September 5, 2017 at 3:32 p.m.
Thankful to be a dairy farmer's daughter
At the same time, dairy farming is incredibly rewarding. Why else would anyone stick with it?
There's nothing better than watching a cow lick her newborn calf as it takes in the sights and sounds of the world for the first time; there's nothing more refreshing than the smell of fresh cut hay, and there's nothing more relaxing than the rhythmic task of milking cows (when everything is going well, of course, and there are no fresh heifers to milk). And, while you may be exhausted, there's nothing like the sense of purpose and accomplishment felt at the end of a full day of work.
I feel truly blessed to have grown up on a dairy farm. I may not always have realized it when I was younger and rocks needed to be picked whether or not it was 90 degrees out and sand was blasting my face in the fields, or when I really would have rather gone out with friends but hay was ready to bale. There's a certain sense of maturity and responsibility that one gets from growing up and working on a dairy farm that I don't think you can get anywhere else. I don't think I fully realized the benefits of my upbringing until I was in college and away from the farm, but I sure do appreciate it now.
I've recently been reflecting on where life has taken me in the last several years. Maybe it's because it's graduation time - a time of reflection for many - and I attended my brother's graduation ceremony, which brought back many memories of high school and the anticipation of starting the next chapter in life. Or maybe it's because it randomly struck me one day about a month ago that, had I taken another path in life, I would have graduated from the University of Minnesota's College of Veterinary Medicine this spring. Dr. Jennifer Burggraff, DVM - has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?
In the eight years I've been out of high school, I've gotten a four-year college degree, recently celebrated my third wedding anniversary with my husband and have two beautiful daughters to show for it, and have been with the Dairy Star for 3.5 years. I'm so thankful I followed up on the dairy reporter job posting I received back in the summer of 2008.
I've always been drawn to the dairy industry. Even when I was in kindergarten - and throughout elementary school, for that matter - if someone asked me what I was going to be when I grew up, my typical answer was a dairy farmer. Although I am not dairy farming now, I think this job is the next best thing to keep me in the industry. In my time with paper, I've written over 430 articles and done many other features, which means I've met many, many more dairy farmers than that.
This job has allowed me to meet people from not just my coverage area of central and northern Minnesota, but from around the nation and the world. I have talked with dairy farmers from every state in the United States - including Alaska and Hawaii - as well as farmers from at least five different countries, if not more.
The cool thing about all of this - in talking with so many dairy farmers from so many different areas - is that, while there are significant differences in the way people operate their farms, they all share a common purpose and passion. That is what makes dairy farming a remarkable industry.
During June Dairy Month, I hope you all realize how important you are in the effort to feed the world. Thank you for doing what you do, day in and day out. Thank you for making it possible for me and my family to enjoy the delicious and nutritious dairy products that we love.
This June Dairy Month, I salute you, Dairy Farmers - each and every one of you.
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