NEILLSVILLE, Wis. — When Brian Vine completes his milk route and delivers the load to Grassland Dairy, he often has his youngest daughter Laura with him. While at the plant, he usually sees his 21-year-old daughter, Emma, who is there around the same time unloading her milk truck. Behind the scenes at that same dairy plant are Brian’s two older daughters, McKenzie and Samantha, who work in the processing department.
The Vine family has been immersed in the dairy industry for a long time. They used to produce milk as dairy farmers, and now they are on the other side of the industry as haulers and processors.
Brian said he enjoys relating to the farmers he hauls for.
“I understand the happy times and the hard times and when things go wrong how stressful it can be,” Brian said. “I try to be compassionate with the farmers because we’ve been there and in the same situations.”
Brian has been operating Vine Trucking, of Neillsville, since 2019. Brian started hauling milk when he needed a change from farming. When his employer wanted to sell his business, Brian took over the routes and bought a truck. At the time, Emma was in school and Brian operated the business as the only driver.
When another route became available, Brian bought another truck and hired a driver to run the route. In the meantime, Emma obtained her commercial driver’s license and decided to haul milk as well. She planned to relief haul for her dad when he needed her.
After only three weeks, Brian’s hired driver quit. Emma went to work for her dad full time. She said she grew to love it more and more.
“I went with Dad any chance I could get, and I just became a die hard for it,” Emma said. “It wasn’t just work. It became a career, something I could really get into. It ended up being something I really loved doing.”
Laura has been learning the mechanics of the trucks. She changes shocks, tires, air bags, air lines and completes all the oil changes for both vehicles. She plans to get her CDL as soon as she is eligible. She said she learns something new every time she works on the trucks.
“There’s so much involved with mechanics and so much to learn,” Laura said. “I will be able to take everything I’ve learned working on our trucks and put it toward my future. Once I get behind the wheel, I’ll know what to do and not be lost, which will make it easier.”
Brian and Emma pick up milk at 30 farms between the two of them. They travel around the north central area of the state and haul around 250,000 pounds of milk per day.
As the oldest, Samantha said she is proud of her family’s work.
“I think it’s awesome how far and hard Dad and Emma are working with so many farms and only two trucks,” Samantha said.
“Farming and milk hauling are both jobs that are needed every day,” McKenzie said. “It’s a 365-day job; the cows don’t stop milking, so the truckers don’t stop trucking.”
All the girls said it is important to support Brian in his milk hauling efforts. The weather has posed challenges, and Brian has had health issues in the past. His family has always helped him through tough times.
Emma said working with her parents has been fun because their family’s easy dynamic makes the work fun.
“It’s important to work with my dad because we are just two nice peas in a pod,” Emma said. “We know how to work with each other … I wanted to continue growing with the business and wanted to be there with him. Even with my mom, she became my best friend at work, and it all worked out very well.”
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