January 30, 2022 at 7:37 p.m.
Family: Parents Gary and Diane Przybylski; older sister Lindsey Przybylski; and long-term boyfriend Riley Caron.
Tell us about your farm. My parents started farming in 1985 after purchasing my mother’s childhood farm from my grandparents in Angelica. They started with 65 registered Holsteins and expanded the herd to 225 registered Holsteins and Brown Swiss cows. My parents sold the farm in 2005. My father proceeded to raise beef cattle but retained a few heifer calves from the original herd. Once the heifers were old enough to breed and calve in, Dad decided to start milking at our rented facility near Pulaski. My parents purchased some Jersey springing heifers along with more Holsteins and a few other breeds at my request to fill the barn. In 2016, after much debate, my parents purchased the farm we now own, Greener Pastures Dairy, near Krakow. I purchased cattle as we grew our herd from 35 to 85 cows and now own about one-third of the milking and youngstock in our herd. We also have horses, chickens and pet goats. My dad and I crop about 350 acres for feed and cash cropping.
What is a typical day like for you on the dairy? The day starts out around 4:15 a.m. Dad, myself and either my mom or our part-time hired hand, Connie, get to the barn to start milking around 4:30 am. Dad mixes the TMR for the cows while two of us milk. If Mom is there, she heads off to work at Green Bay Packaging around 6:30 a.m. while I feed the calves and heifers at home and Dad finishes milking and feeds the cows. Then, Dad and I head off to Pulaski to feed the remainder of our 55 heifers and 10-12 dry cows. Around 10 a.m., we are typically done and either run errands, do extra work around the farm, field work, care for our other animals or take a break until about 3 p.m. Then, we head back out to do it all over again. I do most of the evening milking starting at 4 p.m. and also feed calves and heifers at home. Mom stops on her way home from work to feed heifers and dry cows before coming to the main farm to help finish. We are usually done and in the house or in the field around 7 p.m. Then, I feed our other critters, make dinner and try to be in bed by 9 p.m.
What decision have you made in the last year that has benefited your farm? In the past year, we remodeled the oldest portion of our barn. The 30 stalls in this section were broken, small stanchions. We were able to demo out all of the old stalls and replace them with much larger tie stalls. Although we lost three stalls due to widening the new ones, our cows benefited significantly from the upgrades we made to cow comfort. New mats were also put in the new stalls. With the new stall design, we are not limited on the size of cows that can utilize the tie stalls. We had a significant reduction in hock lesions and other comfort-related issues.
Tell us about your most memorable experience working on the farm. About 10 years ago, our cows were on pasture, and we noticed several of our bred heifers had gone through the fence. My sister and I ran into the pasture to gather the cows and get them into the barnyard while we repaired the fence. One of our oldest cows, Ariel, refused to go into the barnyard with everyone else, so after dealing with her stubbornness for long enough, we gave up. We knew she would not cause trouble and try to go through the fence while we were fixing it, so we just let her be. Not five minutes later, she went to the one small hill in the pasture and laid down with a smug look on her face. Ariel truly knew she was the queen bee and the matriarch of our herd at the time.
What have you enjoyed most about dairy farming or your tie to the dairy industry? The lessons that dairy farming has taught me throughout my life is what I enjoy most about dairy farming. I have learned that no matter how I feel or what is going on, I have the responsibility to get up and give my cows the best possible care. I was given age appropriate tasks around the farm which taught me responsibility, independence and perseverance. I also learned about the cycle of life and love watching our animals grow from babies all the way to adults who have babies of their own. I also learned about some of the challenges and losses we can experience on the farm, which have helped me appreciate when things go well. I truly believe that being raised on a farm is the absolute best and well-rounded childhood a kid can have.
What is your biggest accomplishment in your dairy career? Buying into my parents’ herd. At 22 years of age, I applied for and got, a loan of my own through the Farm Service Agency to purchase cattle to grow our herd. I hope to take over the farm with my boyfriend, Riley, one day, and I knew this was the first real step to making that dream a reality.
What are things you do to promote your farm or the dairy industry? In 2016, I was the Shawano County Fairest of the Fair. This position allowed me to grow in my professionalism skills all while promoting agriculture and the dairy industry as a public figure. I use social media to help promote my farm and the dairy industry. I am a substitute teacher in the Pulaski Community School District. While working in the schools, I love sharing information with students about my farm and answering their many questions. Sharing the stories of farmers with others is one of the most important and impactful things we can do in our industry.
What advice would you give another woman in the dairy industry? The dairy industry has changed in recent years for women. Women have gone from historically just running the household to being active partners on the farm. Do not fear voicing your opinions and possible contributions to the farm. Women are multi-talented and often think about things in a different way than their male counterparts. Women working on an equal playing field to men is allowing our industry to grow and change in so many new and exciting ways.
When you get a spare moment, what do you do? My favorite things to do include riding horses, working out, making crafts and playing with my other pets. I own four horses and a miniature donkey and enjoy giving riding lessons to local students in the community. I also spend time volunteering in our county’s 4-H horse project.
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