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Dairy life is the best life

Progressive Dairy Editor Audrey Schmitz Published on 07 August 2020

Living in Idaho so close to Yellowstone National Park has me watching the popular TV series Yellowstone. In the third episode of season three that just came out, there was a scene I loved and think not only applies to ranchers but farmers and dairy farmers too.

John Dutton, while spending some time in the mountains with his grandson, Tate, says, “Ranching is a terrible business, grandson … we can’t control the price of beef or hay, or the diesel it takes to take the cattle to auction, or the hay out to the cattle. There are federal regulations, there are state regulations, there are county regulations, and there are people in the city suing us, complaining over the way we raise the food they eat. There’s blizzards and droughts, then half the herd tries to kill itself in the river, while the other half is looking for a hole in the fence, just so they can go stand in the middle of the highway and get hit by a car – or they go and wander into the forest to go and get eaten by a wolf or a grizzly.” Then 8-year-old Tate looks at his grandpa and asks, “Well, if ranching is so hard, how come we do it?” And John, without missing a beat, says, “Because it’s one hell of a life, Tate – one hell of a life.”

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Dairy farming is a hard life, but it’s a good life. And there is no doubt the dairy industry is challenging. We all know operating a dairy farm in today’s volatile business environment is difficult, to say the least. Low milk prices, changing consumer preferences, devastating weather conditions and an ever-changing political environment are just a few struggles. But if you’re in this business for any length of time, it’s because you were created with the constitution and passion to survive it. Every business has ups and downs, hardships and trials, but if you truly love the life it creates for you and your family, then it’s all worth it.

In my opinion, there’s no better place to raise a family than on a dairy farm. One of the most rewarding aspects is the ability to teach your children values. There are so many opportunities and life lessons you can’t learn anywhere else besides on a farm. It allows you to experience life and death in an intimate way and see the rewards of working hard and the fruits of your labor.

There are also so many fun memories I have growing up on our dairy farm with my siblings – memories that I know will last a lifetime. Swimming in stock tanks, water fights in the milk parlor, playing in the hay loft and building calf hutch forts, to name a few.

Kids should grow up the way I did – making the most of a dirty job, learning life lessons while doing it and surrounded by a family who loves what they do and loves each other. Some days are easier than others. Yet despite the hard work, the stress, the lack of days off or the sleepless nights, there isn’t a life I would have traded than being able to spend quality time working together with my family.  end mark

Audrey Schmitz
  • Audrey Schmitz

  • Editor
  • Progressive Dairy
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