As I drive over the crest of a hill, on a back country road, I can’t help but pause and admire the rolling acres of farm land which I see before me. There is true beauty in knowing how much hard work and time goes into ensuring the crops grow to their full potential. Being able to understand the stresses over the elements we can’t control, such as whether or not the crops are getting enough rain, makes me proud to be a dairy farmer. So many factors come into play to make this beautiful landscape look so lush and healthy. Many people don’t realize the behind-the-scene efforts needed in order to create a bountiful crop.

I am lucky enough to have grown up knowing the importance of how much hard work and long hours go into producing healthy crops and animals. When your livelihood depends so much on the income you get from what you produce, it is important to appreciate the efforts put in. Many people often ask me how I have the energy to get up at 4:30 every morning, work a physically draining job for 3+ hours twice a day, chase a three-year-old around all day and still manage to cook meals and keep the house work somewhat under control. It certainly isn’t easy. Some days are harder than others, but when you are doing something you love and are proud of the work that you do, it helps to motivate you to keep going. I am proud to be not only a dairy farmer but also a wife and mother; therefore, the rewards will always outweigh the struggles.

Growing up on our family dairy farm taught me so many important life lessons. I learned from my father that being hardworking, determined worker, can pay off in many aspects of life, but being sure to spend time with family is also important, even if it is simply taking ten minutes to play catch or slide down the snow hill. Those are the moments we remember the most. I also learned the importance of properly caring for animals. Being responsible for my own and often helping my siblings and cousins with their 4H calves for 12 years, taught me how to properly care for my animals. If you want them to perform at their best, then you first have to put the effort in to properly feed, water and care for them. Those same lessons can be applied to our dairy and beef cattle and our crops.

Although I am no longer working on our family farm, I was fortunate enough to find a second cow family right down the road from my house. My little farmer is still able to experience some of the same responsibilities I did at his age, like helping to feed and make friends with the “baby moo moos”. He gets the best of all farming experiences; helping daddy and grandpa with field work, mommy with the cows, grandma with the goats, and great-grandpa with daddy’s beef cows. He will certainly never have a dull moment growing up and has already learned so much. I am proud of my little farmer, all my farming friends and family, and I’m especially proud to be a part of such an important industry.