OKEECHOBEE — The Sutton Rucks family was honored at the 2022 Farm City Luncheon at the Okeechobee Agri-Civic Center on Nov. 17.
"The Rucks family have milked cows in Florida since the 1930s," Florida Cattlemen's Sweetheart Shelby Sumner explained in presenting the award. They moved to Okeechobee in 1958. They currently milk about 1,200 dairy cows at Milkin R Dairy.
In 2020, during the pandemic, the Rucks saw a need for a delicious home-made ice cream. The ice cream was a hit, with new batches quickly selling out online and customers agreeing it was worth the drive to the dairy to pick up the delicious confection.
After the success of the ice cream, the Rucks began bottling their own milk.
Sumner said the family has always been supportive of 4-H and FFA, allowing dairy judging teams to practice on their farm.
The Rucks are a fourth generation dairy farming family. Milking R Dairy. In 2014, Sutton and Kris Rucks were awarded with Florida's Agricultural-Environmental Leadership Award for their environmental innovation at Milking R Dairy.
The Milking R Dairy website shares information about the family:
Sutton is a third generation dairy farmer and the driving force behind Milking R Dairy. Sutton wanted to be a dairy farmer since he can remember and feels lucky to be living his dream. He has been running the family business for over 30 years and couldn't imagine a life without cows. Sutton’s dairy farming passion, knowledge and determination have helped a successful family business continue to grow and thrive.
Kris is not "just the farmer's wife." Growing up with a father who was a dairy farmer, Kris understands the in's and out's of farm life. As one would imagine, she wears many hats at the farm and is an expert in her field. Kris handles the bookkeeping and accounting for the dairy and their “udder” projects. Her meticulous attention to detail plays a critical role in the financial accountability and success of Milking R Dairy.
Lindsey is the "farmer’s daughter." She is a 2012 graduate from the University of Florida, earning a degree in Agricultural Communications. Lindsey has her fair share of farm chores and looks after all of our calves and heifers, helps deliver new arrivals in our maternity barn, oversees our herd's health and manages several departments here at the farm. She also spearheads marketing and social media for the family business. With a deep love of cows, Lindsey feels blessed to have the ability to educate everyone about the dairy industry and Milking R Dairy.
Garrett is a fourth generation dairy farmer and is heavily involved with everyday operations like crop production and on-farm maintenance. Garrett understands the logistics of what goes on to make the farm work. He also oversees our family's beef cow operation, something he has been passionate about since he was a young boy. If you can't find him on a tractor, he's probably on a horse! With farming running through his veins, he aims to use his knowledge to further progress Milking R and its heritage.
Accepting the award, Sutton said "there's no better agriculture community in the world." He said Okeechobee agriculture has a bright future. "I'm amazed at all the young people in agriculture. Agriculture is going to be unbelievable in the next generation in this small town."
At the Farm-City Luncheon , Okeechobee County 4-H and FFA Clubs had displays about their clubs and answered questions about their projects.