What do you like the most – and the least – about working as a dairy farmer?
I love being a dairy farmer for many reasons, one of which is the amazing dairy community, both locally and nationally. The constant innovation in our industry is amazing, and makes it an exciting time to be farming. If there’s one thing that I’d change, it would be the hours. What farmer wouldn’t?
Describe how the work on the farm is shared or divided up in your family?
We all have our areas on the farm. I do all of the feeding and nutrition work while my dad takes care of the heifers and genetic choices. My mother is in charge of the calves and the farm’s finances. My parents grew our jerseys into a very well-known herd and I am proud of their decades of work. We share equally the cow management and breeding, and cover for each other when the other is on vacation.
How do you think your farm’s business plan will change 10 years from now?
Our business plan is going to change a lot over the next 10 years. We just finished Stage 1 of a major expansion. We are planning to relocate all of our facilities out of the flood plain and double our herd size. My dad and I are also in the process of transitioning ownership.
During those days when things aren’t going well, what do you do to keep a positive attitude?
We all know there are some days that just stink. Whether it’s a prized cow that does something dumb or arguing with the family (we all know it happens), you have to find ways to get through them. Mine would be my wife. She has gotten really good at spotting when I’ve had “one of those days” and knows just how to cheer me up. I honestly don’t know where I’d be without her.
What would you be doing if you were not a dairy farmer?
I haven’t put much thought into it, but I know that I would stay in agriculture. There is so much opportunity in our industry that I’m sure I would find something to enjoy. Maybe in government or as a lobbyist. We need more people with real agricultural experience creating our laws.