September 24, 2021 at 4:00 p.m.

Dairy's Working Youth

Get to know Abby Hovland of Colby, Wisconsin
Abby Hovland is a senior at Abbotsford High School. She and her parents, Adam and Katie Hovland, milk 50 cows in Marathon County near Colby, Wisconsin. PHOTO SUBMITTED
Abby Hovland is a senior at Abbotsford High School. She and her parents, Adam and Katie Hovland, milk 50 cows in Marathon County near Colby, Wisconsin. PHOTO SUBMITTED

Abby Hovland
Parents: Adam and Katie Hovland
Hovland Holsteins
Colby, Wisconsin
Marathon County
50 cows
Senior at Abbotsford High School
17 years old

Questions for FFA Advisor, John Slipek:
Tell us your favorite experience of working with your student. When Abby was a seventh grader and she was asked if she was interested in possibly showing dairy cattle at the fairs, she was hesitant to take that first step but she did. Since then, she has made every possible effort to show her cattle wherever and whenever she can. She has shown at local, county and national shows over the past five years. She has learned a lot about selection of show animals, their pedigrees, fitting, clipping and showing. She is not afraid to pick up a pair of clippers and clip udders on her show cows. With another couple of years to show as a junior exhibitor, her knowledge and interest in working with good quality show cattle is going to improve.

What qualities does your student have that benefit the farm? From what I have observed about Abby’s work ethic on her parents’ farm, she seems to be very responsible in caring for the dairy animals. This includes feeding the calves, taking care of youngstock, milking the dairy herd and keeping track of records, such as registration papers and production records. She used to be involved in after-school sports, but is no longer involved in order to have plenty of time to help around the farm. I feel her growing interest in working with the dairy animals on the farm is going to have a positive impact on her future career which she hopes will be in the area of veterinary science.

Questions for the Hovland:
What are your responsibilities on the farm? On the farm, it is my responsibility to care for our show heifers and milk cows. I start with my farm chores at about 6 p.m., as I work at our local vet clinic and get done at 5 p.m. I usually start milking around 7 p.m.

When did you begin helping on the farm and why? I grew up helping on the family farm, so I’ve always helped from a young age. My dad is the reason I have gotten involved, and I’ve always loved helping.

How do you balance school, extracurricular activities and farm chores? I always make a to-do list for the day and week, to make sure I keep up on all of my school work, so I don’t fall behind. I am always working on something, whether it would be school, work or working on the farm. There are times my type 1 diabetes does affect how I can go about my day. If my blood sugar levels are low, I get very lethargic and don’t generally get what I want done until I get my blood sugar levels up. I was diagnosed at 3 years old. I do often find myself working on my college English work late at night. Otherwise, I tend to use my study hall during school to work on my assignments. I am involved in FFA and have been exhibiting dairy cattle since 2017. I love showing dairy cattle in the summer at local county fairs, but I am also getting to higher levels. I am exhibiting at World Dairy Expo this year, showing a Holstein summer yearling. I am currently serving as president of my FFA chapter. I am in honors band where I play clarinet; and I am involved in choir, as a soprano one. I also hunt during open season every year.

How has working on the farm shaped your character? Working on the family farm has shaped my character as I have learned responsibility from a young age. I have learned to have respect, as you have to listen to directions. I feel as I have always been very mature for my age, especially compared to all of my classmates.

What do you love most about farm life? The No. 1 thing I love about farming is being able to always deal with cattle. I have always loved cows, and I feel like I can easily connect with them.

What is one thing you have learned from working alongside your parents? Things I have learned from my parents working on the farm are responsibility, accountability and respect – anything like that. I feel the farm has definitely made me who I am today.

What are your future plans? My future plans include attending college at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls for pre-veterinary science and after achieving that goal, I plan on attending the University of Wisconsin-Madison or the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities for my veterinary degree.


You must login to comment.

Top Stories

Today's Edition



27 28 29 30 31 1 2
3 4 5 6 7 8 9
10 11 12 13 14 15 16
17 18 19 20 21 22 23
24 25 26 27 28 29 30

To Submit an Event Sign in first

Today's Events

sep 27, 2023 @ 12:00pm
sep 27, 2023 @ 12:00pm