Dairy's Working Youth

Get to know Andrew Treptow of Janesville, Wisconsin

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Andrew Treptow
Employer: Brian Barlass
Barlass Farms
Janesville, Wisconsin
Rock County
400 cows
18 years old

Questions for employer:
Tell us your favorite experience of Andrew helping with chores. I don’t have a favorite single experience, but I enjoy seeing the variety of skills Andrew has mastered – from milking cows and feeding and caring for calves to operating trucks, tractors and loaders.

What qualities does Andrew have that benefit the farm? Andrew is dedicated and hardworking. He’s always willing to help to make sure the job gets done and is done properly.

Questions for youth:
What are your responsibilities on the farm? My responsibilities on the farm vary depending on what needs to get done and how much help there is on that day. Some days I scrape the barns; other days I help with milking or feeding the calves or putting bedding in for the heifers or doing fieldwork. I work full time on the farm now, so I get to do a lot more than I used to.

When did you begin helping on the farm? I began working on the farm in November 2020. Originally, my brother worked there, and I tagged along here and there. We started talking about me working there too. He asked Brian if he would give me a job, and Brian said, “Well, there’s always work to get done so whenever you’re ready, give me a call.” I started at very minimum hours and just slowly got into everything.

How do you balance school, extracurricular activities and farm chores? I actually found it kind of hard to balance school and work because I always wanted to be on the farm learning and doing stuff and getting better at everything on the farm. Even though I never really had much homework, I never wanted to do it because I would rather be in a tractor or chasing cows around.

How has working on the farm shaped your character? It has pushed me to get a better work ethic and know when it’s time to mess around and when it’s time to work. You can play when the work is finished.

What do you love most about farm life? I love the fact that you never know what’s going to happen, whether it’s breakdowns or chasing the cows through the fields because they got out. On a farm, you can find out what the unexpected really is.

What is one thing you have learned from working alongside your employer? I’ve learned how much you need to know about the cows and how much you need to understand them. For example, little changes in their diets can be fatal or make them sick. There are also random things that can get to cows that you might never have thought about.

What are your future plans? I am going to work on the farm for a while, and then I would like to go to school for heavy equipment operation. I am not sure where or when I’d like to do that.

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