Crops or cows?

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Which one do you prefer? 

Many times, I have discovered that most farmers have a favorite. “I’m a cow man,” a farmer will tell me while another will say, “I’d rather be in the field than in the barn.” Sometimes, however, these two parts of farming interest a farmer equally. 

Where do you fall?

Having spent a total of about 10 minutes of my life driving tractor, I can say with certainty that I was a cow girl, not a crop girl. Being with the animals is what I loved whereas my dad loved working in the fields, planting and harvesting crops.

That’s not to say I never spent any time in the field or failed to take notice of what was growing there. I admired my dad’s perfectly straight rows of corn and loved to ride the three-wheeler between lanes of freshly cut alfalfa. I also got lots of face-to-face time with the fields when I picked rocks every spring. 

But crops are not my forte. I wasn’t involved with fieldwork and know much more about livestock because in the barn was where I could be found most of the time. I never once felt ripped off for not being a part of the hot, backbreaking work of unloading and stacking small bales in the hay mow. I was perfectly content milking cows in the tunnel-ventilated barn and watching the wagons of hay go by. My dad preferred that my sisters and I took care of the cattle instead of baling hay, which I was totally fine with.

As a writer for Dairy Star, a certain amount of crop knowledge is a requirement. I knew the basics when I started, but I’ve learned so much about that side of things since I began working here. Now, when farmers spout off terms like RFV, BMR and LDMI, I actually know what they are talking about.

So, thank you crop and weather guys, past and present. You’ve taught me a lot. Thank you also to every dairy farmer I have spoken with in the last five years. You are a wealth of knowledge. Thank you, extension agents and other industry professionals. You are a wonderful resource to have in my back pocket. And finally, I thank my co-workers at Dairy Star for crop wisdom you have shared as well.

Thank you for the knowledge, everyone. I hope you keep sharing it. On-the-job learning is often the best kind of learning. The knowledge I have gained by working at Dairy Star goes far beyond crops to include all facets of the dairy operation. It’s amazing how much there is to learn in an industry that is ever-changing.

Crops may not be my forte, but I’m learning every day.

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