Now a 6th-generation dairy farm, O & W Dairy south of Royal continues to improve the family business.
Heath Snodgrass, who now operates the dairy along with his brother Seth and uncle Roy, said the farm was first homesteaded by his great-great grandpa, Clarence Snodgrass.
He said the dairy aspect was started by its namesake, “O” for his great grandpa Oliver Snodgrass and “W” for his grandpa Warren Snodgrass.
“They started the dairy in 1968, back when they were milking by hand,” Heath said. “We went to a double six in 1983, and in 2000, we went to a double 24.”
His uncle Roy and his late father Stacy later took over much of the dairy operation. Now Heath, Seth, Roy and the other employees work to keep things running smoothly.
Heath even gets a little help from his two young children — Stacy, 9 and Claire, 4.
“Stacy helps me work cattle and move equipment,” he said proudly.
O & W Dairy milks 700 cows twice a day, which equates to “a little over a semiload a day” or 7,500 gallons, Heath said. The milk is trucked to DFA, a processing plant in LeMars, Iowa.
They also grow corn, soybeans, alfalfa and rye on their farm — most of which is fed to the animals.
“I love being around cows and taking care of them,” Heath said.
A 2004 Neligh-Oakdale graduate, Heath went to college before entering the Army National Guard in 2006. After returning from deployment, he joined the dairy full-time in 2009 — the same year he married his wife, Wendy.
He would like to see his children continue the family business someday.
“There are only 126 dairies left in the state and only five in the county,” Heath said. “Dairies are vital to be able to supply a wholesome, nutritious beverage for people to drink.”
As a director on the Nebraska State Dairy Association and a member of the Antelope County Fair board, he is doing his part to support dairy in this corner of the state.