How did you get into farming? Our families were both involved in dairy and row crops. When Alan was a senior in high school, he started milking cows on his own. His parents bought a farm across the road, and he rented that farm from them and bought 20 head to milk. After Alan and I were married in 1987, we later purchased that farm and have been milking cows ever since.
What are your thoughts and concerns about the dairy industry for the next year? With government spending, inflation at the peak and increased interest rates rising, it is going to be harder for farmers to purchase equipment or parts, upgrade or expand.

What is a recent change you made on your farm and the reason for it? We have been breeding all our cows and heifers to an Angus bull and selling these calves at a couple days old. We plan to retire in the next year, and this has made life so much easier.

Tell us about a skill you possess that makes dairy farming easier for you. Alan’s ability to fix or build almost anything helps save cost and time. For me, I would have to say my compassion and patience makes farming easier, as hardly anything ever goes as planned.

What is the best decision you have made on your farm? The best decision we made on the dairy was putting in a double-8 parallel parlor in 2007. We milked in a stanchion barn prior, and this upgrade allowed us to milk more cows more efficiently in less time and with less physical labor.
What are three things on the farm that you cannot live without? Automation has made day-to-day tasks easier and less labor intensive, like our parlor. Cows to milk; we can’t have the dairy without the cows. Cordless tools; because many areas that need improvement or upgrades are not readily accessible to an outlet.

What strategies do you use to withstand the volatile milk prices? We are diversified with crops and dairy which helps feed costs and the bottom line.
How do you retain a good working relationship with your employees? We employ mostly high school kids and want them to feel like they are part of the farm and feel important. We give them responsibilities and ask them their opinions on decisions that are made. We treat our employees like our own kids and try to teach them about more than dairy and the farm. We also try to teach them life skills. We hope to leave an impact on these kids after they head to college.

What do you enjoy most about dairy farming? We enjoy being our own boss and being outdoors. After all these years, it is still a miracle watching new life be born, watching them grow and seeing how our hard work pays off.

What advice would you give other dairy farmers? Be a detective. Watch your cows all the time because they will tell you everything you need to know.

What are your plans for your dairy in the next year and five years? We are phasing out slowly and retiring in the next year.

How do you or your family like to spend time when you are not doing chores? We enjoy relaxing on our farm, entertaining friends and family, and sitting by our pond in the summer.