September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.

The neighbor's farm

16-year-old developed love of dairy farming at neighbor's farm
(photo by Kelli Boylen)
(photo by Kelli Boylen)

By Kelli [email protected] | Comments: 0 | Leave a comment

WATERVILLE, IOWA - Sam Schwartz was about six years old the first time he rode in a tractor with his neighbor Pat Reisinger and that ride ended up lasting about all day.
"It started then and I just kept coming back more and more," he said about his interest in farming.
He road his bike the three miles round trip from his house to Rolinda Acres, the farm down the road operated by Pat Reisinger and his father-in-law, Bob Thompson, many times since that first tractor ride. Reisinger said Schwartz later had a little Ford tractor that he would drive to their place. 
Schwartz is now 16 years old, and the love of dairy farming is coursing through his veins. "It's a passion for me," he said. "I can't really explain it. I love being outside, being in the field and being with the cows."
When he was eight years old, he started helping his neighbors milk their cows. He had to use a small step-ladder to reach.
"I was there all the time, and one day they said I should write down my hours." Soon he had a regular job.
In addition to milking, Schwartz drives tractor, cleans the barn, moves cows around, hauls wagons and does pretty much every type of fieldwork. "Sam's interest started out with machinery," said Reisinger. "By now, there is not a piece of machinery that I would not trust him with."
Reisinger added, "Sam has always been good about working the crazy hours that come with dairy farming.  He is willing to work late at night and start early the next day."
Schwartz is the son of a doctor and teacher. His grandfather was a farmer, but he never knew him as he passed away many years before he was born.
"I have always thought it was funny that some people complain about people from town moving to the country and not wanting to deal with the smell and such of farming.  We are so lucky to have a doctor living by us and they would never think of complaining about anything we do on the farm," said Reisinger.
This summer Schwartz has been working on two farms. His help was needed on the Kermit and Ann Klees farm and he has continued to work at the Reisinger farm. Most days he milked morning and night at the Kleeses and he did field work as needed for Reisinger. Between the two farms, he has been putting in full time hours.
Kermit Klees had a stroke last spring. Ann says neighbors helped them out until school was out and then Schwartz stepped up to the plate. "He's a gem," said Ann Klees. "He was here every morning by 5 a.m. to milk. Sam helped wherever we needed him. He'd mow hay and fix what needed fixing. He'd leave to go to his baseball game or football practice and then he would be right back here to milk again. I don't know what I would have done without him."
The Reisingers milk about 260 cows and they farm about 950 acres. The Kleeses have 120 acres and their 50 Jerseys are grazed. "It was interesting to see the differences," Schwartz says, "but it wasn't hard to adapt."
He commented that going from milking in a parlor to a stanchion barn wasn't difficult but he thinks if he had gone from a stanchion barn to a parlor, that likely would have been harder.
He has noticed that Jerseys are more laid back and calmer than most Holsteins. He apparently has come to like that breed as well as Holsteins - instead of being paid for his work at the Klees farm, he chose to be paid with cattle. He was able to pick out two Jerseys to join his herd.
Schwartz already owns three Holstein cows (one of which is Red and White), two Holsteins heifers (one of which is Red and White), in addition to the two Jerseys cows he earned this summer. He created his own prefix, DJSAAJ, which is the first initial of each of his family members.
When he entered fourth grade and joined 4-H, he, his dad and Reisinger went to a farm owned by one of Reisinger's friends and picked out a heifer to purchase. That heifer gave birth to a heifer and then through some ET work he got another heifer. At a sale last year he purchased the red and white cow (which was pregnant with a heifer) and a heifer calf.
His animals are housed along with Reisinger's herd and they care for them.
In addition to working on the farm, Schwartz is active in high school activities. He participates in football, basketball, track and baseball, FFA and 4-H. He just started his sophomore year of high school. During the school year he does have to limit his farm work to weekends and a little during the week if he is needed.
He does some dairy judging with FFA and 4-H. He used his dairy evaluation skills to pick out the cows from the Klees farm. He credits Danny Sivesind and family and Donnie Dee and family with really helping him with his dairy judging skills.
He first showed at the Allamakee County Fair and the Big Four Fair when he was in fourth grade. The first year he showed in open class at the Iowa State Fair, and since then he's been showing in the 4-H class. He has shown at the Iowa State Fair every year he's been in 4-H. He says Robert and Gloria Hanson and family have helped him get his animals to state fair and with the show preparations.
Last year at state fair he placed third with one of his cows. This year he showed a summer yearling and a four year old.
Last year at the Big Four Fair he earned reserve champion Holstein, and this year he received Champion Dairy Herd.
Schwartz is a person who likes to keep moving. His favorite thing to do on the farm is mow hay but his least favorite is grinding corn because it requires sitting still for a long time.
The Schwartz family has about 25 acres around their home. They have traditionally planted in hay but this year they rotated the land to corn.  
"This summer he has his own corn crop growing at their place that he has entirely put in by himself," says Reisinger. "The past few years they have had their farm in hay and he has done all the baling with most of it being small square bales for their horses."
Schwartz says the Reisingers have been very helpful to him. "They are there whenever we need anything, giving input and advice," he says.
When asked what he wants to do after high school, Schwartz is quick to reply it will "definitely be something with agriculture," noting it will likely be something with dairy. He thinks he may pursue a two-year dairy degree to fill in the knowledge he hasn't yet picked up. He hopes to have a herd of 15 to 20 cows by the time he graduates from high school, but his luck in having heifer calves has not been good lately.
His dad, Dr. Dave Schwartz, is a family physician in Waukon. His mother, Joan, teaches business at Waukon High School. He has one younger sister, Allie, age 14, and two younger brothers, Abe, 11, and Joe, 8.[[In-content Ad]]


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