As Hurricane Dennis approached the Panhandle this past weekend, normal life came to a standstill for most people, but not everyone. Some operations simply couldn't be put on hold.
It's three o'clock Sunday morning, and while the rest of the Panhandle is hunkering down for Hurricane Dennis, the crew at Cindale Farms in Jackson County is facing the task of milking over 300 cows.
Dale Eade, a dairy farmer, says, "We're not extremely courageous. We don't come out here for fun and thrills three o'clock in the morning in the middle of the storm."
Dale Eade says these animals have to be milked twice a day, rain or shine, at three in the afternoon and at three in the morning.
"It's something we have to do to make sure our cows are as healthy as they possibly can be and we can maximize the production that we get from each individual cow."
Milking cows in stormy weather can sometimes be an adventure. Eade still remembers his close call during Hurricane Ivan.
"We had a tornado shortly after we finished milking in the evening rip through the county and pass right over the barn."
The incident tore down a few fences, allowing the cows to run everywhere. Hurricane Dennis was less eventful.
"No structural damage; it was just a long and exiting day playing in the wind and rain."
And milking cows
"Sleet, ran, snow, whatever. We still have to milk cows. It's a way of living and a way of life for us. We have to take care of the animals that take care of us, regardless of the weather conditions.”
The average dairy cow produces about 50 pounds of milk per day. That's about 90 cups.