Tue | Oct 23, 2018

Annette Dennis - Dream dancer turns dairy farmer

Published:Monday | April 2, 2018 | 12:00 AM

"Agriculture helps to sustain life and if we all can, we should do a little part," the now dairy farmer shared with Flair.

Her parents were dairy farmers and she spoke fondly of waking up early in the mornings along with her nine siblings to help her father clean the pastures.

After high school, she received a SEDA scholarship and attended the Regional Education Programme for Animal Health Assistants in Guyana, where she did a two-year programme in animal health which included both practical and theoretical training.

She returned home after the two years and started working with the Government. After a while, she wanted more. Her husband shared her dream and so being a civil engineer there was no question that the marriage of their expertise would be a productive one.

They found 20 acres and started Dennis Farms where she went back to her roots of dairy farming. It was the ideal choice for her, doing something that she loved. She still works for the government but spends a lot of time at her farm.

Dennis' day starts as early four in the morning. Her routine starts with coffee and at 5a.m., she along with her workers, start to milk the cattle.

It is then off to feed the calves with milk replacement, hay, and bag feed. The calves are taken from their mothers after three days so that the mothers can be milked. While she feeds the calves her workers clean the area.

She then prepares breakfast for her workers and herself before they take the animals out to the pasture. They leave for the pasture and feed until approximately 2 p.m. and the afternoon milking starts at 3 which her husband helps to supervise as she would be at her other government job by that time. She pointed out that with veterinary training, she would also tend to the sick cows before she leaves at 10.

The farm is broken up into several different pastures. In doing so, the cows glean on a cycle. The move from one pasture to the next gives the pasture enough time to grow and flourish by the time the cows are back to that pasture.

It is undoubtedly a lot of hard work for Dennis and initially it was an expensive investment. However, it has been worth it for her. The super farmer has faced several challenges. Heavy rains and floods have forced her to improve the milking area and other areas, but she knows it will not be problem free but it will be one of her most fulfilling and rewarding experiences.