Bill Kilcer's father started the Windstott Farm in 1953 in Stottville, New York, and Bill continues the business, having moved the farm to Genoa, NY in 1992. He and Trina raised their three children on the farm, and while they always said that school comes first, all the children had various responsibilities along the way. There is no end to the chores on a 230 acre farm with 110 milkers and 90 young stock, and everybody had to pitch in along the way. Now it's mostly Bill and a helper. Trina pitches in when she's not working for the postal service.
Dairy farmers endure periods of dreadfully low milk prices, and many struggle to stay afloat. But during the last period of severly low prices, Bill had already planned a major investment in the farm. He installed a robotic milking system in 2009. The robotic milking system is a great labor saving device, and the cows effectively milk themselves. It has drawn interest from many quarters. Dairy farmers and interested visitors from all corners of the state have come to tour the farm to learn about this system that helps measure milk production, milk quality, and cow health. It is a big deal, and the Kilcers are in the middle of it.
With the help of the robots, the Windstott cows are very well taken care of. They get milked whenever they want and at each milking their weight & temperature are checked. They eat & drink as they please, there are brushes they can walk under at any time to keep clean themselves or catch an itch they can't reach and they even have waterbeds.
Saving some milking time is a good thing, but it means you do other chores instead. The day starts well before dawn and ends after sunset. It just goes with the territory, and Bill takes it in stride. "If you're in this business, you know you're not getting a lot of leisure time. You have to love it and love being outdoors to make it work."
And while the chores never end on a dairy farm, Bill was still a volunteer fireman for close to four decades.