It's too early to call it "bright and early." In fact, when Eugene George wakes, just a little before 4 a.m., it's dark, and this morning heavy fog sets over his dairy farm.
Like his 140 Holstein dairy cows, George is a creature of habit. Together, George and his cows start their morning with breakfast; the cows eat a grain mixture and George, chocolate milk.
"No problem there, I drink chocolate milk every day." George says. "And we buy it in the store. Can you believe that?"
When work begins, George corrals the heifers, some with names such as Agnes, Minerva, Price and Meg, into a lot where they await their turn to be milked. At a neighboring barn, George directs 12 cows at a time, six on each side, into stalls. In the blink of an eye, George sweeps up and down the line, washing each udder, then attaching a sucking, mechanical milking device.
"I couldn't milk a cow by hand if I tried," George said.
Clear canisters fill with white milk and eventually, another 12 cows come into the barn for milking. The entire process of milking the herd lasts for two hours, with each heifer donating nine gallons of milk to a giant steel vat in the barn. George will milk his herd again at 4 p.m.