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Butter and whipped cream celebrate dairywomen everywhere

Progressive Dairyman Editor Jenna Hurty Published on 24 November 2015

Last year was the first year I did not go home for Thanksgiving. Although I spent it with close friends and had an enjoyable time, it was not the same as being home with my family.

Thanksgiving is my mother’s favorite holiday, so it was always a big deal in our house. She went all out on the meal. It’s the one time each year where her traditional speech goes out the window: “This is not a restaurant, you will eat what you’re served, and you won’t complain about it.” Instead, she caters to all of our quirks by making exactly the kinds of foods we want. She never expects anything in return, not even a thank you. For her, it is a labor of love.



When I interviewed Marji Guyler-Alaniz, founder of FarmHer, for an article here, she made this comment: “Sometimes when I talk to a woman she’ll say, ‘Well, I just do this and I just do that’ and I’ll say, ‘No, if it wasn’t for you and your role, then this farm would not operate the same way.’”

She’s right. Whether they realize it or not, America’s dairywomen are a vital part of America’s dairy industry. Like my mom in the kitchen, you do it because you love it. Still, I would like to say thank-you to you all.

Whether you own your own operation, run one with your family, work as a nutritionist, serve as a vet or carry out any of the many other active and support roles women fill in the dairy industry, you are the reason America is one of the top dairy countries in the world.

To show our appreciation, Progressive Dairyman has dedicated a portion of this issue to share with you some stories of women in dairy. Some of them like Cassie Zirbel started and own their own dairies.

Others like Lorilee Schultz are taking over their family operations. Some like Ruth Klossner don’t necessary own a dairy cow anymore. But Klossner’s cow memorabilia collection earned her a spot in the Guinness Book of World Records.


But in today’s world, being a dairywoman is more than milking cows and feeding calves; just like dairymen, every time you interact with the public you’re representing yourself, your business and the dairy industry. How are you portraying yourself? Do people see you how you want them to?

If you aren’t sure or haven’t worked on defining your personal brand, I highly recommend you check out Michele Fite’s article “Building and maintaining your personal brand”. If maintaining the elusive work-life balance is eating away at you, then go check out Crystal Mackay’s article, “The search for unicorns, Nessie and work-life balance for women”.

You aren’t just a dairywoman any more than your husband, father, brother, neighbor or co-worker is just a dairyman. Even if you aren’t in a management position, feeding calves, driving a tractor or milking cows are all important to running a dairy.

It’s a team effort, and you are part of that team. Like Guyler-Alaniz said, “If it wasn’t for you and your role, then this farm would not operate the same way.”

So, this Thanksgiving, as my family and I feast on butter-laden mashed potatoes and cover our pumpkin pie in an unorthodox amount of real whipped cream, I will thank you for your hard work and dedication. Because of you, America enjoys an abundance of affordable dairy products.

Dairywomen, without you supporting your men, running your own dairies and raising the next generation of dairymen and dairywomen, America would not have the dairy industry it has today.  PD


Jenna Hurty
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