February 26, 2022 at 1:32 a.m.
Sleepy Eye, Minnesota
Family: Husband, Brian, and two adult sons, Isaac and Josh, and his wife, Olivia.
Tell us about your farm. I am the fifth generation on my family’s registered Holstein farm known as Olmar Farms. We have 150 milking registered Holstein cows and the youngstock. We sell breeding bulls as well as heifers and cows to other herds. In addition to the dairy, we raise 670 acres of crops.
What is a typical day like for you on the dairy? I’m usually in the barn by 5:15 a.m. to get chores started. I rotate with other employees to do the milking, scraping or calf chores. In the mornings, I also address any herd health or fresh cow issues that have come up. The rest of the day can be pretty different depending on what needs to be done. Attending to freshening, calves, bookwork, marketing of genetics, scraping and bedding the herd followed by evening chores is a typical day. I also do all the breeding. I primarily focus on the dairy side, and Brian takes care of the crops and farm maintenance.
What decision have you made in the last year that has benefited your farm? We installed a CowManager system last spring when I was out following a couple surgeries. What a great tool it was to help monitor the herd from my recovery chair. I have great employees who can treat cows if I tell them what needs to be done. It has helped by providing a reliable set of extra eyes in the barn.
Tell us about your most memorable experience working on the farm. All the firsts I got to share with my family and kids. Watching them experience their first birth, learning to drive tractors and gaining confidence in training their animals. Simply watching them develop into capable, caring young men who know the value of a day’s work and appreciate what they have.
What have you enjoyed most about dairy farming or your tie to the dairy industry? The registered Holstein side of the dairy has given me the world. I have traveled to many countries and met people in the industry from all around the world. I love that no matter where you are from, dairy farmers all speak the same language and appreciate great cows.
What is your biggest accomplishment in your dairy career? Surviving 10 years of our farm being subjected to stray voltage and now re-building the herd to the point where we were recently listed as the top BAA herd for farms with more than 130 cows and in the top 200 herds in the nation of all sizes.
What are things you do to promote your farm or the dairy industry? While many dairy women choose to advocate for the industry to consumers, I have been placed in a unique position to help other farmers who are struggling with stray voltage issues on their farms. I have fielded questions from all over the U.S., Canada and Europe and have developed a website to provide facts around stray voltage where there is so much inaccurate information and education needed.
What advice would you give another woman in the dairy industry? Find your voice and purpose in this industry, and don’t take no for an answer. There is nothing that women can’t do in the dairy industry if you focus on building your skills and your dairy network. Who you know is just as important as what you know.
When you get a spare moment, what do you do? I love music and singing and enjoy any opportunity to do either. I also enjoy time with friends as often as possible. If I ever get more than a moment to spare, I would love to do some traveling again.
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