At Brevofield Farm, the routine starts at 4:00 a.m.
Mike Brevoort has been working on his dad's dairy farm since he was 13. Now he's 40. He gets up before the sun does every morning to hook up themilking machine. His cows produce 400 gallons everyday.
Mike laughs as he gets the black and white bovine ready to milk. "Eachone has a different personality," he says. "They're just like people."
If cows are like people, maybe they sense something is wrong. Dairyfarming just isn't the same as it was when Mike's dad, Earl, startedhis farm with his father almost 50 years ago.
Earl Brevoort says he has to be realistic. Wake County used to be thehome to 150 dairies. Now there are two. By the end of the year, theremay be none. It is a dying business.
The reason? Stiff competition. Milk prices in the grocery store are up 12percent from last year. But dairy farmers aren't seeing that money. Theirincomes actually dropped by more than 25 percent. The dairy industry isno longer regulated by the federal government, which means giant dairiescan drive up prices while forcing dairy farmers to sell their milk atlower prices.
But at Brevofield Farms, a big change is underway. From farm ways tofairways; From heifers to hackers. Brevofield Farm is transforming intoBrevofield Golf Links.
Being an old cow pasture, these 18 holes won't be confused for AugustaNational any time soon. But the Brevoort's are working on it.
The strong point on this course right now is its greens. Earl plans tokeep draining profits to reinvest in course upkeep. The whole familyadmits there's something sad about closing a chapter on rural Wake Countyliving.
But not for long, the Brevoort's are trying a different course so theycan continue to live off the land. It won't be easy. Earl Brevoortadmits he'll miss the cows. But it's time to give up the non-profitorganization.
The Brevoorts will probably complete the transition from dairy farm togolf course full-time by the end of the year. Right now, the Brevofieldgolf links are doing well, and more people are finding them. The mottoon the scorecards says it all-- "The best kept secret in Wake County"
Bret Baier reporting