Each day, my goal is to focus on the positives. What tasks did I check off my to do list? Did chores go well? Which slow cows are improving?  Did we make it through the day with everyone getting along?
My most difficult days do not involve a tractor breakdown, cow dying, calf getting sick or even the rain ruining our plan of combining. My most difficult days happen when my dad or I are not getting along with my uncle.
    While the low milk prices, variable crop prices and unpredictable weather are all significant concerns for our future, my greatest fear is that my dream of owning and managing our beautiful dairy farm will be suppressed by what is out of my control. My uncle and dad have butted heads since I can remember, but it was not until I returned home to the farm that I, too, began butting heads with my uncle.
    In the last three years I have gone home crying to my husband, Chris, on several occasions. Each time we discuss my options. I could apply to work at another dairy related job, or I can go back to school and get a degree in ag finance and work for an ag lender, which would certainly be a significant pay increase and much better hours. Would those benefits make up for my lost passion?
    As a new parent to our baby girl, Morgan, I have got to think of more than myself. I dream of Morgan riding along with Chris, my dad or myself while we are making haylage and harvesting. However, those are the busy times when stress levels increase and often lead to arguments among us.  
    Since returning home, I have gained tremendous respect for my dad. Watching him balance family and farming has taught me what matters in life. Chores will happen twice every single day. Taking a break to spend time with little Ava when she visits or taking an hour off to help a neighbor lift a cow that slipped are moments you will not get back. Yes, when rain is coming, we have to bail on our plans in order to get the haylage made, and no matter how good or bad times are each decision impacts our balance sheet. My dad and I certainly do not agree on every decision, but we can openly talk to each other and especially listen to each other without tempers erupting.
    My concerns towards my uncle are about 10 percent the way he treats me and 90 percent the way he treats my dad, acting very aggressively. I fear that once my dad retires, then I will become the one who is bullied. Though I can certainly hold my ground, I do not look forward to confrontations or understand why they keep taking place. I am a person whose glass is half full and working alongside someone whose glass is half empty wears on my spirit. I have no time to worry how green the grass is on the other side of the fence, I choose to focus on managing and appreciating everything about our own operation. Simply put, our attitudes are so different that I do not see how we can be partners. I need a business partner to be someone I can openly talk to and have mutual respect.
    My passion for farming has kept me coming back each morning. I cannot bear the thought of my dad having to do chores alone and consider a sell-out because I left. I know both my dad and uncle want me to have the opportunity to farm. Besides this, I know my sister wants to be a part of the farm one day as well, but she is in the same boat as me. I have spoken with a family farming coach who provided ideas on how to manage my emotions and discourage disrespectful behavior. However, she could not change our situation unless all three of us were willing to take time and be open to her counseling. She told me that I need to make the choice that is best for me, keep living for the good days or walk away.
    I am not going anywhere, at least not today. I have worked far too hard to get to this point; making improvements, analyzing records, understanding our finances, and I am very proud of how well we have been navigating this downturn as it has taken lots of additional effort to calculate how we can pay our bills. I stare at the walls in my office, filled with newspaper articles of our farm throughout the years – many dairy princess activities, county fair dairy shows, farm tours and dairy judging adventures. I owe it to Morgan and Ava to provide them with the same opportunities I had. Besides this, I have so many goals I have not yet reached, which motivates me to keep going. I especially want to pinpoint what is holding our fresh cows back, as they seem to start out slowly, picking up milk production at their own pace.
    The best part of dairy farming is working alongside my family, and yet it is also the toughest as I did not get to choose my family. God chose my family, and I have to trust that God has a plan.
    Laura Scholtz farms with her father, John Rosenhammer, and uncle Greg, on Roseview Dairy near Sleepy Eye, Minn. They milk 200 Holsteins and run 580 acres of cropland.