm was reconfigured to house a double-four herringbone parlor with an automatic cluster removal system.

In addition to the dairy herd, we now operate a 70-cow Black Angus cow-calf herd.

Cleburne Jersey Farm is now owned and operated by Pat Campbell and his family.

City: Spring Hill
State: Tennessee
Time Period: 1930s, 1940s, 1960s, 1970s, 1990s
Themes: Labor, Technology