COOPERSVILLE, Mich. -= There are some jobs that have to be done in all kinds of weather. Jessica Murphy has one of those jobs. On her farm, the 650 cows aren’t going milk themselves, even in the summer heat.
As the sun beat down on Langeland Farm in Coopersville on Tuesday, Murphy was “drenched in sweat.”the pavement was registering 110 degrees on the FOX 17 thermometer.
“This is my day off. “I’ve been here 15 minutes.” Her father owns the farm.
The struggles of the work environment were evident. Workers were surrounded by dozens of cows radiating their own body heat, adding to the miserable conditions.
“The sand and the dust in the air just sticks to your sweat,” Murphy said. “You just get dirty. It’s pretty gross.”
The only chance at relief, a couple of fans, hung from bungee cords, installed in the midst of a heat wave.
“They actually added two more last night,” Murphy said.” You can feel them for about three feet maybe, and then it’s just stale air again.”
At this farm, Murphy said the heat is more than just a comfort issue. The hot weather wears on the cows’ appetite, and when the cows don’t eat, she said, they will produce 10 to 15 percent less milk than in a comfortable climate.
As hot as it will get during the warmest days of summer, the workers at the Langeland Farm will continue to show up for each shift every day. In just a few months they will be dealing with the other problems.
“If the roads are icy or there is a heat index of 100 degrees, we still have to be here,” Murphy said, saying she tries to keep the complaints to a minimum.