As the sun rises and light hits the hills of the Switzer family farm, its inhabitants happily sleep.
“I don’t believe in waking up at the crack of dawn," Buddy Switzer says. "I enjoy my sleep.”
Buddy and his wife, Kim, bring that sense of ease to the family business, which includes their two adult children and a granddaughter. The farm, which has been in the family since the 1800s and kept them close, has evolved over the years.
As the tobacco market fell, farmers in Kentucky have had to try new things. They profited when tobacco was king. But it isn't that way any longer, and many businesses haven't survived the change. It hit the town of Cynthiana hard.
“Many farmers sold off land and only have 10 acres and have to work factory jobs,” Kim says. "For me losing tobacco was a mixed blessing. It fed into something I don't believe is good."
The Switzer family farm was always diverse. They have cattle, horses, hay, alfalfa, and surprisingly, firewood, which they've sold for 30 years to local businesses and restaurants for cooking meat.
"My father in Ohio sold wood, and we started to serve his Southern Ohio clients then got one in Lexington," Kim says. "It took off from there."
Kim and Buddy designed family life to spend as much time together as possible as their kids grew up.
"We wanted to be the biggest influence in their lives, their character, beliefs and their discipline." Kim says. "From that grew our desire to create traditions that will always be a part of who we are as a family."
Now adults with families of their own, the Switzer children continue to be involved in the farm. It's what they know and where they want to be. Cody Switzer has two college degrees from the University of Kentucky in equine management and agronomics.
Sadie Yarber, their daughter, raises cattle on a nearby farm in Harrison County.
"If I have any say in what she does I want her to continue the family business," Sadie says of her daughter, 3 months. If Gentry Yarber grows up with the same passion, it'll keep the operation going for a sixth generation.